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“Father of Green Revolution”, MS Swaminathan, Passes Away at 98

Chennai, India, September 28:  India and the world mourn the loss of Professor Monkombu Sambasivan Swaminathan, a pioneer figure in the realm of agriculture, who passed away today at the age of 98 at his Chennai residence.

Professor Swaminathan, fondly known as the Father of India’s Green Revolution, was undergoing treatment for age-related ailments at the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation.

Father of Green Revolution  

Professor MS Swaminathan’s impact on Indian agriculture during the 1960s is immeasurable. At a time when India grappled with food shortages and famine-like conditions, he spearheaded a revolution.

By implementing strategic agricultural policies and breeding high-yielding crop varieties adapted to India’s diverse climate, he ushered in a wave of change at the grassroots level.

His illustrious career included serving as the Director of the Indian Agricultural Research Institute and later as the Director General of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR).

Subsequently, he held the esteemed position of Secretary to the Government of India at the Department of Agricultural Research and Education.

His contributions extended globally when he served as the Director General of the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines, funded by the Rockefeller Foundation.

World Recognitions and Honors

In 1987, Professor Swaminathan was awarded the inaugural World Food Prize for his transformative work in agriculture. He utilized the prize money to establish the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) in Chennai, dedicated to advancing agricultural research and rural development.

His impact extended beyond India’s borders. Renowned for his dedication to improving global food security, he was hailed by former United Nations Secretary-General Javier Pérez de Cuéllar as “a world scientist of rare distinction.”

Even former US President Ronald Reagan acknowledged the profound influence of his efforts in enhancing world food supply.

Champion of Farmers and Women Empowerment

In 2004, Professor Swaminathan chaired the National Commission on Farmers, a critical initiative aimed at addressing farmer distress and agricultural sustainability amidst rising suicide rates among farmers.

Notably, he recognized the often neglected role of women in Indian agriculture. His efforts led to the creation of programs like the Mahila Sashaktikaran Yojana, designed to empower women in farming. He also introduced a chapter on gender and environment during his tenure at the Sixth Planning Commission, highlighting his commitment to gender equality in agriculture.

Tributes

Leaders from around the world have paid tribute to Professor Swaminathan’s enduring legacy. Prime Minister Narendra Modi acknowledged his pivotal role in ensuring food security for India.

President Droupadi Murmu praised him as the “Father of Green Revolution” and a tireless advocate for food security.

Former President Venkaiah Naidu shared heartfelt memories of their association, while Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan celebrated his visionary contributions to agriculture and sustainable development.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi hailed him as the “Father of the Green Revolution,” acknowledging his instrumental role in making India a food surplus nation.

A Legacy for Humanity

Professor MS Swaminathan’s legacy in the field of agriculture, sustainable development, and gender equality stands as a beacon of hope and inspiration. His pioneering research, advocacy, and unwavering commitment to improving the lives of farmers and ensuring global food security leave an indelible mark on humanity’s path toward a safer, hunger-free future.

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