The Father of the Agricultural Revolution, M.S. Swaminathan passed away on 28 September 2023 in Chennai at the age of 98. Swaminathan was an agronomist, agricultural scientist, and plant geneticist who worked hard to make India not only self-sufficient but also an exporter in the field of agriculture. Expressing his grief, PM Narendra Modi said, “Deeply saddened by the demise of Dr. MS Swaminathan Ji. At a very critical period in our nation’s history, his groundbreaking work in agriculture transformed the lives of millions and ensured food security for our nation.” on his official Twitter handle.
After attending a nearby high school, Swaminathan also attended the Catholic Little Flower High School in Kumbakonam, where he passed out at the age of 15. His extended family raised rice, mangoes, and coconuts as well as other crops like coffee, so he had early exposure to farming and farmers. He continued his study by majoring in zoology. However, he made the decision to dedicate his life to making sure India had adequate food after seeing the effects of the Bengal famine of 1943 during the Second World War and the shortages of rice across the subcontinent.
In 1949, Swaminathan began his professional career by studying the genetics of potatoes, wheat, rice, and jute. In the 1960s, when India was in danger of a widespread famine that would cause a lack of food grains, Swaminathan, Norman Borlaug, and other researchers created the high-yield wheat variety seeds. The change ushered in high-yielding seed varieties and related farming methods, replacing India’s traditional agriculture. India’s Green Revolution resulted from this, and Swaminathan is recognized as its father.
While many academics saw the Green Revolution as a boon for India’s agricultural production, some others held opposing views, pointing to the negative ecological effects of the resources used to grow high-yielding varieties of seeds with fertilizers and pesticides as well as the social unrest brought on by the green revolution’s widening socio-economic gap.
Swaminathan worked in many important positions at various research institutes as the DG of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, the International Rice Research Institute, and in 1979 the secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture. Agriculture researcher has many prizes to his name for his work in the field of agriculture. Some of the major awards in his cabinet included the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Award in 1961 and the Albert Einstein World Award of Science in 1986.