M.S. Swaminathan, father of India’s Green Revolution, dies at 98

New Delhi, Sept 28 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted this picture with India's 'Green Revolution' father, MS Swaminathan, to pay condolences over his demise at the age of 98, on Thursday. (ANI Photo)

Mankombu Sambasivan Swaminathan, popularly known as M.S. Swaminathan, passed away at 11.20 am on Thursday at his home in Chennai. His last rites would reportedly be held on Sunday. He is survived by three daughters, including Dr Soumya Swaminathan, the former deputy director general at WHO.
The world-renowned agronomist helped turn India into a food-surplus nation from a food deficit one thanks to his pioneering work in agriculture.
Born on 7 August, 1925, in Kumbakonam (Tamil Nadu), Dr Swaminathan studied agriculture at the University of Madras and went on to earn a PhD in cytogenetics from the Cambridge University, UK. He then returned to India and joined the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) in New Delhi. He was Director of IARI from 1961 to 1972.
Later, he went on to serve as the Director General of Indian Council of Agricultural Research and Secretary to the Government of India, Department of Agricultural Research and Education (1972-79) and Principal Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture (1979-80), Acting Deputy Chairman. He was also Member (Science and Agriculture), Planning Commission (1980-82) and Director General, International Rice Research Institute, the Philippines (1982-88).
Throughout his career and even post-retirement, farmers’ welfare remained Dr Swaminathan’s top priority. In the 1960s, he and his team developed wheat and rice varieties that were resistant to diseases and pests which went on to become an integral part of the Green Revolution.
Dr Swaminathan became known as the “Father of the Green Revolution” and was bestowed many awards and accolades over the years. He won the first World Food Prize, a distinguished agricultural award, in 1987 and used the $200,000 prize money to start the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation in Chennai in 1988.
The agronomist is the recipient of the H.K. Firodia award, the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Award and the Indira Gandhi Prize, the Ramon Magsaysay Award (1971) and the Albert Einstein World Science Award (1986). He has been bestowed the Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan and the Padma Vibhushan. He was also a Fellow of the Royal Society and held membership in the US National Academy of Sciences.
Dr Swaminathan was a visionary leader in the field of agricultural sciences and his passing away is a tremendous loss to the nation. His legacy continues through the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation and the efforts of his daughters.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his condolence on X: “Deeply saddened by the demise of Dr M.S. Swaminathan Ji. At a very critical period in our nation’s history, his ground-breaking work in agriculture transformed the lives of millions and ensured food security for our nation. Beyond his revolutionary contributions to agriculture, Dr Swaminathan was a powerhouse of innovation and a nurturing mentor to many. His unwavering commitment to research and mentorship has left an indelible mark on countless scientists and innovators. I will always cherish my conversations with Dr Swaminathan. His passion to see India progress was exemplary. His life and work will inspire generations to come. Condolences to his family and admirers. Om Shanti.” Tami Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin stated on X: “Deeply saddened to hear of the passing of eminent agro scientist M.S. Swaminathan. His pioneering work in the field of sustainable food security has had a profound impact worldwide. I will always cherish the moments I spent with him. My thoughts are with his family and the global science community during this difficult time.”
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said, “Deeply saddened to hear about the passing of the architect of the Indian Green Revolution, Dr M.S. Swaminathan. A true visionary and pioneer in agriculture and sustainable development. His tireless efforts to ensure food security and improve the lives of our farmers will always be remembered. Heartfelt condolences to his family and loved ones.”