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Nation Mourns M S Swaminathan, Architect of Green Revolution

A recipient of the Padma Vibhushan and the inaugural World Food Prize, M S Swaminathan spearheaded India's green revolution.
Nation Mourns M S Swaminathan, Architect of Green Revolution

MS Swaminathan. Image Courtesy: Twitter/@msswaminathan

Delhi: M S Swaminathan, the eminent agricultural scientist, and unwavering crusader against hunger, breathed his last on Thursday at the age of 98. 

Profoundly committed to the cause of food and nutrition security, his pioneering efforts played a pivotal role in averting famine during the tumultuous 1960s. A distinguished recipient of the Padma Vibhushan and the inaugural World Food Prize, he spearheaded India's green revolution, earning recognition through an array of national and international accolades, including the esteemed Ramon Magsaysay award.

The All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) paid tribute to the late Prof M. S. Swaminathan, the visionary behind the Green Revolution and former Director General of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research.

In a statement, AIDWA noted that Prof Swaminathan's lifelong dedication to public policy for food security and the welfare of farmers and agricultural workers has left an indelible mark. AIDWA recognised his commitment to acknowledging the pivotal role of women farmers in various sectors.

"Swaminathan’s lifelong work acknowledged the pivotal role of women farmers in agricultural and allied sectors like animal husbandry, forestry, fisheries, etc. The MS Swaminathan Commission Report on Farmers Welfare had a special section on the role of women in agriculture," the women's organisation said.

In his death, the democratic movements and the women’s organisations have lost a great advocate for the legitimate rights of the peasants and working people, it said.

He leaves behind a lasting legacy and a family, including his three daughters, one of whom is Dr Soumya Swaminathan, former chief scientist of the World Health Organisation. 

Condolences poured in from political and intellectual quarters. President Droupadi Murmu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed Swaminathan's yeoman service to the nation. Murmu said Swaminathan left behind a rich legacy which would serve as a "guiding light to steer the world towards a safer and hunger-free future for humanity". PM Modi said his groundbreaking work transformed lives of millions, ensured India's food security.

The Congress party described him as the key scientific architect of the Green Revolution and hailed his contribution to the agriculture sector.

Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi said Swaminathan's steadfast commitment to revolutionising India's agriculture turned it into a food surplus country. Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge said Swaminthan was the key architect of India's Green Revolution.

Tamil Nadu Governor R N Ravi, Chief Minister M K Stalin, leaders of farmers' bodies including P R Pandian condoled Swaminathan's death.

Tamil Nadu CM Stalin said: "Deeply saddened to hear the passing away of eminent agro scientist Thiru M S Swaminathan. His pioneering work in the field of sustainable food security has had a profound impact worldwide."

Farmer leader Rakesh Tikait said India will always remember the positive changes that Swaminathan brought to the country's agriculture and farmers, and his contribution to food security.

Former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda expressed grief over the demise of Swaminathan and said he was greatly benefited from his advice on many occasions.

Karanataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah expressed grief and said his contribution to India's agricultural progress and economy is immense.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said Dr Swaminathan's "insurmountable" work in agriculture made India self-sufficient and "saved millions from food insecurity".

 In his condolence message posted on X, Union food minister Piyush Goyal said, "Deeply saddened by the demise of Dr MS Swaminathan ji, the father of India's Green Revolution."

Indian Agricultural Research Institute Director A K Singh said an era of agricultural research, education and extension marked by disruptive innovations has come to an end with the death of Swaminathan.

 “All of us have benefited immensely, directly or indirectly, from his vast contributions over the years. Without the Green Revolution in India, which he spearheaded, we would not have achieved food security,” agriculturist Ranjitha Puskar, country representative for India and research at the Manila-headquartered International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), told PTI.

She said his death was a tremendous loss to the scientific community in general and the agriculture fraternity in particular. “He was the director general of IRRI and his legacy has guided the organisation and its researchers to this day," Puskar added.

“He truly revolutionised Indian agriculture, worked towards self-sufficiency in food production when India was grappling with the threat of food insecurity and transformed India from a net importer of food grains to being a lead exporter to the global food basket. He was always looking for solutions for sustainable farming and improving the lives of the farmers,” Pradhan, research coordinator, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) South Asia region, told PTI.

(With PTI Inputs)

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