Chennai, September 28: M S Swaminathan, renowned agricultural scientist and the driving force behind the nation’s ‘Green Revolution, passed away here on Thursday.
He was 98 and is survived by three daughters including Dr Soumya Swaminathan, the former chief scientist of the World Health Organisation.
The celebrated agriculture icon, who was being treated for age-related illness for quite some time passed away today at 11.15 AM at his residence here.
Condolences poured in with Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailing Swaminathan saying his groundbreaking work transformed lives of millions, ensured India’s food security.
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.
Tamil Nadu Governor R N Ravi, Chief Minister M K Stalin, leaders of farmers’ bodies including P R Pandian condoled Swaminathan’s death.
The Congress party described him as the key scientific architect of the Green Revolution and hailed his contribution to the agriculture sector.
Modi said on X: “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.”
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,” he said.
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.
Swaminathan who founded the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation here has been described by the United Nations Environment Programme as “the Father of Economic Ecology” acknowledging his leadership of green revolution movement.
Singh said: “In passing away of Prof. Swaminathan, ends an era of agricultural research, education and extension that was full of disruptive innovation. If God appears to poor and hungry in form of bread as said by Mahatma Gandhi, that God is Dr. Swaminathan who should be worshipped by every citizen while taking daily meals.”
Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said Swaminathan made India self-sufficient in rice and wheat by the mid-70s.
He has received 84 honorary doctorate degrees from universities around the world. He is a Fellow of many of the leading scientific academies including the Royal Society of London and the U S National Academy of Sciences.
AICC general secretary K C Venugopal said he was deeply saddened to hear about the demise of Swaminathan.
“His contribution to Indian agriculture transformed the lives of millions. We are committed to take his vision forward every opportunity we get,” he said.
Karanataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah expressed grief and said his contribution to India’s agricultural progress and economy is immense.
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.
Swaminathan was a part of every key initiative connected to food security and agriculture and his stellar contributions are pioneering including the focus on millets for nutrition security as well.
He was a former Rajya Sabha member (2007-13).
Javier Perez de Cuellar, former Secretary General of the United Nations, said as “a living legend who will go into the annals of history as a world scientist of rare distinction”. (PTI)