The legacy of this remarkable individual, who devoted his entire life to the betterment of India’s agricultural landscape, will resonate through generations.
In the realm of agriculture, the passing of a visionary figure is a poignant moment for our nation. On Thursday, we bid farewell to a true luminary, Dr M S Swaminathan, a man whose name became synonymous with progress, innovation, and the pursuit towards food security. The legacy of this remarkable individual, who devoted his entire life to the betterment of India’s agricultural landscape, will resonate through generations. His funeral will be held in Chennai on Saturday with police honours. He was 98.
His contributions to make the country self-sufficient in food grains, by introducing and breeding dwarf wheat varieties, had led to enhance production from 50 million tonnes in 1950 to now 330 million tonnes. From a net importer, India has become a major food exporter. ALSO READ: MS Swaminathan: The visionary ensured no one goes hungry in India In addition to his ground breaking work, he played a pivotal role in shaping the future of agricultural research and development in India. Dr Swaminathan was instrumental in the creation of the All India Agricultural Research Service, which facilitated collaborative research among scientists from all corners of the nation.
This networking of scientific minds laid the foundation for innovative solutions in agriculture, fostering a sense of unity among researchers dedicated to improving our agricultural landscape. R S Paroda The writer is former director general, ICAR, and Secretary, Department of Agricultural Research and Education, Govt of India. He is Padma Bhushan awardee and a student of Prof M S Swaminathan. His commitment to bridging the gap between scientific discoveries and practical implementation led to the inception of the lab-to-land programme.
This visionary initiative sought to transfer agricultural technologies directly to farmers, ensuring that the benefits of research reached those toiling in our fields. It was a testament to his dedication to the welfare of India’s farming community. Throughout his career, he achieved what some might consider almost impossible. Dr Swaminathan’s influence and leadership extended beyond India’s borders. As Director General of the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines from 1982 to 1988, he guided the institute to significant strides in rice research, benefiting the rice-growing regions worldwide.
His unwavering passion for India’s progress was both contagious and inspiring. He possessed the rare ability to transform scientific knowledge into practical solutions, bringing hope and sustenance to those who toiled in our fields. The awards and accolades he received bear witness to his exceptional contributions.
The nation honoured him with the Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan. Dr Swaminathan was not merely a scientist; he was a statesman who tirelessly advocated for the welfare of our farming community. As chairman of the Farmers Commission, he recommended paying farmers MSP, i.e. the cost of cultivation (C2) +50% of C2.
In closing, it is with a heavy heart that I reflect the wish of entire agricultural scientific community on the missed opportunity by India’s decision-makers to have awarded him our highest civilian award, the Bharat Ratna. In Dr Swaminathan, India has lost a great son of the soil. His achievements will continue inspiring the young generation to strive for yet better future for Indian agriculture. (THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS) (THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)