MS Swaminathan, the father of India’s ‘Green Revolution’ died in Chennai on Thursday. He was 98. One of the most renowned agricultural scientists of the country, Swaminathan was the head of MS Swaminathan Research Foundation in Chennai. Born in Kumbakonam, Madras Presidency on 7 August 1925, Swaminathan is survived by his wife Mina, and three daughters Soumya, Madhura, and Nitya.
Reacting to his demise, Dr Soumya Swaminathan, former Chief Scientist and former Deputy Director General at the WHO and daughter of MS Swaminathan, said that her father was not keeping well for the last few days and that he died “peacefully” Thursday morning.
“He was not keeping well for the last few days… His end came very peacefully this morning… Till the end, he was committed to the farmers’ welfare and to the upliftment of the poorest in society. On behalf of the family, I would like to thank everyone who has expressed their wishes… I hope that the three of us daughters will continue the legacy that my father and my mother, Mina Swaminathan, have shown us,” she said.
The former WHO Deputy Director General said that it was her father’s ideas which led to several programs for upliftment of women farmers like the Mahila Sashaktikaran Yojana.
“My father was one of the few people who recognized that women are neglected in agriculture… He had taken a lot of initiatives to promote women’s empowerment… His ideas have led to programs like the Mahila Sashaktikaran Yojana, meant to support women farmers,” she said.
Recipient of the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award in 1971, Swaminathan is credited for developing high-yielding varieties of wheat and rice to increase the production and help lower-income farmers.
Swaminathan was also awarded the Albert Einstein World Science Award in 1986 and the World Food Prize in 1987. The agronomist was also nominated as Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament in 2007. In 1999, Swaminathan featured on TIME magazines’ list of the ’20 Most Influential Asian People of the 20th Century’ along with Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore.