M S Swaminathan
Father of green revolution Mankombu Sambasivan Swaminathan(M S Swaminathan) was an Indian agricultural scientist, agronomic, botanist, administrator, and humanitarian who lived from 7 August 1925 to 28 September 2023. Swaminathan is frequently referred to as the father of the Green Revolution in India and was a global leader of the movement. He was crucial in the introduction and continued development of high-yielding wheat and rice varieties, which raised agricultural production.
In the 1960s, M S Swaminathan and Norman Borlaug led a grassroots drive to save India and Pakistan from the verge of starvation by collaborating with farmers and other scientists and leveraging state policy.In 1987, he received the first-ever World Food Prize, a major honor in the area of agriculture, for his achievements and those of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), where he served as Director-General. He played a crucial role in rescuing both countries from a catastrophic food scarcity in the 1960s.
Additionally, Swaminathan’s work as the Director of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines has a significant impact on the development of rice research globally. He received the first-ever World Food Prize in 1987 for his leadership, which is an important distinction in the agricultural industry. He has also been referred to as the “Father of Economic Ecology” by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) because of his groundbreaking work in the area of sustainable agriculture.
Mankombu Sambasivan Swaminathan(M S Swaminathan) also known as father of green revolution.
His Life and Education
On August 7, 1925, M S Swaminathan was born in Kumbakonam, Madras Presidency. His parents were Parvati Thangammal Sambasivan, a native of Kerala’s Alappuzha district, and general physician M. K. Sambasivan. When Swaminathan was just 11 years old, tragedy struck with the sudden loss of his father, leaving him in the care of his uncle.
M S Swaminathan began his schooling at a nearby high school and eventually matriculated at the astonishingly young age of 15 at Kumbakonam’s Catholic Little Flower High School. Swaminathan’s extended family raised crops including rice, mangoes, and coconuts, thus he was constantly exposed to it as a youngster. M S Swaminathan became painfully aware of the huge effects that changes in agricultural prices, the environment, and pests may have on both crops and lives as a result of these experiences.
M S Swaminathan parents’ initial expectations were that he would go into medicine, therefore he began his higher studies with a zoology concentration. But the horrific Bengal famine of 1943, which occurred during World War II, and the severe food shortages that occurred all throughout the subcontinent altered his course. M. S. Swaminathan changed his academic and professional concentration to agriculture in order to devote his life to securing India’s food security.
In Trivandrum, Kerala, at Maharaja’s College, he finished his undergraduate studies in zoology. He then continued his education at the University of Madras, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Science in 1944. Agronomy professor Cotah Ramaswami served as his tutor throughout this time.
To pursue his research in genetics and plant breeding, M. S. Swaminathan relocated to the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) in New Delhi in 1947. He achieved academic success, getting a masters degree in cytogenetics in 1949 with honors with a concentration on the Solanum genus, notably potatoes. Although societal forces steered him toward the government service, a UNESCO scholarship in genetics in the Netherlands provided him with a chance in the agricultural sector. He ultimately decided to pursue a profession in genetics, his life’s passion.
M S Swaminathan contibution in India as the father of green revolution
In 1954, Swaminathan left for India without having found employment in his specialty. Through the advice of a professor, he was able to land a temporary position as an Assistant Botanist at the Central Rice Research Institute in Cuttack within three months. His participation in the Indo-Japanese Rice Varietal Program had an impact on his work with wheat in the future.
M. S. Swaminathan started working as an assistant cytogeneticist at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) in New Delhi in October 1954. Swaminathan questioned India’s reliance on food imports at a time when the nation was primarily dependent on agriculture and frequently experienced famines and droughts.
On July 17, 1968, India released a commemorative postage stamp for the “Wheat Revolution.” Swaminathan and Norman Borlaug worked together to introduce Mexican dwarf wheat cultivars. After successful experiments in 1964, the initial reluctance of farmers began to decrease. In 1968, there were 17 million tons of wheat produced.
M S Swaminathan was acknowledged by Norman Borlaug as being the driving force behind India’s agricultural reform, which was essential for the Green Revolution. Gurdev Khush and Dilbagh Singh Athwal, two Indian scholars, also played significant contributions. India attained food self-sufficiency in 1971 by tackling important concerns including nutrition and food security. From 1954 through 1972, Swaminathan worked at IARI.
Green Revoltion in India
The Green Revolution was a period that started in the 1960s and saw India revolutionize its agricultural practices by embracing technology and pursuing a contemporary industrial strategy. This includes the use of fertilizers, mechanical agricultural machinery, irrigation systems, pesticide applications, and seeds from High-Yielding Varieties (HYV). Under the direction of eminent agricultural scientist M S Swaminathan, India played a vital role in the larger Green Revolution, which was started by Norman Borlaug and aimed at advancing agricultural technology and research to increase food output in underdeveloped nations.
India’s internal Green Revolution got off in 1968, with Congress leaders Lal Bahadur Shastri and then Indira Gandhi serving as prime ministers. This was particularly advantageous for the food production in areas like Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh.
The initiative concentrated on creating wheat strains that were resistant to disease and high-yielding variants. Environmentalists like Vandana Shiva have done extensive research into the long-term effects of the Green Revolution. She claims that while it led to significant environmental progress, it also produced issues like farmer suicides, rural indebtedness, and droughts. According to reports, the use of pesticides has caused soil deterioration in a number of places, which has a negative impact on agricultural systems and the availability of food and water.