Who was Dr. Swaminathan, the Father of Green Revolution who will be honoured with Bharat Ratna?
Recognising the need for a holistic approach, he worked tirelessly to develop wheat and rice varieties that were not only high-yielding but also disease-resistant and well-suited to Indian soil and climate conditions.
In a historic announcement, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared that the Government of India will confer the prestigious Bharat Ratna award upon Dr. Mankombu Sambasivan Swaminathan, in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the country's agriculture and farmer welfare. The highest civilian award in India, given posthumously, honors Dr. Swaminathan for his pivotal role in launching the Green Revolution and guiding the nation toward food self-sufficiency.
Known as the "Father of India's Green Revolution," Dr. Swaminathan's groundbreaking research has changed the agricultural landscape of the country and established a lasting precedent for scientific brilliance and commitment to combating food crisis.
Dr. Swaminathan was born in Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu, on August 7, 1925, and his path to agricultural success started at a young age. After graduating from Madras Agricultural College with a degree in agricultural science, he went on to study at Cambridge University, which sparked his interest in genetics and plant breeding.
His decision to concentrate on guaranteeing food security for India made him a pivotal player in the Green Revolution of the 1960s, which turned the country from a food-scarce country to one of the world's top agricultural producers. Through their partnership with Nobel laureate Norman Borlaug, high-yielding rice and wheat cultivars were produced, rescuing millions of people from famine.
Dr. Swaminathan's advocacy for the adoption of crop types with high yields marked the beginning of his revolutionary impact on Indian agriculture. During a period when India was still struggling with poverty and a lack of social security, his innovative approach played a crucial role in starting the Green Revolution in that country.
Taking to X (formerly known as Twitter), PM Modi wrote: "It is a matter of immense joy that the Government of India is conferring the Bharat Ratna on Dr. MS Swaminathan Ji, in recognition of his monumental contributions to our nation in agriculture and farmers’ welfare. He played a pivotal role in helping India achieve self-reliance in agriculture during challenging times and made outstanding efforts towards modernizing Indian agriculture."
"We also recognise his invaluable work as an innovator and mentor and encouraging learning and research among several students. Dr. Swaminathan’s visionary leadership has not only transformed Indian agriculture but also ensured the nation’s food security and prosperity. He was someone I knew closely and l always valued his insights and inputs," he added.