Mankombu Sambasivan Swaminathan, widely acclaimed as M.S. Swaminathan, a distinguished agricultural scientist and a pivotal figure behind India’s transformative ‘Green Revolution,’ peacefully passed away at his Chennai residence on September 28, 2023, at 11:20 am. He was 98 years old.
Dr. Swaminathan is survived by his three daughters: Soumya Swaminathan, Madhura Swaminathan, and Nitya Rao. His beloved wife, Mina Swaminathan, had previously departed this world.
Born on August 7, 1925, in Kumbakonam to M.K. Sambasivan, a noted surgeon, and Parvati Thangammal, Dr. Swaminathan’s early education took place in his hometown. His profound fascination with agricultural science, combined with his father’s active involvement in the freedom movement and the profound influence of Mahatma Gandhi, motivated him to pursue advanced studies in this field. An alternate path he contemplated was a career in law enforcement, for which he had qualified in the late 1940s. However, by this time, he had already earned two undergraduate degrees, one of which was from the Agricultural College, Coimbatore (now known as Tamil Nadu Agricultural University).
Dr. Swaminathan collaborated closely with two Union Agriculture Ministers, C. Subramaniam (1964-67) and Jagjivan Ram (1967-70 & 1974-77), contributing significantly to the success of the ‘Green Revolution.’ This transformative initiative ushered in a substantial increase in the productivity and output of wheat and rice through the adoption of chemical-biological technology. The breakthroughs made by Norman Borlaug, the celebrated American agricultural scientist and Nobel Laureate in 1970, particularly in wheat, played an instrumental role in this monumental endeavor.