Mankombu Sambasivan Swaminathan aka MS Swaminathan, world renowned agronomist, agricultural scientist and plant geneticist, is no more. He passed away at 11.20 am in Chennai at the age of 98.

He had not been keeping well over the past couple of weeks and died of age-related illness. Dr Soumya Swaminathan, his daughter and former deputy director general at WHO, said his end came very peacefully on Thursday morning.

It’s very hard to walk in the footsteps of someone like MS Swaminathan, says Soumya Swaminathan  It’s very hard to walk in the footsteps of someone like MS Swaminathan, says Soumya Swaminathan  

Swaminathan is survived by Soumya and two other daughters - Madhura and Nitya. He lost his wife Mina a year ago. Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the tribute by a host of global leaders saying his groundbreaking work in agriculture transformed the lives of millions and ensured food security for the nation.

Though Swaminathan was confined to a wheel chair over the last few years, he was very active until a month ago. The Father of Indian Green Revolution was committed to the welfare of farmers till the end.

Considered as the architect of India’s green revolution, he played a major role in introducing and further developing high-yielding varieties of wheat and rice.

The founder of MS Swaminathan Research Foundation, Swaminathan was acclaimed by the TIME magazine as one of the twenty most influential Asians of the 20th century and one of the only three from India, the other two being Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore.

Also read: Here’s what PM Modi, others said about MS Swaminathan’s life and his contributions

The United Nations Environment Programme described him as “the Father of Economic Ecology” for his leadership of the ever-green revolution movement in agriculture and by Javier Perez de Cuellar, Secretary General of the United Nations, as “a living legend who will go into the annals of history as a world scientist of rare distinction”.

Swaminathan served as the Director of Indian Agricultural Research Institute (1961-72), Director General of Indian Council of Agricultural Research and Secretary to the Government of India, Department of Agricultural Research and Education (1972-79), Principal Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture (1979-80), Acting Deputy Chairman and later Member (Science and Agriculture), Planning Commission (1980-82) and Director General, International Rice Research Institute, the Philippines (1982-88).

“With profound sadness, we convey that our Founder - Professor M S Swaminathan passed away this morning at 11.15 am at his residence in Chennai. Let’s all pray for the departed soul. May our beloved Professor rest in peace,” MS Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) said in a social media post.

He is survived by three daughters - Soumya Swaminathan, Madhura Swaminathan and Nitya Rao. His wife Mina Swaminathan predeceased him.

End of an era

An era of agricultural research, education and extension marked by disruptive innovations has come to an end with the death of MS Swaminathan, Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) Director AK Singh said on Thursday, says a PTI report.

“In passing away of Prof. Swaminathan, ends an era of agricultural research, education and extension that was full of disruptive innovation. If God appears to poor and hungry in form of bread as said by Mahatma Gandhi, that God is Dr. Swaminathan who should be worshipped by every citizen while taking daily meals,” Singh said in a statement.