Agricultural scientist and geneticist Monkonbu Sambasivam Swaminathan, known as the "father of the Green Revolution", in India passed away on September 28 and Archbishop George Alencherry, head of the Eastern-Rite Syro Malabar Church, expressed his condolences.
Cardinal Alencherry said, “Swaminathan was a visionary force behind India's Green Revolution, transforming our nation from a food deficit to a food-surplus country through his ground-breaking work in genetics and plant breeding."
The prelate added, “He revolutionized Indian agricultural production by developing high-yield varieties of wheat and rice and integrating chemical-biological technology.”
"Swaminathan made sure that India would never again face the threat of famine," Alencherry said. "This was the legacy of the Green Revolution."
“Swaminathan’s legacy will inspire the nation to reach new heights in the fields of agriculture and food security,” Cardinal Alencherry said.
An age-related illness led to his death at the age of 98. Swaminathan had been awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award (1971) and the Albert Einstein World Science Award (1986).
Indian agriculture has been saved from famine and starvation through Swaminathan's research on high-yielding rice, wheat, and potato varieties.
Averting a humanitarian disaster on the subcontinent was the result of the Green Revolution, spearheaded by him and supported by foundations and aid organizations based in Western nations.
In 1987, Swaminathan was awarded the first World Food Prize, the top award in agricultural research.
His contributions to research included setting up many national and international bodies, including the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines, the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and the World Wildlife Fund.
Additionally, he received 84 honorary doctorates from prestigious universities all over the world.
The agriculture sector accounts for almost 60 percent of employment in India, which is currently on a modernization mission.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to X (previously Twitter) to condole Swaminathan’s death.
“Dr. Swaminathan's passion for seeing India progress was exemplary. I will always cherish our conversations. His life and work will inspire generations to come,” Modi said.
Former Indian Prime Minister H. D. Deve Gowda offered his sympathies, stating Swaminathan's guidance had helped him on numerous occasions and that he had been in touch with him until recently.
He leaves behind three daughters, one of whom, Soumya Swaminathan, served as the World Health Organization's chief scientist from 2019 to 2022.
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