Biography of M S Swaminathan

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Indian Agriculture Scientist  M S Swaminathan Biography

Monkombu Sambasivan Swaminathan is an Indian agriculture scientist, born August 7, 1925, in Kumbakonam, Tamilnadu. He was the second of four sons of a doctor. His ancestral home is the island village of Monkompu, Alleppey District, Kerala.

M S Swaminathan is known as the “Father of the Green Revolution in India” , for his leadership and success in introducing and further developing high-yielding varieties of wheat in India. He is the founder and Chairman of the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation.

M S Swaminathan stated vision is to rid the world of hunger and poverty. Dr. Swaminathan is an advocate of moving India to sustainable development, especially using environmentally sustainable agriculture, sustainable food security and the preservation of biodiversity, which he calls an “evergreen revolution” In 1999, Time magazine placed him in the Time 20 list of most influential Asian people of the 20th century.

M S Swaminathan Early Days

Swaminathan’s family was among the most important in the village of Moncombu. Generations before, the rajah of Ambalapuzha had traveled to the neighboring region of Tamil Nadu.

M S Swaminathan had been very impressed by the scholars at the Thanjavur court and requested that one such scholar be sent to his province. Enji Venkatachella Iyer, Swaminathan’s ancestor, was chosen to move to Ambalapuzha.

The rajah was so delighted and struck by Venkatachella Iyer’s knowledge of the scriptures that he gifted him acres of land comprising the village of Monkombu. The family came to be called the Kottaram family ( ‘kottaram’ means palace ).

M S Swaminathan Education

M. S. Swaminathan was born on August 7, 1925. His father died when Swaminathan was 11. His early schooling was at the Native High School and later at the Little Flower Catholic High School in Kumbakonam. He went to college at Maharajas College in Ernakulam and earned a Bachelor of Science degree ( B.Sc. ) in zoology.

Swaminathan was strongly influenced by Mahatma Gandhi’s belief in ahimsa or non-violence to achieve Purna swaraj ( total freedom ) and swadeshi, ( self-reliance ) on both a personal and national level.

During this time of wartime food shortages he chose a career in agriculture and enrolled in Coimbatore Agricultural College where he graduated as valedictorian with another B.Sc, this time in Agricultural Science.

In 1947, the year of Indian independence he moved to the Indian Agricultural Research Institute ( IARI ) in New Delhi as a post-graduate student in genetics and plant breeding and obtained a post-graduate degree with high distinction in Cytogenetics in 1949.

M S Swaminathan received a UNESCO Fellowship to continue his IARI research on potato genetics at the Wageningen Agricultural University, Institute of Genetics in the Netherlands.

Here he succeeded in standardizing procedures for transferring genes from a wide range of wild species of Solanum to the cultivated potato, Solanum tuberosum. In 1950, he moved to study at the Plant Breeding Institute of the University of Cambridge School of Agriculture.

He earned a Doctor of Philosophy ( Ph.D ) degree in 1952, for his thesis, “Species Differentiation, and the Nature of Polyploidy in certain species of the genus Solanum – section Tuberarium”. His work presented a new concept of the species relationships within the tuber-bearing Solanum.

He reside in Chennai,Tamil Nadu. Swaminathan then accepted a post-doctoral research associateship at the University of Wisconsin, Department of Genetics to help set up a USDA Potato Research Station. Despite his strong personal and professional satisfaction with the research work in Wisconsin, he declined the offer of a full time faculty position, returning to India in early 1954.

M S Swaminathan Personal Life

M. S. Swaminathan is married to Mina Swaminathan who he met in 1951 while they were both studying at Cambridge. They have three daughters: Soumya Swaminathan, Madhura Swaminathan and Nitya Rao. Dr. Swaminathan lives in Chennai, Tamil Nadu with his wife, and has five grandchildren – Anandi,Shreya, Kalyani, Akshay and Madhav. M.S. Swaminathan has been influenced by the Indian philosopher and mystic Sri Aurobindo. Speaking at Auroville in 1997, he said , “My first visit to Sri Aurobindo Ashram was on 15th August 1947.

It was the day of India’s Independence. When everybody was going towards the Marina Beach in Madras, I was walking towards Egmore Station to take a train to Pondicherry.”

Professional Achievements

Dr. Swaminathan has worked worldwide in collaboration with colleagues and students on a wide range of problems in basic and applied plant breeding, agricultural research and development and the conservation of natural resources.

His professional career began in 1949 :

  • 1949-55 – Research on potato (Solanum tuberosum), wheat (Triticum aestivum), rice (Oryza sativa), and jute genetics.
  • 1955–72 – Field research on Mexican dwarf wheat varieties. Teach Cytogenetics, Radiation Genetics, and Mutation Breeding and build up the wheat and rice germplasm collections at Indian Agricultural Research Institute IARI.
  • 1970–80 – Director-General, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR),Established the National Bureau of Plant, Animal, and Fish Genetic Resources of India.,

Established the International Plant Genetic Resources Institute ( changed in 2006 to Bioversity International ) .

Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India, Transformed the Pre-investment Forest Survey Programme into the Forest Survey of India.

  • 1981–85 – Independent Chairman, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Council, Rome, played a significant role in establishing the Commission on Plant Genetic Resources.
  • 1983 – Developed the concept of Farmers’ Rights and the text of the International Undertaking on Plant Genetic Resources (IUPGR).President of the International Congress of Genetics.
  • 1982–88 – Director General, International Rice Research Institute ( IRRI ), organized the International Rice Germplasm Centre, now named International Rice Genebank.
  • 1984-90 – President of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources IUCN, develop the Convention on Biological Diversity CBD.
  • 1986-99 – Chairman of the editorial advisory board, World Resources Institute, Washington, D. C., conceived and produced the first “World Resources Report”.
  • 1988-91 – Chairman of the International Steering Committee of the Keystone International Dialogue on Plant Genetic Resources,  regarding the availability, use, exchange and protection of plant germplasm.
  • 1991-1995 – Member, Governing Board, Auroville Foundation
  • 1988-96 – President, World Wide Fund for Nature–India WWF, Organized the Indira Gandhi Conservation Monitoring Centre. Organize the Community Biodiversity Conservation Programme.
  • 1988-99 – Chairman / Trustee, Commonwealth Secretariat Expert Group, organized the Iwokrama International Centre for Rainforest Conservation and Development, for the sustainable and equitable management of tropical rainforests in Guyana. The President of Guyana wrote in 1994 “there would have been no Iwokrama without Swaminathan.”
  • 1990-93 – Founder/President, International Society for Mangrove Ecosystems ( ISME )
  • 1988-98 – Chaired various committees of the Government of India to prepare draft legislations relating to biodiversity (Biodiversity Act ) and breeders’ and farmers’ rights (Protection of Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights Act).
  • in 1993 Dr M. S. Swaminathan,headed an expert group to prepare a draft of a national population policy that would be discussed by the Cabinet and then by Parliament. In 1994 it submitted its report.
  • 1994 – Chairman of the Commission on Genetic Diversity of the World Humanity Action Trust. Established a Technical Resource Centre at MSSRF for the implementation of equity provisions of CBD and FAO’s Farmers’ Rights.
  • 1994 onwards – Chairman of the Genetic Resources Policy Committee (GRPC) of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), development of policies for the management of the ex situ collections of International Agricultural Research Centers.
  • 1995-1999 Chairman, Auroville Foundation
  • 1999 – Introduced the concept of trusteeship management of Biosphere reserves. Implemented the Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve Trust, with financial support from the Global Environment Facility (GEF).
  • 2001 – Chairman of the Regional Steering Committee for the India – Bangladesh joint Project on Biodiversity Management in the Sundarbans World Heritage Site, funded by the UN Foundation and UNDP.
  • 2002 – President of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs which work towards reducing the danger of armed conflict and to seek solutions to global security threats.
  • 2002 – 2005 – Co-chairman with Dr. Pedro Sanchezof the UN Millennium Task Force on Hunger, a comprehensive global action plan for fighting poverty, disease and environmental degradation in developing countries.
  • Over 68 students have done their Ph.D thesis work under his guidance :

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Notable Mention

On the occasion of Dr. Norman Borlaug’s receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970, he said of Dr. Swaminathan: “The green revolution has been a team effort and much of the credit for its spectacular development must go to Indian officials, Organizations, Scientists and farmers.

However, to you, Dr. Swaminathan, a great deal of the credit must go for first recognizing the potential value of the Mexican dwarfs. Had this not occurred, it is quite possible that there would not have been a green revolution in Asia”.

On the occasion of the presentation of the First World Food Prize to Dr. Swaminathan in October 1987, Mr. Javier Perez de Cuellar – Secretary General of the United Nations, wrote: “Dr. Swaminathan is a living legend. His contributions to Agricultural Science have made an indelible mark on food production in India and elsewhere in the developing world.

By any standards, he will go into the annals of history as a world scientist of rare distinction”. Swaminathan has been described by the United Nations Environment Programme as “the Father of Economic Ecology”.

He was one of three from India included in TIME Magazine’s 1999 list of the “20 most influential Asian people of the 20th century”, the other two being Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore.

Following the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake, he advised India to plant new mangrove groves along the shoreline to minimize damage from future tsunamis.

Dr. Swaminathan was the featured speaker at The 2006 Norman E. Borlaug International Symposium: in Des Moines, Iowa on, October 19, 2006. He was sponsored by Humanities Iowa, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Dr. Swaminathan presented The “Third Annual Governor’s Lecture” and spoke on “THE GREEN REVOLUTION REDUX : Can we replicate the single greatest period of food production in all human history?” . He also talked about the links between Gandhi and the great Iowa scientist George Washington Carver.,

Swaminathan is a Fellow of the Royal Society of London the U. S. National Academy of Sciences, the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and the Italian Academy of Sciences.


A scientific paper in which Swaminathan and his team claimed to have produced a mutant breed of wheat by gamma irradiation of a Mexican variety ( Sonora 64 ) resulting in Sharbati Sonora, claimed to have a very high lysine content led to a major controversy.

The case was discussed as a classic example of scientific misdemeanor and was claimed to be an error made by the laboratory assistant. The episode was also compounded by the suicide of an agricultural scientist.

Recent workers have also studied it as part of a systemic problem in Indian agriculture research.

M S Swaminathan Publications

Dr Swaminathan is a prolific scientific researcher and writer. He published 46 single author papers between 1950 and 1980. Out of 118 two author papers, he was first author of 80. Out of 63 three author papers he was first author of 15. Out of 21 four author papers he was first author of 9.

In total he had 254 papers to his credit, 155 of which he was the single author or first author. His scientific papers are in the fields of crop improvement , cytogenetics and genetics and phylogenetics.

His most frequent publishers were: Indian Journal of Genetics, Current Science , Nature  and Radiation Botany.

Some of the papers are listed below.

In addition he has written a few books around the general theme of his life’s work, biodiversity and sustainable agriculture for alleviation of hunger.
Dr. Swaminathan’s books include :

  • “An Evergreen Revolution”, 2006.
  • “I Predict: A Century of Hope Towards an Era of Harmony with Nature and Freedom from Hunger”, (1999)
  • “Gender Dimensions in Biodiversity Management”, (ed.) (1998)
  • “Implementing the Benefit Sharing Provisions of the Convention on Biological Diversity: Challenges and opportunities” (1997)
  • “Agrobiodiversity and Farmers’ Rights”, 1996
  • “Sustainable Agriculture: Towards Food Security”
  • “Farmers’ Rights and Plant Genetic Resources: A dialogue.” (ed.) (1995)
  • “Wheat Revolution: a Dialogue” (ed) (1993)

Research Reports

He has published laboratory research results in several scientific journals and increasingly writes for a wider audience in environmental journals. Some of his publications are available online in abstract or full text and

•   First author: Swaminathan MS.

  • “CHOPRA VL, BHASKARAN, Cytological aberrations observed in barley embryos cultured in irradiated potato mash.”, Radiat Res. 1962 Feb;16:182-8.
  • “Murty BR., Aspects of Asynapsis in Plants. I. Random and Non Random Chromosome Associations.”, Genetics. 1959 Nov;44(6):1271-80.
  • “NINAN T, MAGOON ML. Effects of virus infection on microsporogenesis and seed fertility in Capsicum.”, Genetica. 1959;30:63-9.
  • “MURTY BR., Effect of x-radiation on pollen tube growth and seed setting in crosses between Nicotiana tabacum and N. rustica.”, Z Vererbungsl., 1959;90:393-9.
  • “GANESAN AT., Kinetics of mitosis in yeasts.”, Nature. 1958 August 30;182(4635):610-1.
  • “Nature of Polyploidy in Some 48-Chromosome Species of the Genus Solanum, Section, Tuberarium.”, Genetics. 1954 Jan;39(1):59-76.

•    Second author

  • GANESAN AT, SWAMINATHAN MS., “Staining the nucleus in yeasts.”, Stain Technol. 1958 May;33(3):115-21.
  • NATARAJAN AT, SWAMINATHAN MS., “Chromosome spreading induced by vegetable oils.”, Stain Technol. 1957 Jan;32(1):43-5.
  • HOWARD HW, SWAMINATHAN MS., “The cytology of haploid plants of Solanum demissum.”, Genetica. 1953;26(5-6):381-91.
  • PRAKKEN R, SWAMINATHAN MS., “Cytological behaviour of some inter-specific hybrids in the genus Solanum, sect. Tuberarium.”, Genetica. 1952;26(1):77-101.

•    Third author

  • Chopra vl, kapoor ml, swaminathan ms., “effects of pre- & post-treatments with s-2-aminoethylisothiouronium bromide hydrobromide on the frequency of chromosome aberrations & chlorophyll mutations induced by x-rays in barley”, Indian J Exp Biol. 1965 Apr;3:123-5.
  • NIRULA S, BHASKARAN S, SWAMINATHAN MS., “Effect of linear differentiation of chromosomes on the proportionality between chromosome length and DNA content.”, Exp Cell Res. 1961 Jun;24:160-2.

•    Fourth author

  • Latha R, Rubia L, Bennett J, Swaminathan MS., “Allele mining for stress tolerance genes in Oryza species and related germplasm.”, Mol Biotechnol. 2004 Jun;27(2):101-8.
  • PAI RA, UPADHYA MD, BHASKARAN S, SWAMINATHAN MS., “Chromosome diminution and evolution of polyploid species in Triticum. Chromosoma.”, 1961;12:398-409.
  • Siddiq EA, Kaul AK, Puri RP, Singh VP, Swaminathan MS., “Mutagen-induced variability in protein characters in Oryza sativa.”, Mutat Res. 1970 Jul;10(1):81-4.

Environmental articles
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•    First author: Swaminathan MS.mssrf

  • “Nutrition in the third millennium: countries in transition.”, Forum Nutr. 2003;56:18-24.</ref>
  • “Bio-diversity: an effective safety net against environmental pollution.”, Environ Pollut. 2003;126(3):287-91.
  • “CGIAR statement on UN treaty.”, Nat Biotechnol. 2002 Jun;20(6):547.
  • “Ecology and equity: key determinants of sustainable water security.”, Water Sci Technol. 2001;43(4):35-44.
  • “An evergreen revolution.”,Biologist (London). 2000 Apr;47(2):85-9.
  • “Science in response to basic human needs.”, Science. 2000 January 21;287(5452):425.
  • “The ecology of hope.”, People Planet. 1999;8(4):6-9.
  • “Convocation address.”, IIPS News. 1998 Jul;39(2 3):2-8.
  • “”Farmers’ Rights and Plant Genetic Resources.””, 1998.
  • “Forward: Regional Workshop on the Conservation and Sustainable Management of Coral Reefs”, 1997
  • “Perspectives for crop protection in sustainable agriculture.”, Ciba Found Symp. 1993;177:257-67; discussion 267-72.
  • “DNA in medicine. Agricultural production.”, Lancet. 1984 December 8;2(8415):1329-32.
  • “Nutrition and agricultural development: new frontiers.”, Food Nutr (Roma). 1984;10(1):33-41.
  • “The age of algeny, genetic destruction of yield barriers and agricultural transformation.”, (1968).

•    Second author

  • Kesavan PC, Swaminathan MS., “Managing extreme natural disasters in coastal areas.”, Philos Transact A Math Phys Eng Sci. 2006 August 15;364(1845):2191-216.
  • Sanchez PA, Swaminathan MS., “Hunger in Africa: the link between unhealthy people and unhealthy soils.”, Lancet. 2005 January 29-February 4;365(9457):442-4. 5: Sanchez PA, Swaminathan MS., Public health. Cutting world hunger in half.”, Science. 2005 January 21;307(5708):357-9.

•    Third author

  • Raven P, Fauquet C, Swaminathan MS, Borlaug N, Samper C., “Where next for genome sequencing?”, Science. 2006 January 27;311(5760):468.
    Awards and recognition. Dr. Swaminathan has received several outstanding awards and prizes. These prizes include large sums of money, which has helped sustain and expand his work.
  • H.K. Firodia award for excellence in Science & Technology
  • Four Freedoms Award for demonstrating achievement of the principles of Freedom of speech, Freedom of Religion, Freedom from want and Freedom from fear, 2000
  • Planet and Humanity Medal of the International Geographical Union awarded “in recognition of his unique success in outstanding scientific research and its application, leading to Asia’s Green Revolution. His endeavors to combat hunger and food shortages by promoting new seed varieties and applying these with ecologically sound principles and sustainable agriculture are all part of his profound humanitarian ethos, which reminds scientists and politicians worldwide of their responsibilities for stewardship of nature and humanity on our common Planet Earth.” 2000
  • UNEP Sasakawa Environment Prize Laureate for outstanding contributions to the protection and management of the environment. Co – winner with Paul and Anne Ehrlich 1994, $200,000 prize.
  • The Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement “in recognition of life-long contributions to increasing  biological productivity on an ecologically sustainable basis, and to promoting the conservation of biological diversity”1991
  • Honda Prize, for achieving outstanding results in the field of ecotechnology, 1991
  • Padma Vibhushan 1989
  • World Food Prize for advancing human development through increased quantity, guality or accessibility of food, 1987
  • Golden Heart Presidential Award of the Philippines, conferred by President Corazon Aquino “in recognition of his contribution in resolving a wide range of problems in basic and applied genetics and agricultural research and development in the Philippines, for his accomplishments in the area of agricultural science and research highly beneficial to Filipino farmers, and for having expanded considerably the International Rice Research Institute’s capacity for upstream research to bring the fruits of recent advances in science and technology to Asian rice farmers.”1987
  • Albert Einstein World Science Award by the World Cultural Council for research which has brought true benefit and well being to mankind.[53] 1986
    Ramon Magsaysay Award
  • Borlaug Award, given by Coromandel Fertilizers in profound appreciation of his catalytic role in providing deep insights and inspiring fellow scientists to set goals … for evolving a strategy for agriculture rooted in science, but tempered by a concern for ecology and human values 1979
  • Padma Bhushan 1972
  • Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership 1971
  • Padma Shri 1967
  • Foreign Fellow of Bangladesh Academy of Sciences
  • He holds 58 honorary Doctorate degrees from universities around the world.
  • National Awards. He has been honored with several awards in India for his work to benefit the country.
  • Karmaveer Puraskaar Noble Laureates, March,2007 by iCONGO- Confederation of NGOs.
  • Dupont-Solae Award for his contribution to the field of food and nutrition security 2004
  • Life Time Achievement Award from BioSpectrum 2003
  • Indira Gandhi Gold Plaque by the Asiatic Society for his significant contribution towards human progress. 2002
  • Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development “for his outstanding contribution in the domain of plant genetics and ensuring food security to hundreds of millions of citizens in the developing world.” This prestigious award honors those outstanding global citizens who have made a significant contribution to humanity’s material and cultural progress. 2000
  • The Indian National Science Academy awarded him Millennium Scientist Award 2001, Asutosh Mookerjee Memorial Award for 1999–2000, Shatabdi Puraskar award in the field of Agricultural Sciences 1999, Jawaharlal Nehru Birth Centenary Award 1992, B.P. Pal Memorial Award of the 1998, Meghnad Saha Medal 1981, Silver Jubilee Commemoration Medal for contributions to genetics and agricultural research 1971.
  • Lokmanya Tilak Award by the Tilak Smarak Trust, in recognition of his contribution to the green revolution in India and for his outstanding scientific and environmental works. 2001
  • Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development in recognition of creative efforts toward promoting international peace, development and a new international economic order; ensuring that scientific discoveries are used for the larger good of humanity, and enlarging the scope of freedom. 2000
  • Millennium Alumnus Award by the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University 2000
  • Prof P N Mehra Memorial Award 1999
  • Legend in his Lifetime Award by the World Wilderness Trust- India 1999
  • Dr. B.P. Pal Medal for unique contributions to agricultural research and development of the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences, India 1997
  • V. Gangadharan Award for outstanding contributions to National Development 1997
  • Dr. B.P. Pal Medal for unique contributions to agricultural research and development of the National Academy of Agricultural Sciences, India 1997
  • V. Gangadharan Award for outstanding contributions to National Development 1997
  • Lal Bahadur Shastri Deshgaurav Samman 1992
  • Dr. J.C. Bose Medal, Bose Institute 1989
  • Krishi Ratna Award for “devotion to the cause of agroscience, and for being the benefactor of the farming community,” instituted by the Bharat Krishak Samaj (Indian Farmer’s Society)/World Agriculture Fair Memorial Trust Society, and presented by President Giani Zail Singh of India 1986
  • Rathindranath Tagore Prize of Visva Bharati University 1981
  • R.D. Misra Medal of the Indian Environmental Society 1981
  • Barclay Medal of the Asiatic Society for contributions to genetics 1978
  • Moudgil Prize of the Bureau of Indian Standards for contributions to standardisation 1978
  • Birbal Sahni Medal of the Indian Botanical Society for contributions to Applied Botany 1965.
  • Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Award for contributions to Biological Sciences 1961
  • International Awards
  • He has been honored with recognition from several international organizations for spreading the benefits of his work to other countries.
  • UNESCO Mahatma Gandhi Gold Medal for his outstanding work in extending the benefits of biotechnology to marginalized and poverty-stricken populations in developing countries and in securing a sound basis for sustainable agricultural, environmental and rural development 1999
  • Henry Shaw Medal awarded by the Board of Trustees of the Missouri Botanical Garden in consideration of important service to humanity through emphasis on sustainability in agriculture – USA 1998
  • Ordre du Merite Agricole, Govt of France to honour services of the highest quality rendered to the cause of agriculture 1997
  • Highest award for International Cooperation on Environment and Development, Govt of China for outstanding contributions to the lofty cause of environmental protection and development, and for his signal accomplishments in the field of international cooperation 1997
  • Global Environmental Leadership Award “for encouraging village-level responses to environmental issues” by the Climate Institute 1995
  • World Academy of Art and Science 1994
  • Asian Regional Award by the Asian Productivity Organization APO 1994
  • Charles Darwin International Science and Environment Medal 1993
  • Commandeur of the Order of the Golden Ark of the Netherlands 1990
  • The VOLVO Environment Prize for his outstanding research and devoted work in turning Indian food production from a deficit to a much increased supply. 1990.
  • Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID) international award for significant contributions to promoting the knowledge, skill, and technological empowerment of women in agriculture and for his pioneering role in mainstreaming gender considerations in agriculture and rural development 1985.
  • Bicentenary Medal of the University of Georgia, U.S.A. 1985
  • Bennett Commonwealth Prize of the Royal Society of Arts for significant contributions to Household Nutrition Security 1984

Mendel Memorial Medal of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences for contributions to Plant Genetics 1965.

M S Swaminathan Critics

Despite these awards and honors, the credibility of Swaminathan and his promotion of biotechnology remains open to question by some. His record retains some controversy. There are cases of scientific fraud and scandals involving the suicide of a fellow scientist at the (ICAR).

The first among those who came to expose many of the claims made by MS Swaminathan was Claude Alvares. In his article The Great Gene Robbery 23 March 1986 The Illustrated Weekly.

Alvares provided enough evidences to show that most of the research that were initiated by him and International Rice Research Institute were not original.In the recent years Shiv Vishwanathan in an EPW [28] article writes he is a sociological phenomenon.

He is paradigm, exemplar, dissenter, critic and alternative. …..Swaminathan always assimilates the new. Earlier Claude Alvares had given a better picture as follows Strangely, he has become more and more akin to HYV of the seeds he sells. Like them, he is capable of high-yielding varieties of phrase and word.

At a Gandhi seminar, he will speak of the relevance of Gandhi. At a meeting in Madras on the necessity of combine harvesters. At another meeting on appropriate technology, he will plump for organic manures. At a talk in London, he will speak on the necessity of chemical fertilizers.

He will label slum dwellers ‘ecological refugees’, and advertise his career as a quest for ‘imparting an ecological basis to productivity improvement.’ This, after presiding over, and indiscriminately furthering, one of the ecologically most devastating technologies of modern times – the HYV package of the Green revolution.

M S Swaminathan Current work

  • He currently holds the UNESCO -Cousteau Chair[66] in Ecotechnology at the M. S. Swaminathan Research Foundation in Chennai, India.
  • He is the chairman of the National Commission on Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Security of India (National Commission on Farmers).
  • He is currently spearheading a movement to bridge the Digital divide called, “Mission 2007: Every Village a Knowledge Centre”.
  • Bruce Alberts, President of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences said of Dr. Swaminathan: “At 80, M.S. retains all the energy and idealism of his youth, and he continues to inspire good behavior and more idealism
  • from millions of his fellow human beings on this Earth. For that, we can all be thankful”.

Further Reading

  • “Biodiversity and Poverty – Natural Resources and the Millennium Goals”, M.S. Swaminathan speech and a discussion, University of Berne, Auditorium Maximum, Wednesday, 8/24/2005.Speech, Full text :
  • An insightful biography, “M.S. Swaminathan – One Man’s Quest for a Hunger-Free World” was written in 2002 by Gita Gopalkrishnanhas, Education Development Center Inc., Sri Venkatesa Printing House, Chennai, pp. 132 ISBN 81-7276-260-7 Full text:.
  • To learn the most about M. S. Swaminathan, the book to read is: “Scientist and Humanist: M.S. Swaminathan” by R.D. Iyer, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Mumbai, 2002. pp. 245 Excerpt with photos
  • “The Man Who Harvests Sunshine – The Modern Gandhi: M. S. Swaminathan.” Andréi Erdélyi. Tertia Kiadó, H-1158, Budapest, Kubelsberg Kunóu36,

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