Father of India's Green Revolution
Today is the birthday of the Indian geneticist MS Swaminathan.
Swaminathan is the father of India’s Green Revolution, a movement that distributed high-yield wheat and rice varieties to poor farmers.
When Swaminathan had graduated from college, he recognized that the number one issue facing his country was food scarcity. While others were concerned with independence, Swaminathan felt that agriculture was the country's highest priority.
Instead of pursuing medicine, which was his natural inclination, he decided to pursue degrees in agriculture. And, he continued to get a variety of degrees from numerous top universities from around the world. Swaminathan felt he could best help his country by solving the food problem.
On January 4, 1968, Swaminathan gave a lecture at the Indian Science Congress, where he first coined the term Green Revolution. Swaminathan wanted to marry technology development and dissemination with ecology. By developing high yielding wheat and rice varieties that small farmers could afford, the people of India became more independent.
Today, Swaminathan believes that every person has the right to have food. This belief was forged during what he calls India’s ship to mouth existence - when India had to wait for ships from America, or other parts of the world, to bring in food. The journey from ship to mouth to seeing food as a right is a massive paradigm shift, one which professor Swaminathan has so humbly lead.