Prof. MS Swaminathan is no more — Passing of an era

Hasan Jawaid Khan


In the sad demise of Prof. MS Swaminathan on 28 September 2023, India lost a visionary, an inspiring leader, and a champion of farmers. A true nationalist, Prof. Swaminathan chose to return to India despite being offered a faculty position at the University of Wisconsin. And back home, it was because of his commitment and efforts that India could transform itself from being drought-stricken and dependent on US imports in the 1960s to becoming self-sufficient in food production in the 1970s.

Science Reporter remembers with pride its association with Prof. MS Swaminathan on more than one occasion. For instance, on the occasion of the National Technology Day, the May 2018 issue of Science Reporter focused on “Science & Technology in India”. We were immensely grateful that on our request, Prof. Swaminathan sent us an article “Shaping Our Agriculture Future", where among other ideas, he called for setting up “climate risk management R&D centres at least one at every block level, to be supported by trained Climate Risk Managers, one woman and one man from each Panchayat”.

In an interview published in the March 2016 issue of Science Reporter, on being asked for a message for the younger generation, he said “You may not be a scientist but you can get away from superstitions and get away from all the wrong things that are happening in our society. Make friendship with science.”

And in the September 2015 issue, on the sudden demise of Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, apart from stalwarts like Prof. CNR Rao, Dr K Kasturirangan and Dr RA Mashelkar, Prof. Swaminathan also agreed to pay his tributes. Calling Dr Kalam a “Scientist’s Scientist”, he wrote: “To Dr Kalam, religion, caste, language and other criteria that divide Indians and place them in pigeon holes were unacceptable. He was an Indian first and Indian last. Therefore, he wanted all parts of India to progress.”

This issue of Science Reporter is dedicated to Prof. MS Swaminathan, in whose death we have lost a great nationalist, agriculturist and a world thought leader. This issue of Science Reporter pays Prof. Swaminathan rich tributes contributed by the likes of Dr K Kasturirangan, Dr RA Mashelkar, Dr T Ramasami, Dr Shailesh Nayak, Dr Anil Gupta and Dr R Bhavani (who worked with him closely) more on NOPR