M.S. Swaminathan is an agricultural scientist and plant geneticist, popularly known for his work on the ‘Green Revolution' in India. This collection includes research notes, annotated drafts, correspondence, award citations, photographs, administrative documents relating to his various places of work. See biographical note and scope and description for details.
In recognition of his scientific contributions, Swaminathan was conferred with the Padma Bhushan and the Padma Vibushan and was also elected Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS). The MS Swaminathan Papers are organised in 84 archival boxes, and three oversize cabinets, and in the following series:
Series 1: Research Notes, Data and Photographs (1960-2019)
Series 2: Correspondence (with multiple sub-series aligned with place of work, ca 1949 - 2020)
Series 3: Administration (22 sub-series)
Series 4: Unpublished Writings
Series 5: Personal
Series 6: Media coverage and photographs
Series 7: Published works
Series 8: Research reference material (rare)
Series 9: Institutional historical material (IARI and ICAR)
- Creation: Majority of material found within 1933 - 2020
Conditions Governing Access
Collection is mostly open to the public unless mentioned (for instance, restricted material like administrative and correspondence-related notes created after January 1992, aligning with the Public Records Act). People interested in accessing the collections are requested to refer to the researcher guide for requesting material: https://archives.ncbs.res.in/access
A significant portion of the published writings (books, reprint volumes) are in bound volumes kept at the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation, in the office of the chairperson or the library. These archival objects are identified with "MSSRF" in the Identifier for the file, and they will take longer to source than other archival objects that are housed at the Archives at NCBS.
Conditions Governing Use
Copyright may not have been assigned to Archives, National Centre for Biological Sciences. Permission for reproduction or distribution must be obtained in writing from the Archives at NCBS (email@example.com). The Archives at NCBS makes no representation that it is the copyright owner in all of its collections. The user must obtain all necessary rights and clearances before use of material and material may only be reproduced for academic and non-commercial use.
Biographical / Historical
Monkombu Sambasivan Swaminathan is a plant geneticist, agricultural scientist and scientific administrator. He was born on 7 August 1925 at Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu. He completed his early school education at the Native High School and, later, the Catholic Little Flower High School in Kumbakonam. He moved to Trivandrum in 1940 to pursue his undergraduate studies in Zoology at University College. The Bengal Famine of 1943 urged M.S. Swaminathan to devote a career to improve agricultural standards and food security in the country. He obtained a B.Sc. in Agriculture in 1947 from the Agricultural College and Research Institute at Coimbatore.
In 1949, he completed his associateship with the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi with distinction in Genetics and Plant Breeding. In 1949, he also qualified the Civil Service Examinations conducted by the Union Public Service Commission and was offered a position with the Indian Police Service. However, Swaminathan opted for research by accepting the offer to become a UNESCO Fellow in Genetics at the Agricultural University at Wageningen, the Netherlands, during 1949-50. He went on to complete his PhD on ‘Species Differentiation, and the Nature of Polyploidy in certain species of the Genus Solanum- section Tuberarium’ at the School of Agriculture, Cambridge University, England. Following this, he worked as a research associate in the Department of Genetics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the United States of America, until 1953.
Swaminathan returned to India in 1954 and undertook work in the Indica Japonica Rice Hybridization Programme at the Central Rice Research Institute, Odisha. In October 1954, he joined the Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI), New Delhi, as Assistant Cytogeneticist in the Botany Division. He proceeded to head the Botany Division in 1962 and later assumed leadership of IARI from 1966 to 1972. In January 1972, he took lead as the Director General of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, New Delhi. In 1979, he joined the Government of India as Principal Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation. In 1980, he then retired from government services and joined the Planning Commission as a member for agriculture and rural development. Swaminathan also served as the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission between April and June, 1980. In April 1982, he took over as the Director-General of the International Rice Research Institute, Philippines. It was during his tenure at IRRI when he was awarded the first World Food Prize in 1987 at the Smithsonian Institution, in Washington D.C. Returning to India in 1988, he began formally establishing his own research centre named the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation, located in Chennai from the proceeds of the World Food Prize. He has also held other administrative positions of importance. He was the Chairman of the National Commission of Farmers, Government of India (2004-06), President of National Academy of Agricultural Sciences (2005-07) and was a Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha (2007-2013). He also served in the capacity of President for the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs from 2002 - 2007.
His early years of research were focused on the origin and differentiation of potato species. He is also popularly known for his contributions to research in wheat and rice, made popular by the ‘Green Revolution’ in India. Other areas of research include disaster management strategies, improved crop productivity, genetic resource centres and work in biotechnology.
He has authored and edited 18 books and over 250 research papers. He is well-recognized by the scientific community with honorary positions at various academies that include the Royal Society of London, Indian National Science Academy, National Academy of Sciences at the United States etc. He has received 84 honorary doctorates and is the recipient of many prestigious awards, including the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Award (1961), Padma Shri (1967), Ramon Magsaysay Award (1971), Padma Bhushan (1972), World Food Prize (1987), and the Padma Vibhushan (1989).
70 Cubic Feet
Language of Materials
The collection contains papers of M.S. Swaminathan. The material was initially located at three spaces within the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) in Chennai. One group of records were first arranged at MSSRF. The Trustees of MSSRF then decided to donate the material to the Archives at NCBS, and so it was moved in two large accessions to the Archives at NCBS in 2020 (the first semi-arranged accession) and 2021 (arrived as an unprocessed collection). The Swaminathan Papers are being arranged in two distinct finding aid accession groups (Group 1 and Group 2), with a shared arrangement structure.
The material pertaining to the M.S. Swaminathan Collection has been organized into nine series.
These series are repeated in Group 1 and Group 2. The intellectual arrangement of each archival object aligns with an understanding of provenance and preservation of original structure to the extent possible. Material received in Group 2 has been arranged with the same structure as in Group 1, with the addition of various sub-series.
Series 1: Research Notes, Data and Photographs Series 2: Correspondence (with multiple sub-series aligned with place of work, ca 1949 - 2020) Series 3: Administration (22 sub-series) Series 4: Unpublished Writings Series 5: Personal Series 6: Media coverage and photographs Series 7: Published works Series 8: Research reference material (rare) Series 9: Institutional historical material (IARI and ICAR)
The first series contains research notes that have been arranged in chronological order. The second series includes correspondence arranged in chronological order. This also roughly corresponds to the institutional positions he held during that time. The third series captures administrative documents from various places of work and committees that Swaminathan was involved in. It includes deputation reports during his tenure at Indian Agricultural Research Institute, Indian Council of Agricultural Research, Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research, and International Rice Research Institute. The fourth series features unpublished writings that include annotated drafts, lectures and talks delivered by M.S. Swaminathan. The fifth series has been titled ‘Personal’, and it includes awards and recognitions of M.S. Swaminathan, and photographs of his family and close friends. The sixth series includes hard bound volumes of media clippings related to M.S. Swaminathan, and also event-related photographs at MSSRF. This has been retained since it is an extremely well-curated collection that also reflects a history of media coverage in agriculture over 60+ years. The seventh series include published writings that feature books, journal articles, media articles, reprints and committee reports authored by M.S. Swaminathan. Series 8 is a small section on relatively rare research reference material. While such material would normally not be retained, the Archives at NCBS has decided to keep this as a separate reference since the material is not easily accessible in India. Series 9 contains archival material relating to the history of IARI, ICAR, BP Pal and BR Murthy -- this is likely material that Swaminathan inherited during his time at the helm of these institutions.
Description is done at the file/folder level for this collection. All 'folder-level' descriptions at the Archives at NCBS follow a standard naming convention, and this is indicated in the field titled 'Identifier'. For instance, refer to the identifier, MS-007-2-2-10-7 for the file on correspondence with Pal, B.M. -- Indian Agricultural Research Institute, on 23 December 1957 and 31 December 1957 (http://catalogue.archives.ncbs.res.in/repositories/2/archival_objects/5364). MS-007-2-2-10-7
007: 7th manuscript collection at Archives at NCBS;
2: Series number (Correspondence);
2: Sub-series number (1954-1972);
10: Box or container number or location;
7: Folder or sub-container number.
The Archives at NCBS is only providing this information to help researchers understand the naming convention across the collections. Researchers using the archives only need to submit the full identifier in the Researcher Application or Material Use forms. For more information on access, refer to the Conditions Governing Access and the website, https://archives.ncbs.res.in/access
Archives at NCBS, National Centre for Biological Sciences, Bangalore - 560065
Immediate Source of Acquisition
The collection contains papers of M.S. Swaminathan. The material was initially located at three spaces within the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) in Chennai: Dr. Parasuraman’s cabin (Principal Scientist associated with Coastal Systems Research at the Foundation and formerly, the personal secretary of M.S. Swaminathan until 2013), the Bhoothalingam library, and office of the Chairperson at the Foundation. These records were first arranged at MSSRF. The Trustees of MSSRF then decided to donate the material to the Archives at NCBS, and so it was moved in two large accessions to the Archives at NCBS in 2020 (the first semi-arranged accession) and 2021 (arrived as an unprocessed collection). The Swaminathan Papers are being arranged in two distinct finding aid accession groups (Group 1 and Group 2), with a shared arrangement structure.
The Archives at NCBS is grateful to Dr Parasuraman at MSSRF for his unstinting efforts over the years to collect and preserve this material. It is also grateful to the Trustees of MSSRF for this generous donation, and to TNQ Technologies for financial support toward the operations of the archive.
The collection is in good condition except for a few photographic albums and newsprint files that need restoration work. Boxes are open for access unless marked for conservation.
- MS Swaminathan Papers
- Sangeeta D, Sanjna GY, Soumya S and Ravi KB. With support from Malavika A, Niranjana K, Venkat S
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