Feeling lucky that I could meet PV, Prof MS

Date:

(Dr Shankar Chatterjee)

The present Prime Minister of India, Sri Narendra Modi, announced Bharat Ratna awards (posthumously)to three great personalities – two former Prime Ministers, P.V. Narasimha Rao and Chaudhary Charan Singh and great agriculture scientist Prof M.S. Swaminathan, the great agriculture scientist who was behind India’s ‘Green Revolution’. I feel lucky that among the great three personalities, I met and interacted with P.V. Narasimha Rao, sir, and Prof M.S. Swaminathan, sir.   In the year 2000, I had the opportunity to meet, listen and interact with a great personality, a successful leader, an able administrator and a wonderful human being, who is popularly known as P. V. Narasimha Rao, by full name Pamulaparti Venkata Narasimha Rao, (born on June 28, 1921, Karimnagar district of present Telangana— passed away on December 23, 2004, New Delhi). He served as the Ninth Prime Minister of India from 1991 to 1996, but even after that, he was active in educational, social and other activities. When he visited in the year 2000 in the National Institute of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj (NIRDPR) that time (it was NIRD), Hyderabad, I met him as I was working as a faculty. It is pertinent to mention that NIRDPR is an autonomous organization under the Union Ministry of Rural Development, a premier national center of excellence in Rural Development and Panchayati Raj located in Hyderabad.

In addition, this Institute has a North-Eastern Regional Centre in Guwahati, Assam. Narasimha Rao sir was active in the freedom movement and, after independence, joined the Indian National Congress. He was elected in the Andhra Pradesh assembly from 1957 to 1977 and also served in various ministerial positions from 1962 to 1973, including Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh from 1971, and implemented land reforms and land ceiling acts.  During his tenure as Chief Minister, he also secured reservations for marginalised castes in politics. For the benefit of readers, I wish to mention that Telangana was created on June 2, 2014, so prior to that, it was Andhra Pradesh.  Narasimha Rao, sir was a member of Lok Sabha from 1977 to 1984 and was Minister for External Affairs from January 14, 1980, to July 18, 1984; Minister of Home Affairs from July 19, 1984, to December 31, 1984, and Minister of Defence from December 31, 1984, to September 25, 1985. He then took charge as Minister of Human Resource Development on September 25,1985.   Rao sir was endowed with many qualities – he liked music, and his special interest was in Indian philosophy and culture, writing books, poems and political commentary, learning languages, etc. He translated other famous publications from Marathi to Telugu and from Telugu to Hindi and published many articles in different magazines, mostly under a pen name. He delivered lectures at different Universities in the U.S.A. and West Germany on political matters and allied subjects. About his activities and performance, volumes can be written, but a few points I have highlighted. And rightly, he has been awarded (announced) posthumously Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian award in the nation. 

I am a senior citizen and have experienced many memorable events, but when I met a great personality and renowned figure, Prof. M.S. Swaminathan, sir, I could not believe my eyes because such a meeting was the most joyful, memorable, and inspiring event. I met Sir on December 18, 2019, at M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation, popularly known as MSSRF (established in 1988) in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, a non-profit organization established bySir.  I took his blessing as Sir is ‘Annadata’ (food provider) to all of us means Indians.  I was charmed to see a simple and wonderful human being and a ‘down to earth’ person, although endowed with ‘the ocean of knowledge.’ Immediately, the Sanskrit proverb, which I read in my school days, came to my mind: ‘Vidya Dadati Vinayam’ (simple meaning Knowledge makes a Man Perfect). Prof Mankombu Sambasivan Swaminathan, popularly known as M.S. Swaminathan (born 7August 1925), is a great personality not only in India but popular in many countries (I visited many countries).  Swaminathan Sir has shown how a country can be self-sufficient in food grains after experiencing severe food shortages because of drought. For his enormous contributions to agriculture, Sir was awarded many national and international laurels, including the first World Agriculture Prize in 2017. Internationally, he has been recognized as a fellow by 30 academies of science and societies worldwide, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia, Sweden, Italy, China, and Bangladesh, as well as the European Academy of Arts, Science, and Humanities. He was a founder fellow of The World Academy of Sciences. The National Agrarian University in Peru conferred him with an honorary professorship. There is no doubt that because of Dr. M.S. Swaminathan sir’s contribution, today India is self-sufficient in food grains, and 140 crore people are getting food.  We all know the severity of the food problem in 1943, the Great Bengal Famine (crores of people died because of starvation), and later in 1965, because of monsoon failure, India seriously suffered from the food-grain crisis.

I am delighted and excited to know that posthumously, Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian award, has been announced for Sir. Around four years ago, I met M.S. Swaminathan, sir, and took his blessings. 

(Dr Shankar Chatterjee is a former Professor & Head (CPME),NIRD & PR, Hyderabad,  India)

3 COMMENTS

  1. It’s very good article on late Sri PV garu and Swaminathan sir. Many people will know the greatness of these great personal by this article. Many many thanks to Dr.Shankar Chatterjee for his detailed narration.

  2. 1)Glad to know that
    Shri Shankar Chatterjee,
    Who has published lot many articles on ameliorated efforts made, to augment the living standards, of rural women in particular, deserves, tremendous appreciation for meeting a towering personality, like
    Shri *PV Narsimha Rao,*
    a man who has brought economic reforms, to augment foreign currency reserves, for various EXIM policies, and for efforts for *LPG*

    ( *LIBERALIZATION,*
    *PRIVATIZATION,*
    *GLOBALIZATION* )

    2)Shri Shankar Chatterjee, who has won the hearts of many, by sending excellent messages, deserves congratulations,
    encomiums, for meeting Doctor MS Swaminathan, who has won many hearts by creating new varieties of wheat( For example SHARBATI SONORA VARIETY), many other varieties of cereals, and for Green revolution.
    KN Prasad, Retired Officer, Government of Andhra Pradesh, now settled in Hyderabad

    • Sir good morning
      A great tribute has been paid by conferring Bharat Ratna to Swaminathan sir. First time an agricultural scientist was conferred with the highest civilian award of this country. Had this award been awarded during his lifetime of swaminathan sir he would have been very happy. Your article has emphasized contributions made by swaminathan sir to this country in particular in foodgrains production and removal of the hunger of teeming millions by introducing green revolution.
      Every citizen of this country is honoured by conferring Bharat Ratna to Swaminathan sir.
      T. Sanjeeva Reddy, Legal Advisor, ICFAI, Hyderabad

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