The Green Midas

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IT IS the prime lesson of the Bhagwad Gita. It is also the main advice MS Swaminathan, chief architect of India’s ‘Green Revolution’, offers anyone who wants to succeed – give your best in everything you do and don’t work for reward or money.

MS Swaminathan
MS Swaminathan
Age: 84
Profession: Scientist
Stand untaken: Sri Lanka invited Swaminathan, the father of India’s Green Revolution, to engage his expertise in agriculture. Following protests in Tamil Nadu, he later withdrew Photo: Roy Sinai

At 84, Swaminathan still packs in a lot of energy as he goes about his work as chairman of the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation in Chennai and as a Rajya Sabha MP. His mornings begin at 4:30am with a halfhour walk, during which he recitesshlokas – this helps to rein in his ego.

“If you let your ego grow, it will destroy you. It won’t let you grow and learn new things. I learn a lot from my 19-year-old granddaughter,” says Swaminathan.

In spite of a hectic schedule, which involves considerable international travel, Swaminathan seems to have struck a good worklife balance.

“I spend my evenings with my family. My lifestyle is simple,” says Swaminathan, who tries to stay clear of eating “excess food.”

What’s most striking about the man is his passion for work, apparent from the enthusiasm with which he speaks of the possibilities of reviving agriculture in the war-torn northern part of Sri Lanka.

Ask him about his philosophy of life and he muses, “I have no complaints against anyone in life. I harbour no bitterness against anyone.”