President Pratibha Patil and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday led “a grateful nation” in mourning the death of Noble Laureate and “Father of India’s Green Revolution,” Norman Borlaug, who died in Texas, U.S., after a battle with cancer.

“Dr. Borlaug had a special place in the hearts of all Indians as he, along with M.S. Swaminathan, brought the Green Revolution to India marking a watershed in India’s agrarian economy and rural development. In his passing away the world has lost a famous agricultural scientist and a friend of India,” the President said in a message.

In his condolence note the Prime Minister said Dr. Borlaug’s life and achievements were testimony to the contribution that one man’s towering intellect, persistence and scientific vision could make to human peace and progress.

Era ended

“With the passing away of Dr. Borlaug, an era has ended, in which he spearheaded a scientific revolution in agriculture. At a time in the sixties when the country was facing the spectre of severe food shortages, his introduction of high yielding varieties of [wheat] seeds set in motion a technological revolution in Indian agriculture that led eventually to the country achieving self-sufficiency in food grains. The Green Revolution lifted the spirits of the Indian people and gave them new hope and confidence in their ability to tackle the country’s daunting economic challenges.

Science-based approach

“Dr. Borlaug’s impact on India’s science and economy went much beyond the Green Revolution. A science-based approach to the problems of agriculture was a fundamental tenet of his thinking and the success of the Green Revolution spawned other successful interventions in areas such as animal husbandry, dairying and agriculture. One of Dr. Borlaug’s favourite quotations was to ‘reach for the stars.’ In doing so, he helped millions of people escape from a life of hunger and deprivation. On behalf of a grateful nation, I convey my deepest condolences to the family and friends of Dr. Norman Borlaug,” Dr. Singh said.

Expressing “personal grief” over the death of the 95-year-old agriculture scientist, Union Agriculture and Food Minister Sharad Pawar said that the world had lost not only an eminent agricultural scientist but also a man dedicated to the cause of humanity. “The Father of the Green Revolution, Norman Borlaug is credited with, what he himself described as, ‘a temporary success in man’s war against hunger and deprivation.’ Having known him since 1974, it is with a profound sense of personal grief that I mourn his passing away.”

Mr. Pawar noted that Dr. Borlaug’s contribution would always be remembered for the world peace he heralded through increasing food supply and saving over 245 million lives worldwide.

“India, amongst many other nations of the world, owes a debt of gratitude to this outstanding personality. As India moves towards the second Green Revolution, his enduring vision will be a source of inspiration and sustenance for everyone,” he added.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said in Patna that Dr. Borlaug was the lone person to have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for contribution in agriculture and food production. He was considered the brain behind India’s green revolution. “The world has lost a great agriculture scientist.”

He said he was deeply impressed with Dr. Borlaug when he met him as Agriculture Minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government.

In Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister K. Rosaiah also mourned his death.

“His contribution to agriculture science has greatly improved the food security besides achieving self-sufficiency in producing cereal grains in the country.

“In his death, the world especially the agricultural fraternity, has lost an illustrious scientist, an agronomist and a humanitarian,” he added.

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