Inmemory of Chidambaram Subramaniam

30 Jan 1910
7 Nov 2000
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Chidambaram Subramaniam (commonly known as CS) (January 30, 1910 – November 7, 2000), was an Indian statesman (Indian Independence activist, State minister, Central minister and Governor of state). He was the man who ushered in an era of self-sufficiency in food production in India.

Subramaniam was born on January 30, 1910, to Chidambaram and his wife, in a village called Senguttaipalayam, Pollachi taluk, Coimbatore district. Subramaniam completed his early education in Pollachi before moving to Chennai where he did a B.Sc in Physics at the Presidency College, Chennai.

Later he took a degree in law at the Law college, Chennai. During college days he along with contemporary stalwarts like Periyasami Thooran, K.M.Ramasami, O.V.Alagesan, Justice Palanisami started “Vanamalar Sangam” & published underground magazine called “PITHAN” edited by P.Thooran & Published by K.M.Ramasami at Gobichettipalayam. His inspiration and close relative was Swami Chidbhavananda.

He was an active member in Civil disobedience movement in his college days. He was imprisoned during the Quit India Movement in 1942. A protégé of Rajaji, Subramaniam was trained in the rudiments of politics and administration.

He was a Minister (Education, Law and Finance) in the then Madras State from 1952 to 1962. He was the Leader of the House in the Madras Legislative Assembly for 10 years from 1952. He was elected to the Lok Sabha in 1962 and was the Minister for Steel and Mines. Subsequently, he handled important portfolios like agriculture (in 1965 when he spearheaded the Green Revolution), and later the portfolios of Finance and Defence. He was the finance minister during the emergency. He also worked as the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission from 2 May 1971 to 22 July 1972.

When the historic split in the Congress took place in 1969, he cast his lot with Indira Gandhi and became the interim president of the faction she headed. He stood by her when she clamped the Emergency in 1975, but parted ways later and joined the Congress (Urs) faction led by Devraj Urs.

Subramaniam was appointed Governor of Maharashtra in 1990. He transformed the Raj Bhavan into a beehive of activity by holding frequent meetings with leading academics, industrialists, representatives of non-governmental organisations and prominent citizens on issues crucial to the community. He had to resign after a newspaper reporter overheard and published an informal remark of his criticising the style of functioning of the then Indian Prime Minister, Mr P.V. Narasimha Rao.

Subramaniam participated in the freedom struggle actively and went to prison. He was later elected to the Constituent Assembly and had a hand in the framing of the Constitution of India.

Subramaniam is best known as the architect of India’s modern agricultural development policy, after the success of his programme which led to a record production of wheat in 1972 — an achievement termed as the Indian Green Revolution. As Minister for Food and Agriculture, he played a decisive role in the introduction of high-yielding varieties of seeds and more intensive application of fertilizers which paved the way for increased output of cereals in the late 60s and attainment of self-sufficiency in food-grains in the country.

About his contribution, Dr. Norman E. Borlaug, the Nobel Laureate, writes: “The vision and influence of Mr. Subramaniam in bringing about agricultural change and in the very necessary political decisions needed to make the new approach effective, should never be under-emphasized. The groundwork for this advance (in the production of wheat) was solidly laid during that period (1964–67) when Mr. Subramaniam was the guiding political force instituting change.

Among his protégés who are notable in their own right are M.S. Swaminathan, who played a major role in translating the dream of a ‘green revolution’ into reality; former Agriculture Secretary B. Sivaraman (who, along with Subramaniam and Swaminathan, formed the three ‘S’s instrumental in heralding the Green Revolution), and Verghese Kurien Chairman of the National Dairy Development Board.

He was the founder of National Agro Foundation, Chennai and Bharathidasan Institute of Management, Tiruchirappalli.

He has received the following awards:

Bharat Ratna (the nation’s highest civilian honour) in 1998.
Y.B. Chavan National Integration Award.
U Thant peace award and Norman Borlaug award in 1996.
Anuvrat award (1988).
A commemorative coin of him, was released in August 2010

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