Born On: January 30, 1910
Born In: Senguttaipalayam, Tamil Nadu
Died On: November 7, 2000
Career: Freedom Fighter, Political Leader
Ministers are elected to the cabinets. They come, serve the term, and are elected again for yet another cabinet. Very few are able to justify their positions by contributing to the concerned ministry that they are appointed for. One such honorable and commendable minister was Chidambaram Subramaniam who, as a food minister, transformed the nation into a self-productive factory of wheat. Popularly known as the political architect of the "green revolution" in India, Subramaniam utilized his formidable skills in spreading the use of a new variety of wheat to millions of farmers, making India capable of harvesting wheat on homeland rather than importing. Besides, he was successful in supporting a new program for selling hybrid seeds, fertilizers, and pesticides at heavy subsidized rates. With this, Subramaniam gave India what it had been dreaming since long - green revolution.
Chidambaram Subramaniam was born to Chidambara Goudner and his wife in a village named Senguttaipalayam near Coimbatore district, in the present state of Tamil Nadu. After completing his early education in Pollachi, he went to Chennai to take admission in Presidency College to pursue a bachelor's degree in physics. Thereafter, he studied law at Law College in Chennai.
In 1952, Subramaniam began his political career, after being trained in the basics of politics and administration under Rajaji. He started off as a Minister of Education, Law and Finance in Madras State from 1952 to 1962. With this, he served as the leader in Madras Legislative Assembly for 10 years. He was, then, elected in Lok Sabha in 1962 and appointed as Minister for Steel and Mines. Eventually, he was given diverse portfolios to handle, like Agriculture in 1965, followed by finance and defense later on. With the Congress Party undergoing the split crisis in 1969, Subramaniam chose to side Indira Gandhi and hence, became the interim president of the party headed by her. He supported her during the Emergency period and served as the Finance Minister in the central government.
However, he chose to part ways with her post-Emergency and joined Congress (Urs) Party, headed by Devraj Urs. He was also designated as the Deputy Chairperson of the Planning Commission of India during 1971-72. In 1990, he became the Governor of Maharashtra and conducted frequent meetings with leading academics, industrialists, representatives of non-governmental organizations, and prominent citizens on critical issues of the society, thereby transforming the Raj Bhavan into a common activity zone. But to his dismay, he was forced to resign after newspaper reporter overheard and reported that he criticized the working style of the then Prime Minister of India, P.V. Narasimha Rao.
Contributions to India
Prior to joining full-fledged politics, Subramaniam plunged into the freedom struggle strongly and was even imprisoned for his active participation. Later on, he was elected to the Constituent Assembly and was also involved in structuring the Constitution of India. Amongst all his achievements and contributions, his best accomplishment has been the development of India's agricultural policy. After convincing the then Prime Minister of India, Lal Bahadur Shastri, and implementing the program, India was able to deliver a record production of wheat in 1972. This proved to be a major accomplishment of the Indian Green Revolution.
He was further involved in introducing high-yielding varieties of seeds and more intensive application of fertilizers which gave way for increasing the output of cereals in the late 1960s. He founded the National Agro Foundation at Chennai and Bharathidasan Institute of Management at Tiruchirappalli. Amongst all the proteges that Subramaniam produced, the most prominent include M.S. Swaminathan, former Agriculture Secretary B. Sivaraman, and Verghese Kurien. In 1998, he was conferred upon with the highest civilian award in India, Bharat Ratna.
Chidambaram Subramaniam died on November 7, 2000 in Chennai, thereby ending the golden era of green revolution with him. He was 90.
1910: Born in Senguttaipalayam, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu
1952-62: Served as Minister of Education, Law and Finance in Madras State
1962: Elected to Lok Sabha and became Minister of Steel and Mines
1965: Appointed as Minister of Agriculture and handled the Green Revolution
1969: Supported Indira Gandhi on the split of Congress Party
1971-72: Became Deputy Chairperson of the Planning Commission of India
1975: Served as Finance Minister during Emergency
1990: Appointed as Governor of Maharashtra
1998: Honored with Bharat Ratna Award
2000: Died on November 7 in Chennai, aged 90