The Green Revolution: India's Independence and Scientific Community (E)

One of the darkest periods of British rule over India was 1943 when the Bengal Famine Struck – an estimated 20 to 30 lakh men, women and children died of starvation and disease. This was a result of a colonial power whose only motivation was to exploit India economically. There were virtually no investments made in agriculture by the British - be it universities for human resources, research institutions for developing better varieties of food grain and vegetables or large scale agricultural infrastructure like irrigation projects from dams to canals. As a result Hunger, Poverty and Malnutrition abounded in India. By the time the British left in 1947, India’s agrarian economy was on the brink of a collapse - India was a net importer of food grain. Post-independence the government prioritized the development of scientific agriculture, emphasis was also laid the related ecosystem of agriculture production – from setting up large fertilizer and pesticide plants, building multi-purpose irrigation and power projects and importance was given to starting agricultural universities, setting up post-graduate schools like the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, which was established in 1958, as well as new agricultural research institutions for important food crops like Central Rice Research Institute at Cuttack and the Central Potato Research Institute, Simla, etc. These were the steps that eventually led to India’s green revolution. In this special series of Science for a Self Reliant India we take a close look at India’s green revolution - that transformed us from a nation, which was a net importer of food grain, to one with a surplus.