Chennai: Agriculture expert and former Rajya Sabha member M S Swaminathan on Wednesday paid homage to late Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) chief M. Karunanidhi and said that he had great respect for scientists.
In a series of posts on Twitter, Swaminathan hailed Karunanidhi and recalled some of his "outstanding" contributions to the society.
"Dr M Karunanidhi was a scientists' scientist. Among his numerous contributions to Tamil Nadu's development are outstanding universities like Anna University as well as the State Biotechnology Council and gender-sensitive institutions like the Women's Biotechnology Park," Swaminathan tweeted.
"Karunanidhi was also keen to see Tamil Nadu progress from food security to nutrition security. Long before India's Food Security Act was introduced, he launched in the 1990s a 'Hunger-free area programme' in order to fulfil the dream of Mahakavi Subramania Bharathiyar," he added.
The five-time Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu "married science with Tamil literature," Swaminathan said.
"At the World Tamil conference in 2010, Dr Karunanidhi announced the setting up of genetic heritage gardens based on Sangam literature in five zones representing kurinji, mullai, neithal, palai and marutham. The aim of the genetic heritage gardens was to create awareness about the invaluable contributions of Tamil scholars towards achieving food security and health security, whereby the unique plants and animal breeds of these five regions could be conserved for future generations," Swaminathan wrote.
He went on to add that Karunanidhi had "great respect for scientists". Swaminathan later recalled how he had approached Karunanidhi for seeking land in Taramani, Chennai for "establishing a scientific institution."
"He said it is he who should be inviting me to establish the institution. MSSRF was granted the land where it now stands," he added.
Swaminathan concluded his marks saying, "A great Tamil scholar and an ardent advocate of science for Sustainable Development, Dr Karunanidhi stands tall among political leaders who have promoted science for public good."
Karunanidhi breathed his last on Tuesday at Chennai's Kauvery Hospital. He will be buried at Chennai's Marina Beach.