Mothers’ Day in the Context of the Origin of Agriculture: Prof M S Swaminathan
May 09, 2016: Mothers’ Day is intended to honour the mother of the family, as well as motherhood, maternal bonds, and the influence of mothers in society. This day was observed in our country on Sunday 8th May 2016. Mothers’ day celebration usually takes the form of admiring, appreciating and recalling the many contributions of women and mothers to the evolution of healthy and happy families and societies. The role of women in the origin and growth of agriculture gets seldom mentioned and appreciated. It was women who domesticated plants several thousand years ago and thereby initiated settled cultivation or agriculture. For example, in a temple at Along in Arunachal Pradesh, there is a portrait of a woman whom the local people consider as one who introduced rice into cultivation. When men went out for hunting, and thereby served as food gatherers, women started collecting seeds and cultivating crops. They also conserved agro-biodiversity.This role of women as the mother of agriculture does not get the recognition it deserves. Fortunately the Food Security Act of India 2013, has recognised the eldest women in the family as the one who will collect the food entitlements thereby recognising the critical role of women in household food security. Hence on the Mothers’ Day we should not only celebrate the role of women as wives and mothers recall that mothers have also served as the initiators of crop cultivation and animal husbandry and thereby ensured food for all and forever.
M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) established in 1988 is a not-for-profit trust. MSSRF was envisioned and founded by Professor M S Swaminathan, agriculture scientist with proceeds from the First World Food Prize that he received in 1987.