Dr. Nagappan Parasuraman is a scientist with a great passion

S. Vishnu Sharma, INN/Chennai, @svs037


Dr. Nagappan Parasuraman is a scientist who has reached great heights in life. There is a popular saying, ‘great journey begins with a simple step from home in a very humble manner.’ Truly said, beginnings are always humble, and, so it was with Dr. Nagappan Parasuraman.

He is a decorated Principal Scientist in Sustainable Development, Dr. Nagappan Parasuraman has been serving at the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation, Chennai since 1989.

Some are fortunate enough to have everything prepared for them. But it was not the case for Dr. Nagappan Parasuraman. His family struggled to find money even for a full square meal a day. Due to pre-existing financial difficulties, Dr. Nagappan Parasuraman’s family couldn’t handle the financial burden of his education.

People with a vision and a strong desire are the ones who wouldn’t give up. That inspires them to reach the pinnacles of glory, things did stand no different for this eminent scientist. With an undying determination and passion for education as a fundamental trait from an early age, he moved to Kanchipuram and lived with his sister to finish his elementary schooling until Grade 10.

He was the youngest in the family, and, he decided that he has to be the adult in the family. Soon at the tender age of 15, he took up a job to shoulder his family and take care of his family and siblings. He lives his life believing ‘Poverty is no excuse for failing in life. If You Are Born Poor It’s Not Your Mistake, But If You Die Poor, it’s Your Fault.’

Struggling to study further due to financial stress, Dr. Parasuraman at an early age took up the job of a Lab Assistant at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, and worked there from 1986 – 1989. Encircled by dedicated students, and faculty and diligently absorbed in the learning environment, Dr. Parasuraman wanted to explore his real passion – Teaching. Dr. Nagappan Parasuraman knew then he wanted to teach, guide, and most of all, want to make a difference.

Dr. Nagappan ParasuramanTeaching and Education
Dr. Nagappan Parasuraman started The Ambedkar Free Night School in 1987 for underprivileged children in Velachery (suburban Chennai), at the mere age of 20.

Realizing child labor was a major social problem plaguing their future, 95% of the downtrodden and street children of the locality were brought under the fold of education and removed from the shackles of child labor and poverty.

Subsequently, he also opened a night school in Kottivakkam for children of the fishermen community and Thandalam of Kanchipuram District. Close to 125 children directly benefit from the night school.

Finding his mentor
Dr. Parasuraman found a true mentor and guide in Padma Vibhushan Dr. M.S. Swaminathan. He not just won his mentor’s trust but worked hard to maintain his relationship, gain wisdom and share knowledge with his mentor.

Dr. Parasuraman found a true mentor and guide in Padma Vibhushan Dr. M.S. Swaminathan. He not just won his mentor’s trust but worked hard to maintain his relationship, gain wisdom and share knowledge with his mentor.

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He joined the M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation in 1989, serving as the Secretary to Professor M.S. Swaminathan, thereby assisting and coordinating all the affairs and activities of the Foundation. With all the information and insights he learned from his mentor, he has dedicated himself to the development of the Foundation from the time he joined the organization.

Dr. Nagappan ParasuramanSustainable Future
Dr. Parasuraman has worked tirelessly to ensure that the field of sustainable development meets the highest standards. Dr. Nagappan Parasuraman is a strong advocate for the use of renewable resources and has been instrumental in the development of many sustainable development projects. He is an authority on the subject, he has also authored several papers and books on the topic.

Youth to Agriculture
Noticing clear signs of people migrating out of agriculture, especially in the form of rural youth, Dr. Parasuraman has conducted various workshops to train the youth on making agriculture a technologically attractive option.

He aims to attract and retain educated youth in farming by making it intellectually stimulating and economically rewarding. Dr. Parasuraman has been a part of the Indian Youth Science Congress since 2003, which saw 1500 youth research scholars below the age of 35 from various fields, participate and contribute towards bringing youth into agriculture.

Dr. Nagappan ParasuramanAwards and recognitions
Great work never goes unrecognized and it is no different for Dr. Nagappan Parasuraman. He won the International Scientist of the Year Award in Chicago in the USA in 2017. The scientist won World Youth Prize at World Youth Conference in 2016.

These were just a few among the many Dr. Nagappan Parasuraman has won. The awards are motivations, he says. ‘They also remind us that great work has to continue. The intention is to continue the good work in the years to come.’



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