|It is because of Dr. Verghese Kurien, that we readily find milk at any corner in India. Dr. Kurien changed a regular Indian village of Gujarat into the milk-producing capital of the country. We must thank Dr. Kurien for believing in the mission and making our lives better.|
Photo Credit – DairyNewsIndia
Father of White Revolution
Dr. Kurien was called as the milkman of India. He is also known as ‘Father of White Revolution’. After his return from the US in the year 1949, he was deputed at Anand, in Gujarat by Government of India, he was supposed to take the job and work for five years as an officer of Dairy division. Dr. Kurien never had any interest in dairy, but he had no choice and need to work to get a scholarship. He had to serve out a bond period as stipulated in his Fellowship grant.
Dr.Kurien was born on November 26, 1921, in Kozhikode, Kerala. He graduated in Physics from the Loyola College in Madras in the year 1940. He also did B.E. in Mechanical Engineering from Madras University. He went to the USA to do his masters in Mechanical Engineering on government scholarship from the Michigan State University. He also underwent training in special studies of Engineering and specialized training in dairy engineering at the National Dairy Research Institute Bangalore.
|Dr.Kurien was not happy with the job, so he was willing to quit, but Tribhuvandas Patel, the founder of the Kaira District Co-operative Milk Producers’ Union, convinced him to stay and showed him the vision of White Revolution. Dr. Kurien single-handedly spearheaded the White Revolution in India in next few years.|
Willing to resign his job at Dairy
On his return from the U.S in the year 1949, he was sent to creamery at Anand, in Gujarat as an officer of the Dairy division. He never had any interest in the dairy and was willing to resign the job. He only performed his duties by keeping in mind the scholarship given by the government. He wanted to pursue Metallurgy and not Dairy Engineering which was his main interest.
While working at the dairy, where he was unconcerned in the dairy work and was doing the work as a duty without having any interest. But he had observed how the rich and cunning businessmen exploit the milkmen and the farmers. He was greatly inspired by Tribhuvandas Patel, a gentleman working to unite the farmers and the milk distributors and to form a cooperative movement. He was fighting against the exploitation of milkmen & farmers. Dr.Kurien supported the Tribhuvandas Patel and decided to join him in helping the milkmen & farmers.
|Most of the branding executives wanted the dairy to have some foreign and funky name for the new Dairy. But Dr. Kurien being a strong nationalist gave the dairy an Indian name ‘AMUL’, which became worldwide later.|
When Dr.Kurien successfully set up cooperative dairy and gave it a name ‘Amul dairy’, which has become famous and played a very vital role in the White Revolution, which was started by Dr.Kurien. It helped in making India one of the largest producers of the milk from the milk-deficient nation.
The purpose of the Amul dairy was to pass the milk from the producers to the cooperative unit to the factory and then directly to the Wholesalers without having the middleman who earned money by raising the milk prices and lowering the profit of the milk producers. It helped the milk farmers immensely.
While working in the dairy, Dr.Kurien used to take the help of different people who were experts in the activities relating to dairy. With the help of his friend H.M.Dalaya, who was expert in dairy, Dr.Kurien invented a method of making the milk powder and condensing it using buffalo milk. He then tried the same with cow’s milk and he got better results. It was for the first time, it revolutionized the Indian dairy industry completely. It was for the first time such an item was produced from the cow’s milk and which was exceptional.
It gave a boost to the dairy industry. It helped in making use of the unlimited milk, which produced on daily basis.
|The process of making the milk powder by using cow milk was very useful and that made the Amul dairy very successful. The newly invented models of milk products were tried and tested in the neighboring dairies of Gujarat.|
Milkman of India
Dr. Kurien was often called as ‘Milkman of India’, who kept working on various projects and helped the milkmen, farmers and the people in getting high-quality milk products. His work in Amul was so groundbreaking that the then Prime Minister, Lal Bahadur Shastri created the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) in 1965 to expand the cooperative program to all corners of the country. Dr. Kurien was named Chairman of the organization.
Dr. Kurien never stopped his work on the development of milk processing units and also set up the cooperative body – the Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd. (GCMMF) in the year 1973.
He also found Institute of Rural Management, Anand (IRMA) which worked in the rural areas with only one philosophy that only the professional management can only help in rural developments. He successfully set up 30 institutions of excellence (like AMUL, GCMMF, IRMA, NDDB) which are owned, controlled by farmers and run by professionals.
|Film Director, Shyam Benegal was unable to release the movie due to the shortage of budget. Dr. Kurien appealed to more than 20 million dairy farmers to contribute just 2 rupees per head. The budget was full and Shyam Benegal went on to win several National Awards for the movie ’Manthan’.|
Crowdfunding for the movie Manthan
The famous director Shyam Bengal who made a film “Manthan” on the lives of milk distributors, farmers and the milk cooperative movement. The film was all about the struggle of the farmers and their exploitation in the hands of rich businessmen. The film also depicted the cooperative movement, rural development and the professional dairy management techniques. Dr. Kurian’s idea of crowdfunding helped the movie in releasing and getting all attention.
Rewards and Awards
Dr. Kurien received many awards, including the World Food Prize (1989), Order of Agricultural Merit (1997), Padma Vibhushan (1999), Padma Bhushan (1966), Padma Shri (1965) Ramon Magsaysay Award (1963) and also an honorary degree, offered to him for his invaluable contribution to the dairy industry by Michigan State University, USA.
|Operation Flood transformed India from a milk-deficient nation into the world’s largest milk producer, surpassing the USA in 1998, with about 17 percent of global output in 2010–11.|
The program Operation Flood was launched in 1970 by Dr. Kurian. It was a project of India’s National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), which was the world’s biggest dairy development program.
Operation Flood was launched to help farmers direct their own development, placing control of the resources they create in their own hands. All this was achieved not merely by mass production, but by production by the masses. Operation Flood culminated with around 72,000 villages in India producing milk! This brought India to the forefront in dairy production all over the world.
Dr. Kurian’s passionate speech at a conference in Rome led to many European countries donating milk to kick-off Operation Flood. He sold this milk in the metropolis to raise money for the establishment of milk corporations across the country.
Operation Flood culminated with around 72,000 villages in India producing milk, which brought India to the forefront in dairy production all over the world.
During the fellowship, the interviewer asked Verghese Kurien-
“What do you know about pasteurization?”,
“Something to do with milk?”, Kurien answered.
At that moment young Verghese Kurien did not know that milk will be going to change his life.