Monday, September 10, 2012

The taste of the nation

SreeNair | 10:17 AM |

Dr Verghese Kurian, the legend and the father of the “White Revolution”, and founder chairman of the National Dairy Development Board, died in the wee hours on Sunday at the Muljibhai Patel Urological Hospital in neighbouring Nadiad near Anand. He was briefly ill and was 92.

Kurian, is known as the architect of “Operation Flood” which heralded a new era for milk cooperatives in the country. He has catapulted the country from a milk-deficit nation in 1970’s to the front running milk harvesters of the world.He made the the milkman a key player in nation building.

President Pranab Mukherjee expressed grief at the demise of Kurian and hailed him as the one who made enormous contribution to the fields of agriculture, rural development and dairy.

Mr.Kuryan has struck the code with the the Ghandhian philosophy that India lives in the villages and glued technology to innovate the nation. The revolution epitomized how the will and insight of a man could transform the lifestyle of the nation. Amul is not just a brand name for India. It is a great icon for the country. The Kurian model, transformed the nation in to the highest Milk producing nation in the world , not only serves something to be emulated by the entrepreneurs and the govt officials ,but is a model to the society and the future generations to come.

He is one of the greatest proponents of Anand model of co-operative movement in the world. He has founded around 30 institutions of excellence (like AMUL,GCMMF,IRMA,NDDB etc). He is the messiah to millions of modest milkmen whom he empowered and disentangled from predatory brokers by founding the Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF).

Known as Amul Kuryan he spent his whole official life to empower the marginal peasants through cooperative endeavours . His professional life was dedicated to empower the Indian farmers through co-operatives. He presented the milky co-operative model to the whole world.

He was known as milkman of India and many a laurels came in his way. He was awarded the PadmaSree in 1965 an PadmaBhushan in 1966.He was bestowed with Padmavibhushan in 1999. Apart from that he was also accorded with Magsasey ,Karnegi Wattler award for world peace.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Vice President Hamid Ansari also expressed their condolences on his death.

Terming him as an icon of Indian co-operative movement and dairy industry, Dr Singh said that in his long and illustrious career, Dr Kurien set up the Anand model of co-operative dairy development and engineered the white revolution.

It was a mass pilgrimage to his residence to condole the bereaved family , from all walks of life in the society. The funeral was thronged by thousands unperturbed with the torrential rain.

Though a born-again atheist but a Syrian Christian from Kerala by birth he lived and died as a Gujarathee. The funeral was conducted in Gujarathee rituals. He was born in Kozhikkode in Malabar in the year 1921 ,a small-town-that-time , and graduated from Layola college in Phisics.He took degree in Mechanical engineering from Madras University.He obtained a scholarship to study diary engineering and underwent a specialised training at the Imperial institute of animal husbandry in Bangalore. He has done his post graduation in Metallurgical engineering from Michigan state University America with dairy engineering as a subsidiary subject. He was bond committed to the government of India which had funded his higher education. He came to Anand in May 1949 to join as a diary Engineer in the government Creamery in Anand. Kuryan reengineered the milk society begun at Anand under the auspices and instigation of Sardar Patel, Morargi Desai and the local peasant leader Thribhuvan Das Patel who was the then Chairman of Kaira District Co-operative Milk producers Union,popularly known as Amul. This experiment has lead to the formation of the National Diary Development Board ,The Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Society and similar enterprises in North India. His achievements with the GCMMF led Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri to appoint him founder-chairman of the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) in 1965, to replicate the successes on a nationwide scale. A few years later, the NDDB under Kurian launched Operation Flood (or the White Revolution)—the largest dairy development program in the world. Operation Flood helped India become the world's largest milk producer. In 2010–11, India's contributed close to 17 percent of the global production.

Mr.Kuryan transformed the two milk societies which started with collecting 247 litres of Milk in to a world class enterprises. It was miraculous. Amul became the most prominent brand name in India. Kurian converted his ‘billion litre’ dream of making India self-reliant in milk and dairy produce to a tangible reality. Seventy-two thousand milk cooperatives were formed ,making Amul the house hold name in the process. Despite a splurge of criticisms like ‘faulty lactometers’ and ‘white lie’, the magic of Manthan endured. Today Amul has a turnover of 10000 crores. 3.2 million of Milk producers in 16100 villages in the 15 districts of Gujarath are its members.The countrys milk production has shot up from a mere 20 million metric (MMT)tonnes per annum in 1960 to a whopping 122MMT last year.

Kurian was mentioned by the Ashoka Foundation as one of the eminent present Day Social Entrepreneurs. Kurian's life story is chronicled in his memoir ‘I Too Had a dream’ in line with Martin Luther King. The dream was to uplift the rural life. Kuryan won the fight. It was the climax of an enduring fight,a crusade to emancipate the rural India from poverty and destitution and from the exploitation of milk monopoly like Polson Diary.

.Mandhan the famous celluloid creation from Benagal was the story of the triumph of peasants who contributed Rs.2 each for the creation of the co-operative society.

The Kurian story re-establishes the fact that sincere efforts coupled with modernisation can win the battle of the market. The full hearted devotion with incorrupt means only can uplift the rural India.

Mr.Kurian's 90th birthday was celebrated in a big way at his residence in Anand by the GCMMF on November 26, last year.

He is survived by his wife, one daughter Nirmala Kurian and a grandson, Siddharth. .He was cremated at ‘Kailash Bhumi,’ Anand’s ultra-modern crematorium.

He was truly the taste of India.


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