26 November 1921|
( 'National Milk Day')
Calicut, (Madras Presidency)
(now Kozhikode, Kerala)
|Died||9 September 2012
Nadiad, Gujarat, India
Founder NDDB and IRMA
|Known for||White revolution in India|
|Awards||World Food Prize (1989)
Order of Agricultural Merit (1997)
Padma Vibhushan (1999)
Padma Bhushan (1966)
Padma Shri (1965)
Ramon Magsaysay Award (1963)
Verghese Kurien (26 November 1921 – 9 September 2012) known as the Father of the White Revolution in India was a social entrepreneur whose "billion-litre idea", Operation Flood - the world's largest agricultural dairy development programme, made India the world's largest milk producer, surpassing the United States of America by 1998, with about 17 percent of global output in 2010–11, from a milk-deficient nation, which doubled milk available per person within 30 years, and which made dairy farming India's largest self-sustaining industry, with benefits of employment, incomes, credit, nutrition, education, heath, gender parity & empowerment, breaking down caste barriers and grassroots democracy and leadership.
He helped establish the Amul cooperative, today India's largest food brand, where three-fourths of the price paid by the consumer goes into the hand of the producing dairy farmer, the cooperative's owner. A key invention at Amul, the production of milk powder from the abundant buffalo-milk, instead of from cow-milk, short in supply in India, enabled it to compete in the market with success. He found the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) in 1965, to replicate Amul's "Anand pattern" nationwide.
He also made India self-sufficient in edible oils, taking on a powerful, entrenched and violently resistant oil supplying lobby. He is regarded as one of the greatest proponents of the cooperative movement in the world, his work having lifted millions out of poverty in India and outside.
Early life and education
He was born on 26 November 1921 at Calicut, Madras Presidency (now Kozhikode, Kerala) into a Syrian Christian family. He did his schooling at Diamond Jubilee Higher Secondary School in Gobichettipalayam while his father worked as a civil surgeon at the government hospital there. He graduated in physics from Loyola College, Madras in 1940 and then got a bachelor's in mechanical engineering from the College of Engineering, Guindy, Madras. After that, he joined the Tata Steel Technical Institute, Jamshedpur from where he graduated in 1946, but soon found himself wanting to get away from the hangers-on and yesmen of his uncle, who was the chief there.
So he applied for a government of India scholarship to the United States and returned with a master's degree in mechanical engineering (metallurgy), (with a minor in nuclear physics) from Michigan State University in 1948.
Later, he would say, "I was sent to ... study dairy engineering (on the only government scholarship left) ... I cheated a bit though, and studied metallurgical and nuclear engineering, disciplines ... likely to be of far greater use to my soon-to-be Independent country and, quite frankly, to me."
He did however train for dairy technology later on, on a government sponsorship to New Zealand, a bastion of cooperative dairying then, when he had to learn to set up the Amul dairy.
In 1949, Kurien was sent by the government of India to its run-down, experimental creamery at Anand, in Gujarat, and began to work rather half-heartedly to serve out his bond period, against the scholarship given by them.. He had already made up his mind to quit mid-way but was persuaded to stay back by Tribhuvandas Patel who had brought farmers together in Kheda under a cooperative union to sell and process their milk. Patel's efforts and the trust placed in him by farmers inspired Kurien to dedicate himself to establishing that cooperative, called Amul.
He and his mentor Tribhuvandas Patel were backed by a few political leaders and bureaucrats who saw merit in their pioneering cooperative model of farmers willing to associate together for their produce and willing to be led by professionals even whilst being owners of the cooperative.Then prime minister, Nehru visited Anand to inaugurate Amul's plant and embraced Kurien for his groundbreaking work. His colleague and dairy engineer H. M. Dalaya had invented the process of making skim milk powder and condensed milk from buffalo milk, instead of from cow milk, thought impossible by dairy experts around the world. In India, buffalo milk was plentiful while, cow milk was in short supply, unlike Europe where it was abundant. This was the reason Amul would compete successfully and well against Nestle, the leading competitor, which used cow milk to make them. Later research by Dr. G. H. Wilster led to cheese production from buffalo milk at Amul. Kurien took on established competitors, viz. Aarey dairy of the Bombay Milk Scheme and Polson Dairy for the Bombay market.
Amul's cooperative dairying venture became a success and in 1965, Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri tasked Kurien to replicate its pattern nationwide. Kurien was mindful of meddling by the political class and bureaucrats sitting in the capital cities, letting it be known upfront. And so, the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) was found under Kurien on his condition that it be set up closer to farmers at Anand. Shastri also took his help to set right the government's mismanaged Delhi Milk Scheme. Later, he prevailed on prime ministers, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi on setting up cooperatives & plants, and managing operations to intervene in fruits & vegetables and oilseeds & edible oils markets during their tenures, respectively, like he had done for milk during Operation Flood. Brands resulting from these - Dhara (Operation Golden Flow for cooking oils), Mother Dairy (Operation Flood) and Safal (for vegetables) are household names today.
He was bold in dealing with donors like the UNICEF for aid, and confronted the New Zealand government and a powerful 'dumping' lobby in countries which wanted to 'convert food aid into trade' as that would have harmed his efforts of setting up dairies using the proceeds from the sale of that aid in the Indian markets.
The Amul dairy's 'Anand pattern' was replicated in Gujarat's districts around Anand and he set all of them under Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd. (GCMMF) in 1973 to sell their combined produce under a single Amul brand.
In 1979, he founded the Institute of Rural Management Anand (IRMA) to groom managers for the cooperatives. He played a key role in setting up similar cooperatives across India and outside. In 1979, Premier Alexei Kosygin invited Kurien to the Soviet Union for advice on the cooperatives there. In 1982, Pakistan invited him to set up dairy cooperatives. Around 1989, China implemented its own Operation-Flood like programme with the help of Kurien and the World Food Programme.
In the 1990s he lobbied and fought hard to keep multinational companies from entering the dairy business even as the country opened up all its other markets to them following globalisation, after decades of protection.
In 1998, he prevailed upon then prime minister Vajpayee to appoint Dr. Amrita Patel his successor at NDDB, who he had groomed under him consciously to keep government bureaucrats away from the post, to protect NDDB's independence from the government. Later, he had differences with her on the direction cooperative dairying was taking in the country.
In Popular culture
Film-maker Shyam Benegal wanted to make Manthan (the churning of the 'milk ocean'), a story based on Amul, but lacked funds. Kurien got his half a million member-farmers to contribute a token two rupees each for the making of the movie. It hit a chord with the audience when it was released in Gujarat in 1976. Truckloads of farmers came to see "their film", making it a success at the box office, impressing distributors to release it before audiences, nationwide. It was critically acclaimed and went on to win national awards the following year and was later shown on television.
The movie's success led Kurien to another idea. Like shown in the film, a vet, a milk technician and a fodder specialist who could explain the value of cross-breeding of milch cattle would tour other parts of the country along with the film's prints, to woo farmers there to create cooperatives of their own. UNDP would use the movie to start similar cooperatives in Latin America. and show it in Africa.
Kurien died after a brief spell of illness aged 90 on 9 September 2012 at Nadiad, near Anand, followed by his wife a few months later in Mumbai. A daughter and a grandson survive them.
Kurien, who spent most of his life in Gujarat never spoke the language of the state despite understanding it, nor was he used to drinking milk.
Awards and honours
|Year||Name of Award or Honor||Awarding Organization|
|1999||Padma Vibhushan||Government of India|
|1997||Order of Agricultural Merit||France Ministère de l'Agriculture|
|1993||International Person of the Year||World Dairy Expo|
|1991||Distinguished Alumni||Michigan State University|
|1989||World Food Prize||World Food Prize Foundation|
|1986||Wateler Peace Prize||Carnegie Foundation|
|1986||Krishi Ratna||Government of India|
|1966||Padma Bhushan||Government of India|
|1965||Padma Shri||Government of India|
|1963||Ramon Magsaysay Award||Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation|
Kurien has also received 15 honorary doctorate degrees from universities in India and around the world. The Institute of Rural Management, Anand, has invited eminent persons to deliver their Dr. Verghese Kurien Memorial Lecture, every year. Michigan State University International Studies and Programs, along with the College of Engineering and the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, dedicated a bust of Kurien that is on display in the International Center lobby.
- "Father of white revolution Verghese Kurien dies". The Times of India. Retrieved 9 September 2012.
- "1989: Dr. Verghese Kurien". (World Food Prize Foundation). Retrieved 13 September 2012.
- "1989 Laureate: Verghese Kurien". World Food Prize Foundation (1989-7m 47s).
- Singh, Katar (1999). Rural Development: Principles, Policies and Management. New Delhi: SAGE. p. 201. ISBN 81-7036-773-5.
- "India largest milk producing nation in 2010–11: NDDB". Hindustan Times. 20 December 2011. Archived from the original on 26 April 2013. Retrieved 9 September 2012.
- Kurien, Verghese (2007). "India' s Milk Revolution: Investing in Rural Producer Organizations". In Narayan, Deepa; Glinskaya, Elena. Ending Poverty in South Asia: Ideas that work. Washington D.C., USA: (The World Bank). p. 52. ISBN 0-8213-6876-1. Retrieved 11 September 2012.
- Pendleton, Andrew; Narayanan, Pradeep. "The white revolution : milk in India" (PDF). Taking liberties: poor people, free trade and trade justice. Christian Aid. p. 35. Retrieved 11 September 2012.
- Candler, Wilfred; Kumar, Nalini (1998). India: The Dairy Revolution : the Impact of Dairy Development in India and the World Bank's Contribution (pp. 47-60). World Bank (Operations Evaluation Department). ISBN 9780821342893.
- Ajwani, Deepak (6 October 2015). "Cow to consumer: Beyond profit for Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation". Forbes India Magazine. Retrieved 2016-08-28.
- "Verghese Kurien". The Economist. 22 September 2012. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved 2016-08-27.
- Damodaran, Harish (13 September 2004). "Amul's tech wizard, Dalaya passes away". The Hindu Business Line. Retrieved 10 September 2012.
- Heredia, Ruth (1997). The Amul India Story. New Delhi: Tata Mc-Graw Hill. pp. 112–115. ISBN 978-0-07-463160-7.
- Aneja, R. P. "Life and times of Verghese Kurien". The Hindu Business Line. Retrieved 11 September 2012.
- "Gujarat: Taking on the oil kings". India Today. 15 January 1982. Retrieved 2016-09-01.
- Jones, Clayton (30 July 1982). "Farming co-ops poised to come of age in the '80s". Christian Science Monitor. ISSN 0882-7729. Retrieved 2016-09-01.
- "Milkman of India gets doodled by Google, know why!". India Today. Retrieved 12 August 2016.
- "Amul brand builder Verghese Kurien: The man who turned India into largest milk producer". Economic Times. Retrieved 26 November 2015.
- "Report on Dr Verghese Kurien in Tehelka". Tehelka. Retrieved 26 November 2015.
- "Kurien visits Erode". Industrial Economist. Retrieved 26 November 2015.
- "Varghese Kurien's bust immortalises his association with Erode district". The Hindu. 26 February 2015.
- "Dr V Kurien". Amul. Retrieved 26 November 2015.
- Bhagat, Rasheeda (2012-09-13). "Doodh ka doodh... Kurien style". BusinessLine. The Hindu. Retrieved 2016-08-29.
- Yardley, William (10 September 2012). "Verghese Kurien, Leader of India's Milk Cooperatives, Dies at 90". The New York Times. Retrieved 26 August 2016.
- "Dr Verghese Kurien – From mechanical engineer to milkman". Retrieved 26 October 2012.
- "The man who revolutionised white". Retrieved 26 October 2012.
- Obla, Vishvesh. "Twenty-Second Convocation of Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, May 23. 2000". Wings of Fire --> Responses. (Forum Hub). Retrieved 11 September 2012.
- Heredia, Ruth (1997). The Amul India Story. New Delhi: Tata Mc-Graw Hill. p. 105. ISBN 978-0-07-463160-7.
- Heredia, Ruth (1997). The Amul India Story. New Delhi: Tata Mc-Graw Hill. p. 65. ISBN 978-0-07-463160-7.
- Misra, Udit (10 September 2012). "V. Kurien: India's White Knight". Forbes India. Retrieved 11 September 2012.
- Heredia, Ruth (1997). The Amul India Story. New Delhi: Tata Mc-Graw Hill. pp. 85–127. ISBN 978-0-07-463160-7.
- Heredia, Ruth (1997). The Amul India Story. New Delhi: Tata Mc-Graw Hill. p. 168. ISBN 978-0-07-463160-7.
- Dasgupta, Manas (9 September 2012). "'Kurien strode like a titan across the bureaucratic barriers and obstacles'". The Hindu. Retrieved 13 September 2012.
- Pandit, Shrinivas (2001). Thought Leaders. New Delhi: Tata Mc-Graw Hill. pp. 147–148. ISBN 978-0-07-049550-0.
- "Civilization Follows the Cow" (PDF). UNICEF. Retrieved 27 August 2016.
- Heredia, Ruth (1997). The Amul India Story. New Delhi: Tata Mc-Graw Hill. pp. 110–117. ISBN 978-0-07-463160-7.
- Heredia, Ruth (1997). The Amul India Story. New Delhi: Tata Mc-Graw Hill. pp. 106–108. ISBN 978-0-07-463160-7.
- Heredia, Ruth (1997). The Amul India Story. New Delhi: Tata Mc-Graw Hill. pp. 210–211. ISBN 978-0-07-463160-7.
- Candler, Wilfred; Kumar, Nalini (1998). India: The Dairy Revolution : the Impact of Dairy Development in India and the World Bank's Contribution (pp. 57-60). World Bank (Operations Evaluation Department). ISBN 9780821342893.
- Pandit, Shrinivas (2007-08-01). The Missionary: Amrita Patel. Tata McGraw-Hill Education. ISBN 9780070656789.
- Katakam, Anupama (7 April 2006). "Controversy: Milkman's exit". Frontline (Volume 23 – Issue 06). Retrieved 11 September 2012.
- Mahurkar, Uday (17 April 2006). "A White Evolution: Verghese Kurien quits Gujarat co-operative, diary body faces politicking risk". India Today. Retrieved 13 September 2012.
- "Amul's Verghese Kurien never suffered fools: Shyam Benegal". The Economic Times. 10 September 2012. Retrieved 11 September 2012.
- Benegal, Shyam (As told to Mugdha Variyar) (2012-09-09). "How a farmers' servant painted the nation white". The Hindustan Times. Retrieved 2016-08-28.
- Rodrigo, Nihal (6 January 2002). "Cinema, Benegal and Reality". The Island (Sri Lanka). Retrieved 2016-08-29.
- Hazra, Indrajit (2012-07-01). "Jest like that: Girl with the Amul tattoo". The Hindustan Times. Retrieved 2016-08-28.
- Sreenivas (1 November 2013). "The Moppet Show". Creative Brands. Retrieved 2016-08-28.
- Ramnath, Nandini (2013-11-30). "Lounge Loves | Amar Chitra Katha". Live Mint. Retrieved 2016-08-29.
- Pandit, Virendra (2013-11-26). "Amar Chitra Katha unveils comics on Kurien; plans on Dhyanchand, KD Jadhav". Retrieved 2016-08-29.
- "Kurien didn't drink milk, he lived it". The Telegraph. 10 September 2012. Retrieved 2016-08-29.
- "Modi had soured relations with the milkman of India". Times of India. 11 September 2012. Retrieved 11 September 2012.
- Thakkar, Mitul; Sally, Madhvi (15 September 2012). "Gujarat Elections 2012: Narendra Modi wastes no time in tapping over 1/3 of Gujarat's 3.5 crore Amul voters". The Economic Times. Retrieved 2016-08-29.
- Damodaran, Harish (2012-09-09). "The man who empowered through milk". Business Line. The Hindu. Retrieved 2016-08-27.
- Kurien, Verghese. "I AM: Verghese Kurien." The Times of India. N.p., 1 Apr. 2006. Web. "When I was young, I had to memorise parts of the Bible and perform rituals. It was perhaps this experience that turned me into an atheist."
- Gandhi, A. K. Verghese Kurien. N.p.: Prabhat Prakashan, n.d. Print. "He was an atheist"
- "Verghese Kurien." The Economist. N.p., 22 Sept. 2012. Web. 28 Oct. 2016. "He was born a Christian, became an atheist..."
- "National Milk Day on Kurien's birth anniversary". The Times of India. 25 November 2014.
- "National Milk day". The Times of India. 26 November 2016.
- "National Milk Day celebrated". The Hans India. 27 November 2015. Retrieved 2016-08-28.
- "Milma to Celebrate National Milk Day". 24 November 2014. Retrieved 2016-08-28.
- "India Celebrates National Milk Day". businesswireindia.com. 24 November 2014. Retrieved 2016-08-28.
- "Verghese Kurien's birth anniv to be held as National Milk Day". www.dailypioneer.com. 25 November 2014. Retrieved 2016-08-28.
- "Padma Awards" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2015. Archived from the original (PDF) on 15 November 2014. Retrieved 21 July 2015.
- "Dr. Verghese Kurien - The World Food Prize". World Food Prize. Retrieved 12 August 2016.
- Indian Dairy Association. "Dr. Verghese Kurien: The Making of a Legend" (PDF). Retrieved 26 October 2012.
- Verghese Kurien. "Dr. Verghese Kurien: Honorary Degrees". Retrieved 3 July 2014.
- IRMA. "Institute of Rural management Anand: Dr. Verghese Kurien Memorial Lecture".
- Virendra Pandit (12 December 2013). "IRMA's Dr. Verghese Kurien memorial lecture on Friday". Business Line. Retrieved 26 November 2015.
- "Large wilful defaulters are freeloaders, not industry captains: Rajan". Business Standard. 26 November 2014.
- "Saving Credit Talk by Dr. Raghuram G. Rajan". RBI. Retrieved 18 November 2015.
- "Taxpayers have to pay for promoters' 'riskless capitalism': Raghuram Rajan". Retrieved 26 November 2015.
- "Arvind Subramanian moots 'Amul model' for pulses". Business Standard. 21 November 2015. Retrieved 25 November 2015.
- Rutam Vora (20 November 2015). "Arvind Subramanian to deliver Kurien memorial lecture at IRMA". Business Line. Retrieved 25 November 2015.
- "Michigan State University honours Verghese Kurien". The Hindu. July 8, 2016. Retrieved September 90, 2016.
The Michigan State University (MSU) in the U.S. has honoured its Indian alumni late Verghese Kurien, called as the father of India’s White Revolution, by installing his bust at its campus.Check date values in:
- Kotler, Neil G. (1990). Sharing Innovation: Global Perspectives on Food, Agriculture, and Rural Development. Int. Rice Res. Inst. ISBN 9789711042219.
- Kachru, Upendra (2011). India, Land of a Billion Entrepreneurs. Pearson Education India. ISBN 9788131758618.
- Kurien, Verghese (2005) I Too Had a Dream. APH Publishing Corp. ISBN 9788174364074
- Kurien, Verghese (1997) An Unfinished Dream. Tata-McGraw-Hill. ISBN 9780074622148
- Kurien, Verghese The Man Who Made The Elephant Dance ISBN 9789382299240
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Verghese Kurien.|
- Official Website of Verghese Kurien
- Official Biography – Amul
- Dr. Verghese Kurien: The Making of a Legend[permanent dead link]
- The Amul Saga by Verghese Kurien