Verghese Kurien was born in Calicut to Christian family. He is known to bring the white revolution in India and was a visionary. He attended Loyola College and later completed his mechanical engineering from the US and then came to India and was disappointed to see the monopoly of milk production. Then he decided to dedicate his energy and efforts for the betterment of dairy farmers.
He believed that the change can only be brought if the control of democratic enterprises was in the hands of farmers. He launched the Operation flood in 1970 and such was the impact of this that it ended in making India self-sufficient with respect to dairy production. He wasn’t initially interested in dairy products but such was the tryst of destiny that he eventually led one of the greatest changes in the history of India.
Tribhuvandas Patel had a major role in getting Verghese known to the dairy equipment. After seeing the condition of dairy in India, he made his mind to quit his government job and leave Anand where he was to serve his bond period for his master’s degree. On the persuasion of Tribhuvandas, he agreed to help him set his dairy. The experimentation carried out by Verghese ultimately ended in converting milk surplus into milk powder and establishment of India’s first ever milk powder plant in 1955.
Due to his endless efforts and great passion for making the life of farmers better, he got the title of The Milkman of India. Verghese lend his support to the KDCMPUL which later came to be known as Amul and had a pivotal role to play in the white revolution. Verghese’s contribution to Amul was such that the then prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri created NDDB (National Dairy Development Board) in 1965 to make the cooperative program applicable throughout the entire country. Other than setting major cooperatives throughout the country, he was also actively involved in the consolidation of these industries. He also had exchanges with the ministers and played a pivotal role in the demand and supply of the various dairy items like butter. He always made sure that these items were always available to the common people.
Awards of Verghese Kurien
Dr. Verghese Kurien had a charming persona and an enduring spirit. His ability to turn impossible into possible won him many awards and accolades such as Ramon Magsaysay Award in 1963. He was also honored with the Padma Shri in 1965 and Padma Bhushan in 1966.
Dr. Kurien dedicated his life towards the development and well-being of others and had brought great impact on the life of farmers by converting a milk-deficient country into a milk surplus one. He was awarded Krishi Ratna Award, World Food Prize and Padma Vibhushan in 1986, 1989 and 1999 respectively.
He was recognized around the globe and was awarded an honorary degree by the Michigan State University for his commendable work. His work in the dairy industry is unparalleled and for this, his birthday 26th of November is celebrated as National Milk Day.
“True development is not the development of land, or of cows; it is the development of men and women.”
These are the words of the great man Dr. Verghese Kurien who believed in the power of education and that great changes come from within and it is the grass root level which needs to be addressed, the rest falls into place itself.
He left for his heavenly abode on 9th September 2012. He will always be a source of inspiration for entrepreneurs who want to contribute to the development of our society.
Written By: Milan Bhardwaj
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