Padma Vibhushan Dr Verghese Kurien, ‘Father of White Revolution in India’, left for his heavenly abode on 9th September 2012 at the age of 90. Dr Kurien born at Kozhikode in Kerala on 26th November 1921, completed the Bachelor degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1943 from Madras University. He joined at Tata Iron & Steel Co. where he served for a brief period. He resigned the job in 1946 to undergo a formal training in Dairying at the Imperial Institute of Animal Husbandry & Dairying at Bangalore ( the present SRS of NDRI) as the official requirement to pursue M.Tech in Dairy Engineering at the Michigan State University, under the Government of India scholarship. But, Dr Kurien had to do M.Tech in Metallurgy with Dairy Engineering as minor subject.
He returned to India and joined as Dairy Engineer at Government Research Creamery at Anand in 1949. There, he came across with a Gandhian, Shri Tribhuvandas Patel, fighting for the cause of dairy farmers by creating dairy co-operatives at Anand. Dr Kurien was attracted by the cause fought by Shri Patel and finally decided to join him leaving the assured Government job. This made huge difference. Anand, a small town in Gujarat, was transformed in to ‘milk bowl’ of India. Dr Kurien was instrumental in developing the ‘Amul’ brand for marketing of the milk & milk products of Khaira Milk Union and the ‘trade mark’ being registered.
Kurien’s Model of Co-operative capitalism permeated into the lives of millions of dairy farmers to get empowered. The huge success of the model got growing appreciation and culminated in creation of the National Dairy Development Board in 1965 with Dr Kurien as its founder Chairman. The then Prime Minister, Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri asked Dr Kurien to replicate the Anand Model throughout the country. Dr Kurien started the ‘Operation Flood Programme’, which ushered ‘White Revolution’ in India. Dr Kurien did not pay heed to the opposition that buffalo milk cannot be processed, but made all efforts to standardise the technology for processing of buffalo milk getting it the much deserved international recognition.
For promoting the continuance of the revolution, Dr Kurien later created many institutions like National Co-operative Dairy Federation of India, Institute for Rural Management, Anand, Indian Dairy Machinery Cooperation, and many other cooperative institutes. Dr Kurien, over years, revolutionized the production, procurement and marketing of milk and other farm produce in India through co-operative institutional set up and India could achieve the coveted position as number one milk producer in the world.
Dr Kurien was a staunch nationalist and had ambitious vision for India. He was a brave dairyman and spared none in protecting the interests of poor dairy farmers. Dr Kurien was crowned with several national and international awards, recognitions and laurels for all the yeomen services rendered by him. ICAR remembers Dr Kurien with great respect and reverence. In the death of Dr Kurien, India has lost a True Dairyman, a Visionary and a great institutional builder.