Milk Man of India

Milk Man of India - How well do we know him? Lesser known facts about Dr. Verghese Kurien

The feeling of spreading Amul butter on toast while having a hot cup of tea, made using Amul milk, is a joy in itself. Some call it a sacred morning ritual. Thanks to the Milkman of India, Dr. Verghese Kurien, we're able to enjoy these little tasty moments of joy that generations of people have and will cherish.

Kurien once said, "In every crisis, if you look carefully, you will spot an opportunity. My insistence is on finding and seizing that opportunity. I never try to side-step a crisis. Rather, the more monstrous the crises, the more I am tempted to rush at it, grasp it by the horns and man-oeuvre it until it gives me what I want." It's with this mindset that he was able to collectively make India a thriving country with the highest amount of milk production. In addition, he saved millions of farmers from extreme poverty by giving them a profitable livelihood they could bank on.

That said, there are few other life facts about Dr. Verghese Kurien we bet you'd be interested to read.

Kurien comes from the Kozhikode district in Kerala, where he did his early schooling in Diamond Jubilee Higher Secondary School, located in Gobichettipalayam. He went on to do his Bachelors in Mechanical Engineering from the College of Engineering.

During his time at the Tata Steel Technical Institute, he got an opportunity to pursue his Masters abroad through a Fellowship granted by the Indian Government. While he wanted to study Metallurgy, he was given a grant to do Dairy Engineering. The university he was enrolled in to do his Masters, Michigan State University, however, did not have a course in Dairy Engineering. Therefore, he decided to pursue his Masters in Metallurgy and Physics.

After which, he had to serve a bond period as part of his Fellowship in Gujarat's Kheda district. He apparently disliked the work, but did it for the sake of it. That's when he came about meeting the founder of Kaira District Co-operative Milk Producers' Union, Tribhuvandas Patel, who showed him his vision for farmers. This cooperation led to the White Revolution and the creation of India's prominent dairy brand, Amul.

Kurien was given the title ‘The Milkman of India' because he created milk powder using buffalo milk when the world was still using milk. For his contribution to the dairy industry in India, he was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award, Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan, and Padma Vibhushan.

The 1976 Hindi movie, Manthan, directed by Shyam Benegal, was based on the co-operative movement spearheaded Dr. Varghese Kurien and is set during the White Revolution in India. Kurien, along with Vijay Tendulkar, had penned down the script for the movie. 500,000 farmers donated INR 2 each to fund this movie so that people know what went down in the making of Amul. Mathan became known as India's first crowdfunded movie. Having won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi, National Film Award for Best Screenplay in 1977, and the Filmfare Award for Best Female Playback Singer, this movie was India's submission for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in the year 1976.

All successes later, Kurien finally decided to pen it all down in his book titled ‘I Too Had A Dream' which tells the story of how India became the Milk Capital in the world. If you ever want to know the entire history of how Amul came into existence, you know what to read.

Dr. Verghese Kurien is an inspiration to many. From single-handedly finding solutions to better India's dairy industry to saving the lives of million farmers, Kurien deserves a lot more than our praise. Thanks to him, India is the world's largest producer of milk and it all began because he decided to make it happen.