Anand, September 09, 2012

Dr. Verghese Kurien, the Father of the White Revolution, passed away in the early hours of today, after a brief illness. He was 91 years old. He is survived by his wife, Molly Kurien, daughter Nirmala and grandson, Siddharth.

Dr. Kurien, was the architect of India';s White Revolution, which helped India emerge as the largest milk producer in the world. Founder Chairman of the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) from 1965 to 1998, the Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd. (GCMMF), from 1973 to 2006 and the Institute of Rural Management (IRMA) from 1979 to 2006, his professional life has been dedicated to empowering the Indian farmers through co-operatives. Dr. Kurien has helped to lay the foundation of democratic enterprises at the grass roots. He believed that by placing technology and professional management in the hands of the farmers, the standard of living of millions of our poor people can be improved.

The cooperative movement, he helped to create became a model not only for India, but for developing countries throughout the world. The Operation Flood Programme, of which Milk Producers'; Cooperatives were the central plank, emerged as India';s largest rural employment programme and unleashed the larger dimension of dairy development. Dr. Kurien was the undisputed 'Milkman'; of India. Born on November 26, 1921 at Kozhikode, Kerala, he graduated in Science from the Loyola College in 1940 and obtained hisdegree in Engineering from the Guindy College of Engineering in Chennai. After a stint at TISCO, Jamshedpur, he obtained the Govt. of India';s scholarship to study Dairy Engineering. After some specialized training at the Imperial Institute of Animal Husbandry & Dairying, Bangalore, he left for the United States where he completed his Masters degree in Mechanical Engineering with Dairy Engineering as a minor subject from the Michigan State University in 1948.

Upon his return to India, Dr. Kurien was assigned to a Government Creamery located at Anand in Gujarat to serve his bond period. He arrived in Anand on Friday, the 13th May 1949. His only intention at that time was to obtain a release from his bond and get out of Anand as quickly as possible. At the end of 1949, when he got release orders from his job from the Government Creamery, he was all set and eager to pack off to Mumbai. Shri Tribhuvandas Patel, the then Chairman of Kaira District Co-operative Milk Producers Union (popularly known as Amul), with whom Kurien had developed a friendship requested him to stay on in Anand for some more time and help him put his co-operative society';s dairy equipment together. Kurien decided to stay back for a few more days and stayed there forever.

His forced tenure at Anand changed the destiny of Indian Dairy industry. He started helping the fledgling dairy co-operative. The rest is history.

The first Dairy Co-operative Union in Gujarat was formed in 1946 with 2 Village Dairy Co-operative societies as its members. The number of member societies has now increased to 16,100, with 3.2 million members pouring milk every day- twice a day. Today, the Billion Dollar GCMMF has emerged as the India';s largest integrated dairy products manufacturing and marketing organization. NDDB, formed by the efforts of Dr. Kurien ensured replication of Amul Model across India. Thereby, it played an instrumental role in increasing the milk production of India significantly. India';s milk procurement has increased from 20 million metric tonnes per year in the 60s to 122 million metric tonnes in 2011.

His work has received tremendous national and international recognition. The Govt. of India conferred on him the "Padma Vibhushan", the second highest honour in the land next only to Bharat Ratna. He is also the recipient of the World Food Price, the Ramon Magsaysay award for Community Leadership, the Carnegie - Wateler World Peace Prize and the International Person of the Year award from the U.S.

Dr. Kurien';s main contribution has been in designing of systems and institutions, which enable people to develop themselves, as he believed the development of man can best be achieved by putting in his hands the instruments of development. He believed that the greatest assets of this country, were its people and he dedicated his life to the task of harnessing the power of the people in a manner which promoted their larger interests.

Tribute by GCMMF Chairman:
Paying respectful homage to Dr V Kurien, Shri Vipul Chaudhary,Chairman,GCMMF said " Dr. Kurien was the Father of the White Revolution. Dr Kurien guided the dairy co operative movement in India and brought social and economic development in the lives of milk producers of the country. Dr Kurien was always an advisor and mentor of milk producers. Due to the efforts of the farmers of Kaira district and Gujarat, Amul brand has emerged as the undisputed force to reckon with. Dr Kurien always dreamt that "Amul" brand should be associated with all milk producers'; across India. He also wanted that Amul brand in real sense should become the "Taste of India" when it is associated with all India milk producers. We are committed to fulfilling his dream. This will be the real tribute to Dr Kurien.".