Verghese Kurien is the co-founder of Amul, India’s largest milk company.
He ran Operation Flood in India.
Verghese Kurien is popularly called as the Milk man of India and father of white revolution.
Because of his efforts India became the world’s largest milk producing nation.
Verghese Kurien was born on 26 November 1921 in Kozhikode, state of Kerala, in India.
He was a very bright student, excelling in studies since his childhood.
Verghese Kurien graduated in Mechanical engineering from College of Engineering, Guindy and initially worked in TISCO (Tata Steel).
Initially, he was not at all interested in dairy farming.
But all of this changed when he received a scholarship for dairy engineering by the Government of India.
Verghese Kurien joined Imperial Institute of Animal Husbandry and Dairying in Bangalore, Karnataka.
He studied here for about nine months and later the Government decided to send him to Michigan State University in the USA for special training.
Later, Verghese Kurien graduated with a Master of Science from Michigan State University.
Realising his passion-
During his masters, Verghese Kurien developed a passion for dairy technology.
He also visited New Zealand and Australia to learn more about dairy farming.
Verghese Kurien received many job offers from foreign companies but he wanted to contribute his services to his motherland so he returned to India and joined Anand in Gujarat as a dairy engineer.
During those times, the monopoly of private dairy companies was very high and the farmers were not properly compensated for their hard work.
Unfortunately, Verghese Kurien was not assigned any serious work in Anand due to which he felt very guilty for withdrawing his salary without contributing anything to his company.
Friendship which changed his life-
So, Verghese Kurien decided to resign his job but he was stopped by Tribhuvan Das, the founder of Kheda district co-operative milk Union.
Tribhuvan Das Patel motivated him by saying that he is the right person because of his intelligence and expertise to carry forward the movement raised by farmers.
Tribhuvan Das Patel later associated himself with Verghese Kurien and both of them tirelessly began to work for farmers.
Verghese Kurien used to manage the production and innovation process in Amul whereas Tribhuvan Das Patel used to garner the political support which helped Amul immensely.
This changed the mind-set of Verghese Kurien and was even more determined to help the poor dairy farmers.
He exhaustively researched the procurement, storage, transportation of milk and feed of the cattle.
Verghese Kurien noticed that in between the months of December and March, the milk production was very high but unfortunately, during the same period the demand for milk was not that great.
By this, the farmers were incurring heavy losses.
So, Verghese Kurien decided to turn the milk into milk powder as milk powder has greater shelf-life than milk and it can be sold during high demand periods.
But India is a buffalo dominant country and technology of producing milk powder was limited only to cow’s milk.
Verghese Kurien once requested a dairy firm of Switzerland to help Amul with the technology to manufacture condensed milk.
But the firm stiffly refused and said that you natives (Indians) are not capable of handling the technology.
Then, Verghese Kurien refused inquiring about their technology and developed Amul’s own condensed milk formula, which is now popularly known as – Mithai Mate.
Creating a world record-
Verghese Kurien decided to develop a new technology to derive milk powder from buffalo’s milk.
The other milk companies, dairy experts and the world thought that it was an impossible task to achieve.
But Verghese Kurien and his friend HM Dalaya, who was his batchmate in America proved the world wrong and created a new world record by extracting milk powder from buffalo’s milk for the first time in the world.
Taking care of his employees-
Verghese Kurien proved his worth as an efficient manager in Amul.
One day, Verghese Kurien came to the office unheralded and he noticed that one of his senior employees was drinking milk out of a milk can.
When the employee noticed him, he became very anxious and told that he was not drinking the milk but was examining the milk.
Verghese Kurien didn’t utter a single word, but made orders that from the next day on wards; each and every employee must be given half a liter of milk daily.
Spreading the success formula-
Amul was so successful that Lal Bahadur Shastri, then Prime Minister of India, in 1964 requested Verghese Kurien to replicate the Amul model all over the country.
This led to the formation of National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) at Anand, Gujarat where Verghese Kurien operated a movement by name Operation Flood, its main aim is to produce surplus quantities of milk.
This was the world’s largest dairy development operation.
Now, Amul has the largest milk powder manufacturing plant in Asia.
Amul is labelled as the taste of India.
Amul is a very well-established brand all thanks to the efforts of Verghese Kurien, the employees of Amul and the dairy farmers.
Awards and Recognitions-
- Verghese Kurien was awarded for his contributions to the dairy field; he received many awards some of which include Ramon Magsaysay, Padma Shri, Padma Vibushan, Padma Bushan, Krishi Ratna.
- He was chosen as the International person of the year by World Dairy Expo in the year 1993.
- National milk day is celebrated on 26th November, the date on which Verghese Kurien was born.
An interesting fact-
An interesting fact is that Verghese Kurien, the father of white revolution, never drank milk because he did not like the taste of milk.
Now Amul might seem to be a very successful company, but it has all been possible due to the hard work of Verghese Kurien and dairy farmers and the trust they had on each other.
So, the Amul is a co-operative instead of a typical company, where its shareholders, the farmers toil hard to make their company successful.
Verghese Kurien has empowered the lives of poor farmers and helped to build a reputable brand which is now employing millions of people and brought economic independence to countless farmers.
He wrote his life story in a book, I too had a dream.
Verghese Kurien lived for 90 long years and sadly, he passed away on 9 September 2012.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How Verghese Kurien started Amul?
In 1949, the government of India appointed Verghese Kurien to work at an experimental creamery at Anand.
But there wasn’t much work for him and so, Verghese Kurien decided to resign for his job.
But Tribhuvandas Kishibhai Patel persuaded him not to do so and Verghese Kurien honoured his request.
Later, both of them started Kaira District Cooperative Milk Producers’ Union Limited (KDCMPUL), popularly known as Amul Dairy in Anand, Gujarat.
What did Verghese Kurien do?
Verghese Kurien did many appreciable things like-
• Founded Amul. He along with Tribhuvandas Patel founded Amul which eventually became the largest dairy cooperative society in india.
• Spurred White Revolution. Verghese Kurien spurred White Revolution in India. Thanks to this, India went on to become the world’s largest milk producer from being a milk-deficient nation.
• Provided employment for masses. The White Revolution created many jobs in rural India and helped dairy farming to become India’s largest self-sustaining industry.
• Made the country self-sufficient. Verghese Kurien helped India to become self-sufficient in edible oils.
• Founded IRMA. In 1979, Verghese Kurien founded the Institute of Rural Management Anand (IRMA). IRMA is a premier business school located in Anand and contributes to the professional management of rural organisations by creating rural managers.
• Replicated success. Verghese Kurien helped to set up many cooperatives across India and abroad in countries like China, Sri Lanka, etc.
Who is known as the father of White Revolution?
Verghese Kurien is popularly known as the Father of the White Revolution in India.
He is also known as the milkman of India.
How many awards Verghese Kurien received in his life?
Verghese Kurien received countless awards in his life and some of them are as follows-
• Padma Vibhushan.
• Order of Agricultural Merit.
• International Person of the Year.
• World Food Prize.
• Wateler Peace Prize.
• Krishi Ratna.
• Padma Bhushan.
• Padma Shri.
• Ramon Magsaysay Award.
• Red & White Lifetime Achievements National Award (Godfrey Phillips Bravery Awards).
• Dr. Paulos Mar Gregorios Award, etc.
Who celebrates National Milk Day in India?
Since 2014, the Indian Dairy Association along with the dairy groups in India has celebrated National Milk Day on 26 November.
Who gave Verghese Kurien the title of Milkman of India?
Verghese Kurien was given the title of Milkman of India by the people of India.
What was Verghese Kurien’s first job?
The first job of Verghese Kurien was in Tata Iron and Steel Company (TISCO).
In 1944, he joined TISCO as a graduate apprentice.