Dr. V. Kurien


The Father of the White Revolution, Dr. Verghese Kurien, passed away early today following a brief illness. His age was ninety-one. His wife Molly Kurien, daughter Nirmala, and grandson Siddharth survive him.

The White Revolution in India, led by Dr. Kurien, was a major factor in becoming the world's greatest milk producer. Having founded and served as 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, he has devoted his professional life to utilizing co-operatives to empower Indian farmers.In grassroots democratic endeavors, Dr. Kurien has contributed to laying the groundwork.According to him, millions of our poor population could live in greater comfort if farmers were given access to professional management and technology.

He contributed to the creation of the cooperative movement, which is now a global model for developing nations, including India. As the main component of the Operation Flood program, which opened up new opportunities for dairy development, Milk Producers' Cooperatives emerged as India's largest scheme for rural employment. Unquestionably, Dr. Kurien was India's "Milkman." Brought up in Kozhikode, Kerala, on November 26, 1921, he attended Loyola College for his science degree in 1940 and Guindy College of Engineering in Chennai for his engineering degree. He worked for TISCO in Jamshedpur for a while before being awarded a scholarship by the Indian government to pursue a degree in dairy engineering. Following some specialized study at the Imperial Institute of Animal Husbandry & Dairying, Bangalore, he departed for the United States, where in 1948 he graduated from Michigan State University with a master's degree in mechanical engineering with dairy engineering as a minor.

When Dr. Kurien returned to India, his bond would be served at the Government Creamery in Anand, Gujarat. On May 13, 1949, a Friday, he arrived in Anand. Getting out of Anand as soon as possible was his primary goal, along with getting released from his bond. He was ready to leave for Mumbai at the end of 1949 after receiving orders to leave his position at the Government Creamery. Kurien had become friends with the then-chairman of the Kaira District Co-operative Milk Producers Union, or Amul, Shri Tribhuvandas Patel, who asked him to stay in Anand for a little while longer to assist him in assembling the dairy equipment for his co-operative organization. Kurien decided to remain for an extended period of time, staying put for several more days.

The course of the Indian dairy business was altered by his forced tenure at Anand. He began lending support to the newly established dairy cooperative. That's history for the rest.

Two Village Dairy Cooperative societies were the founding members of Gujarat's first Dairy Cooperative Union, which was established in 1946. There are already 16,100 member societies, and 3.2 million of them pour milk twice a day. The largest integrated dairy product production and marketing company in India now is the Billion Dollar GCMMF. Dr. Kurien's work led to the NDDB's creation, which ensured the Amul Model was replicated throughout India. Thus, it was crucial in considerably raising India's milk production. From 20 million metric tonnes annually in the 1960s to 122 million metric tonnes in 2011, India has become a major milk supplier.

Significant national and international acclaim has been accorded to his work. He received the "Padma Vibhushan" award from the Indian government, which is the second-highest honor in the nation after Bharat Ratna. In addition, he has won the World Food Prize, the Carnegie - Wateler World Peace Prize, the Ramon Magsaysay Honor for Community Leadership, and the United States International Person of the Year honor.

The primary contribution of Dr. Kurien has been the creation of institutions and processes that allow people to grow as individuals. He felt that the best way to advance human growth is to give people the tools they need to do so. Dedicated to utilizing the people's strength for the greater good, he saw the people as our nation's most valuable resource and devoted his life to this cause.

Shri Vipul Chaudhary, Chairman of the GCMMF, said in deference to Dr. V. Kurien, "Dr. Kurien was the Father of the White Revolution." Dr. Kurien brought social and economic progress to the lives of milk producers in India and led the dairy cooperative movement there. Dr. Kurien served as a mentor and advisor to dairy farmers for many years. The Amul brand has become an undeniable force to be reckoned with, thanks to the efforts of farmers in Gujarat and the Kaira district. Dr. Kurien has long dreamed of the "Amul" brand being connected to all Indian milk producers. Additionally, he desired that Amul be recognized as the "Taste of India" when it is connected to all milk producers in India. Our goal is to achieve his dream. The true homage to Dr. Kurien will be this."