Verghese Kurien was a venerated personality and mastermind behind the creation and success of Amul, India's biggest brand of dairy products. Often referred as 'Milkman of India’ he brought India to the forefront in dairy production all over the world. During his lifetime he won many prestigious awards, including Ramon Magsaysay Award, Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan, and Padma Vibhushan. Due to his invaluable contribution to the dairy industry, his birthday, the 26th of November, is now celebrated as National Milk Day.
"True development is not the development of land, or of cows; it is the development of men and women."
- Dr Verghese Kurien
A man behind Operation Flood, Verghese Kurien was contributed a lot in making India self-sufficient in dairy products. His name was synonymous with Amul, an Indian dairy cooperative, based at Anand in Gujarat. He is credited with the success of Amul making it a global brand.
Born on 26 November 1921 to a Syrian Christian family in Calicut, Verghese Kurien did attended Diamond Jubilee Higher Secondary School in Gobichettipalayam. His father was a civil surgeon at Gobichettipalayam Government Hospital. An alma mater of Loyola College, he obtained his Bachelors in Mechanical engineering from the College of Engineering, Guindy. To persue higher studies he went to the United States in 1948 for completing Master of Science in Metallurgical Engineering from Michigan State University. Verghese married Molly and they had one daughter, Nirmala Kurien. He died, aged 90, on 9 September 2012 in Nadiad, near Anand after a brief spell of illness.
'Father of the White Revolution' in India Verghese Kurien arrived Anand in 1949 as a government employee to manage a dairy. Few years later he got acquainted with the sorry state of affair including monopolised milk production with low amounts for high fat-content milk. Though hesitant to interfere in the affairs of political class or bureaucrats, he after being persuaded by Tribhuvandas Patel and others decided to stay back. His efforts to produce milk powder from buffalo milk let to the establishment of Amul, India's first ever milk powder plant. The plant was inaugurated by Pt Jawaharlal Nehru on October 31st, 1955. Later research by Dr. G. H. Wilster led to cheese production from buffalo milk at Amul. He played a key role in the establishment of National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) with headquarter in Anand. Gujarat Co-operative Milk Manufacturers Federation (GCMMF) was also established by Kurien in 1973 to sell the combined produce of the dairies under a single Amul brand. He quit the post of GCMMF chairman in 2006 following disagreement with the management. Institute of Rural Management Anand (IRMA) came into reality in 1979 by the efforts of Verghese Kurien. He helped in the establishment of Amul pattern of cooperatives across India and in other organizations like chairing the Viksit Bharat Foundation, a body set up by the President of India.
I Too Had a Dream
An Unfinished Dream
The Man Who Made The Elephant
Awards and Honours
Padma Vibhushan by Government of India in 1999
International Person of the Year in 1993
Distinguished Alumni by Michigan State University in 1991
World Food Prize in1989 by World Food Prize Foundation
Wateler Peace Prize[ by Carnegie Foundation in 1986
Krishi Ratna by Government of India in 1986
Padma Bhushan by Government of India in 1966
Padma Shri by Government of India in 1965
Ramon Magsaysay Award by Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation in 1963
After a brief spell of illness Verghese Kurien passed away on 9 September 2012 in Nadiad, near Anand at the age of 90. His wife Molly died on 14 December 2012 in Mumbai.
Kurian led an exceptional life and was a ray of hope for millions of dairy workers. Many European countries donated milk to kick-off Operation Flood in 1970 after hearing his passionate speech at a This led to the White Revolution. His success story was an inspiration for others. 'Manthan' directed by Shyam Benegal's starring Smita Patil was revolved around India's milk cooperative movement, and was entirely funded by his farmers. Kurien was awarded an honorary degree by Michigan State University in 1965. His book 'I Too Had a Dream', is a tale about farmer empowerment and building of milk cooperatives across India.
(FAN OF Mr. VERGHESE KURIEN)
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