Verghese Kurien

About Verghese Kurien

Who is it?: Social Entrepreneur
Birth Day: November 26, 1921
Birth Place: Calicut, (Madras Presidency) (now Kozhikode, Kerala, India), Indian
Died On: 9 September 2012(2012-09-09) (aged 90)\nNadiad, Gujarat, India
Birth Sign: Sagittarius
Other names: Father of the White Revolution of India Milkman of India
Occupation: Co-founder, 'Amul' Founder - NDDB (National Dairy Development Board) & IRMA (Institute of Rural Management, Anand)
Awards: World Food Prize (1989) Order of Agricultural Merit (1997) Padma Vibhushan (1999) Padma Bhushan (1966) Padma Shri (1965) Ramon Magsaysay Award (1964)
Website: www.drkurien.com

Verghese Kurien Net Worth

Verghese Kurien was bornon November 26, 1921 in Calicut, (Madras Presidency) (now Kozhikode, Kerala, India), Indian, is Social Entrepreneur. Best known as the visionary who architected India’s White Revolution, Verghese Kurien was a social entrepreneur who helped to lay the foundation of development from the grassroots. He believed that the true development of a nation was possible only if the farmers at the grass roots were entrusted with the responsibility of organizing democratic enterprises. Growing up as the son of a civil surgeon, young Verghese had no interest whatsoever in dairy production. In fact he was not even fond of milk or milk products! How he ultimately became the Father of White Revolution was nothing but a quirk of fate which steered him towards what would become his life’s calling. One of the major proponents of the cooperative movement, he led the Operation Flood which made India, a previously milk-deficient nation the largest milk producer in the world. Under his able direction and guidance, around 30 cooperative institutions like AMUL, IRMA, and NDDB thrived. He helped AMUL in pioneering the process of producing milk powder from buffalo milk which was one of the factors that led to his appointment as the founder-chairman of National Dairy Development Board (NDDB).
Verghese Kurien is a member of Business People

💰 Net worth: Under Review

Some Verghese Kurien images

Awards and nominations:

In 2014, all the dairy majors of the country, along with the Indian Dairy Association, resolved to observe Kurien's birthday, November 26, as National Milk Day.

Kurien either headed or was on the boards of several public institutions and also received honorary doctorate degrees from universities in India and around the world. Lectures by eminent speakers are held in his memory, to apply "lessons from the dairy sector" through his work, to ongoing rural issues such as 'an Amul model for pulses' or using management strategies for rural India's social organisation or using his work in organising funds to promote 'growth with justice'

Biography/Timeline

1921

He was born on 26 November 1921 at Calicut, Madras Presidency (now Kozhikode, Kerala) in a Syrian Christian family. He schooled at Diamond Jubilee Higher Secondary School, Gobichettipalayam, in Coimbatore district (now in Erode district, Tamil Nadu) while his Father worked as a civil surgeon at the government hospital there. He joined Loyola College, Madras (now, Chennai) at the age of 14, graduating in science with physics in 1940, and then got a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the College of Engineering, Guindy, Madras, in 1943 He had to fend for himself as he was young for his age in every class. This according to him, developed his sense of independence. He lost his Father at 22 and his grand-uncle moved his family to his home in Trichur (now Thrissur). A keen military cadet and a boxer at college, when he wanted to join the army as an Engineer, his mother persuaded him to join the Tata Steel Technical Institute, Jamshedpur on a recommendation to the management by his uncle, who was a Director with the Tatas, and from where he graduated in 1946, but soon found himself wanting to get away from the hangers-on and yesmen of his uncle.

1948

So he left and applied for a government of India scholarship, and was chosen to study dairy engineering, an irrelevant discipline, much to his surprise and reluctance, but this time his uncle (by now, the Finance minister) refused to bail him out. He was thus, sent to the Imperial Institute of Animal Husbandry in Bangalore (now, National Dairy Research Institute, southern station, Bengaluru) where he spent nine months, and merely bid time out to be sent to America. Here too, by choosing some dairying electives, rather perfunctorily, at Michigan State University, he returned with a master's degree in mechanical engineering (metallurgy) (with a minor in nuclear physics), instead, in 1948. While there, when he found himself at the receiving end of racist jibes, the Indian in him saw him, in his words, "put the natives back in their place".

1949

In 1949, Kurien was sent by the government of India to its run-down, experimental creamery at Anand, in Bombay province (later Bombay state & now part of Gujarat state since 1960), and began to work rather half-heartedly, to serve out his bond-period against the scholarship given by them for his master's degree. He began to while away his time going off to Bombay city on weekends and on some pretext of work or else, volunteering to tinker with the primitive dairy equipment of Tribhuvandas Patel, who sought his help to process the milk of farmers he had brought together after a strike in 1946, forming a cooperative society to purchase their milk, at Kaira (now, Kheda) nearby.

1952

He did train in dairy Technology, with a sense of purpose eventually, in 1952-53, on a government sponsorship to New Zealand, a bastion of cooperative dairying then, and to Australia, when he had to learn to set up the Amul dairy.

1956

In 1956, Kurien visited Nestle in their home country, on the commerce and industries minister's concern to ask them to bring down imported inputs of their Indian production and have more Indians inducted, but they told him that making condensed milk "could not be left to the natives". He stormed out of that meeting after giving them an earful, came back and ramped up Amul's production & market of condensed milk, and after two years got the government to ban the import of condensed milk into the country. Amul faced serious competition from imported butter, especially from New Zealand. The then Finance minister came to trust Kurien so much, that whenever Kurien would ask him to cut imports of butter it would be done every time, in tandem with a mere promise of an incremental increase of his production to make good any shortage. And every single time he kept his word and the markets never faced any shortage of butter. During the 1962 Indo-China war, the government depended on Kurien to step up supplies to the army. He had to divert these away from his civilian market. When Polson sensed an undue advantage in this and started grabbing his market share, Kurien was blunt to him and made sure the government froze Polson's production lines, as part of the war effort.

1965

In 1965, Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri tasked Kurien to replicate the dairy's 'Anand pattern' nationwide for which, the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) was founded under Kurien on his conditions, that it be independent of governmental control and that it be set up at Anand, away from the capitals and closer to farmers. Kurien was mindful of meddling by the political class and bureaucrats sitting in the capital cities, letting it be known upfront.

1973

The Anand dairy was replicated in Gujarat's districts around it and he set all of them under Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd. (GCMMF) in 1973 to sell their combined produce under a single Amul brand. Many states would emulate setting up their federations based on this pattern with varying degrees of success, notably, with Karnataka's brand Nandini, Rajasthan's brand Saras and Bihar's brand Sudha, not just dominating their respective state markets but intervening in neighbouring states, today.

1976

Film-maker Shyam Benegal wanted to make Manthan (in Hindu mythology, the churning of the 'milk ocean'), a story based on Amul, but lacked funds. Kurien got his half a million member-farmers to contribute a token two rupees each for the making of the movie. It struck a chord with the audience when it was released in Gujarat in 1976. Truckloads of farmers came to see "their film", making it a success at the box office, emboldening distributors to release it before audiences nationwide. It was critically acclaimed and went on to win national awards the following year, was later shown on national television and was sent for Oscar. An anti-climax starts building up towards the last fifteen minutes of the movie where, once external agents have come to a village, overcome vested interests, brought villagers together to set up a dairy cooperative and then withdrawn, only to have the village go back to its old ways, the defining moment of the film comes in the last couple of minutes, which captures the essence of Kurien's work, and realisation takes hold among a skeptical gathering when an unwearied villager (played by Naseeruddin Shah) tells them, "Arre, kyun nahi chalegi! Hum sab milke chalayenge isko. Kya un logon ki hai yeh! Sisoti aapdi chhe, aapdi banaayi!" (And how shall it run! Heck, we will run it. All of us together. No need anyone else! The cooperative society belongs to us, made by us!)

1979

He played a key role in setting up similar cooperatives across India and outside. In 1979, Premier Alexei Kosygin invited Kurien to the Soviet Union for advice on the cooperatives there. In 1982, Pakistan invited him to set up dairy cooperatives, where he went leading a World Bank mission. Around 1989, China implemented its own Operation-Flood like programme with the help of Kurien and the World Food Programme. Then prime minister Narasimha Rao sought his help to set up the dairy cooperative of neighbouring Sri Lanka which was done by NDDB, later in 1997, in a collaboration with them.

1990

In the 1990s he lobbied and fought hard to keep multinational companies from entering the dairy Business even as the country opened up all its other markets to them following globalisation, after decades of protection. India became the world's largest milk Producer by 1998, surpassing the United States of America, with about 17 percent of global output in 2010–11.

1998

In 1998, he prevailed upon then prime minister Vajpayee to appoint Dr. Amrita Patel his successor at NDDB, who he had groomed under him consciously to keep government bureaucrats away from the post, to protect NDDB's independence from the government. Later, he had differences with her on the direction she was taking cooperative dairying by merely focusing on production and yield targets through corporatisation and competition, at the expense of weakening the cooperative institutions of the country, for instance, marketing no longer remaining with the farmers' cooperatives, getting handed over to private or corporate interests, as that would mean foregoing the ability to determine the price to be paid by consumers, the quality of the produce to be offered to them, and also losing the 'lion's share' of the money paid by the consumer to these corporates, with their cooperatives merely carrying out procurement and processing functions and that too at the diktats of those who would now control marketing.

2006

He quit as GCMMF chairman in 2006 following dwindling support from new members on the governing board and mounting dissent from his proteges, some calling his way of working, rather late in the day, dictatorial, backed by political forces desperate to make inroads into the cooperative dairy's district unions.

2012

Kurien died after a brief spell of illness aged 90 on 9 September 2012 at a Nadiad hospital, near Anand, followed by his wife a few months later in Mumbai. She hosted the endless stream of visitors to Anand. She would say that he worked hard but never brought work back home and was in bed by 9 pm, only to wake up in the dead of night to catch the earliest morning FLIGHT after some road travel. Brought up a Christian, Kurien later became an atheist, and was cremated. A daughter and a grandson survive them. He would network with relatives accomplished in their field and often got sound advice and assistance on his work, be it by his cousin, Ravi J. Matthai, the first Director of IIM at Ahmedabad nearby, on setting up an entire institute (IRMA) rather than sponsor students at IIM as the cooperative's recruits, or the importance of branding & advertising his products from his wife's brother-in-law. In his later years, on being asked by his daughter to retire and come stay with her at her home in another city, he replied that Anand was his home and he will remain there and never quit working. Even as his most expensive personal possession was a mere watch gifted him by his grandson, he would take pride in the farmers' money providing the air-conditioned house and luxury-model car at his disposal, and spared no expense with it for constructing a modern IRMA campus and facilities for its residents, saying, "These students are my princes, and if you want to make them kings (who will go out to conquer), you cannot have them stay in a pigsty".

2013

In 2013, Amar Chitra Katha brought out a comic book Verghese Kurien: The Man with the Billion Litre idea.

2014

In 2014, all the dairy majors of the country, along with the Indian Dairy Association, resolved to observe Kurien's birthday, November 26, as National Milk Day.