Dr.Verghese Kurien was born on 26th November 1921 to an affluent Christain family at Kozhikode, Kerala. Dr Kurien did his graduation in Physics from Loyola College, Madras in 1940 and Bachelors in mechanical engineering from the College of Engineering, Guindy. After this, he joined the Tata Steel Technical Institute, Jamshedpur. He got a specialized training in dairying at the National Dairy Research Institute, Bangalore. On the scholarship from the Government of India he went to the United States to earn a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (Distinction) from Michigan State University in 1948. 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. 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. Kurien was a life-long learner who believed that education is a never ending process. He had been bestowed with honorary degrees from many prominent institutions including Michigan State University and Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences. He was honored with several prestigious awards for his relentless services to the dairy and farming communities. Some of his awards include: Padma Shri (1965), Padma Bhushan (1966) and Padma Vibhushan (1999) by the Government of India, the Ramon Magsaysay Award (1963), and World Food Prize (1989). About some 100 kms from Ahmedabad lies a small city named Anand. The city is known as the Milk Capital of India due to presence of the famous Amul Dairy there. Amul – one of the most famous Dairy brands of our country came into existence in 1946. During that time there was only one dairy in the district of Anand and in Gujarat known as Polson Dairy which had been established in 1930. Polson Dairy was providing superior quality dairy products to up-market consumers. However it was involved in the exploitation of Indian farmers by not providing sufficient amount to them for milk and also not allowing them to sell milk to other vendors. Indian national leader Sardar Patel along with agitated farmers of that area initiated a non-cooperation movement against this process in the year 1946 and this lead to the foundation of Amul on 14th December 1946. Initially it supplied milk and other dairy products without any formalized distribution network or any supply chain in place. The brand name Amul had not been adopted at that time and it was called KDCMPUL (Kaira District Cooperative Milk Producer’s union Limited). It started initially with two dairy co-operative societies and 247 liters of milk only. He was married to Molly with whom he had one daughter, Nirmala. He was a grandfather to Siddharth, Nirmala’s son.He lived a long and productive life and died in 2012 at the age of 90 after a brief illness.
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