The Google Doodle today celebrates the 94th Birthday of Dr.Verghese Kurien. Known popularly as the ‘Father of the White Revolution’, he is remembered as the founder and creator of Amul.
The Google Doodle depicts an animated likeness of Kurien seated on a stool next to three milk cans about to milk a cow on an open field where outlines of other bovines can be seen in the background.
Dr.Kurien was all that and much more.
Born in 1921 in Kozhikode in British India , his academic achievements laid the foundation of a lifetime of greatness. Not only did he study Physics at the renowned Loyola College, Madras, but went on to further enrich his knowledge at Tata Steel Technical Institute and Michigan State University.
For a brief period, he worked at Tata Iron and Steel Company in Jamshedpur.
In 1948, he went to the United States on a Government of India scholarship to earn a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering from Michigan State University.
On his return to India from the US, Dr Kurien joined the Indian government’s dairy department.
In May 1949, he was appointed dairy engineer at Government Research Creamery, a milk powder factory, in Anand.
In 1949, Mr Kurien decided to quit a economical government job to join a small-time dairy cooperative. Since then, milk procurement of the cooperative grew from a few hundred litre a day to over 90 lakh litre a day now under one of India’s most popular brands Amul.
The co-operative was initially referred to as Anand Milk Federation Union Limited hence the name AMUL.
Often called as Milkman of India, it was under his leadership that small-town Anand became the milk capital of our country.
He was the founder Chairman of the National Dairy Development Board 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, which are owned, managed by farmers and run by professionals. Veteran film-maker Shyam Benegal directed the movie ‘Manthan’, a story set in the cooperative milk movement in India. Not able to finance it, Benegal was helped by Dr Kurien who gave an idea of getting each of his half a million member farmers to contribute a token two rupees for the making of the movie.
Upon its release, truckloads of farmers came to see their film, making it a success at the box office. Dr Kurien’s work has received tremendous national and international recognition. The Indian government conferred on him the Padma Vibhushan, the second highest honour.
He is also the recipient of the World Food Price, the Ramon Magsaysay award for Community Leadership, the Carnegie – Wateler World Peace Prize and the International Person of the Year award from the US.
He dedicated his life to the welfare of Gujarat’s cattle owners and turned the state’s dairy co-operative sector into one of the most successful cooperative models in the world. He passed away after a brief illness in Nadiad, Gujarat on 9 September 2012.