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Dr. Verghese Kurien Biography

The “father of the white revolution” in India, Dr. Verghese Kurien is acknowledged worldwide as the brain behind the success of the largest dairy development programme in the world by the name of Operation Flood. Also known as the “Milkman of India”, he was the chairman of the Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd. (GCMMF) and his name became synonymous with the Amul brand.

Born on November 26, 1921 in Kozhikode,Kerala, he graduated in Physics from Loyola College, Madras in 1940 and pursued a B.E.(Mechanical) course from the Madras University. Subsequently, he went to USA to do his Masters in Mechanical Engineering. He underwent training at the Tata Iron and Steel Company Institute at Jamshedpur and the National Dairy Research Institute in Bangalore.

After his return from the U.S. in 1948, he joined government service. He became the Dairy Engineer at the Government Research Creamery, a small milk-powder factory in Anand, Gujarat in May 1949. When the newly formed cooperative dairy, Kaira District Cooperative Milk Producers’ Union Limited ((KDCMPUL), was waging a grim battle for survival with the behemoth Polson Dairy, Dr. Verghese Kurien left his government job and volunteered to help the KDCMPUL to set up a processing plant. This led to the success story that is AMUL.

The National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) was created in 1965 by the then Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri under the leadership of Dr. Kurien. He went on to set up the GCMMF (Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation) in 1973 to market the products produced by its dairies. Dr. Kurien successfully led India to becoming the largest milk producer in the world.

This unassuming man won many awards during his lifetime and served as a role model to many others. In 1963, Dr. Kurien received the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership. The Government of India awarded him with the Padma Shri in 1965, the Padma Bhushan in1966 and the Padma Vibhushan in 1999. Besides these, Dr. Kurien won the Krishi Ratna Award in 1986, the World Food Prize in 1989 besides many other awards.

Verghese Kurien, the father of ‘white revolution’ and the founder of Amul, passed away on 9th September 2012 following a brief illness. He was admitted at the Muljibhai Patel Urological Hospital in Nadiad, Gujarat due to illness. On Sunday afternoon he passed away. He died a natural death due to his age. His body was kept in the Sardar Hall of Amul dairy in Anand, Gujarat where people paid their last respects. The last rites were performed by his grandson, respecting his last wish to be cremated.