The America-returned young man disembarked at the platform and surveyed the surroundings. The oppressive heat and dust stifled him. It was 1949. India was newly independent. And the young man had to repay the Government for funding his studies abroad. Dr Verghese Kurien would proceed to do that many times over in the following decades.
Posted by the Government to the Government Research Creamery in Anand, Kurien soon realized that small, local dairy farmers were being exploited by a single large company that forced them to sell their produce at a pittance. Joining forces with Tribhuvandas Patel, the head of the milk producer’s union, Kurien went about acquiring equipment, organizing storage facilities and helping the farmers negotiate better rates for their daily produce by expanding the buyers’ market. The co-operative was rechristened “Amul” and the success of this model led to the formation of several other local dairy cooperatives on similar lines.
In 1956, Dr Kurien was appointed the first chairman of the newly formed National Dairy Development Board and he set about instituting the ambitious “Operation Flood” — a program aimed at making India self-sufficient in dairy and dairy products, while augmenting rural income and making these products accessible to the common man at affordable prices. He did this by setting up a national milk grid across 700 cities and towns in India.
Dr Verghese Kurien did not only have a vision. He was able to successfully implement his vision while bringing about real change to millions of people’s lives. He had the courage to fight oppression and stand by what he believed was right.
Do you have the strength and vision to bring about change in everyday lives?