Verghese Kurien

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Verghese Kurien (November 26, 1921September 9, 2012) was a legendary Indian social entrepreneur who was known by the sobriquet the "Milkman of India" and the "Father of the White Revolution" for his contribution to the 'billion-litre idea' the "Operation Flood". This is the world's biggest agricultural development programme which transformed India from being a milk-deficient country to largest milk producer in the world. Dairy farming became India’s largest self-sustaining industry. He also founded the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB). Among the several accolades and awards conferred on him, the most noteworthy are the Ramon Magsaysay Award, World Food Prize, Wateler Peace Prize and the Padma Vibhushan, the second highest civilian award of India.


  • Gifts can be dangerous and make a nation dependent on foreign aid. They can scuttle dairy development here.

Thought Leaders[edit]

Pandit (1 October 2002). Thought Leaders (Soft Cover). Tata McGraw-Hill Education. p. 143. ISBN 978-0-07-049550-0. 

  • I had the benefit of background and infrastructure, success would have come rather easily and my independent contribution would not have been easily measurable. Here there was so much to be done - how could I not try? I had a trained butler. Mumbai was close. The Mathais were there but I would stay at the Taj for Rs 50 per night. I could afford it because in Anand I had no expenses at all. **When asked why with aristocratic background how reconciled to stay in a garage.
    • In p. 143.
  • We must build on the resources represented by our young professionals and by our nation’s farmers. Without their involvement, we cannot succeed. With their involvement we can not fail.
    • In p. 139.
  • Where you have the will you have the skill; study, search, practice application; healthy irreverence; look for the kink in the thing, be curious.
    • His views on his multi-skills in p. 168.
  • Our laws have our mindset negative, dishonest, unproductive, obstructionist and indisciplined. [Kurien says] we must liberate our resources. Economic liberalization is aimed at liberating our material resources. Economic liberalization is aimed at liberating our material resources. We need to liberate our mental resources, viz. the mindset, from our anti-national and anti-work ethic labour laws.
    • In p. 169.

Our Leaders[edit]

Our Leaders. Children's Book Trust. 2005. pp. 67–. ISBN 978-81-7011-988-3. 

  • While II was looking for a good enough excuse to run away from Anand; I was befriended by Tribhuvandas Patel, the young cooperative chairman and almost without realizing it I began to share his dream of building a strong organization that would free the farmers from clutches of the middle man. In one of my weaker moments I accepted |w:Tribhuvandas Kishibhai Patel|Tribhuvandas’s]] suggestion that I work for the nascent Kaira Cooperative. I have never regretted that decision in my 33-year career as an employee of the farmers.
    • In p. 74
  • I am glad that there are people like you in this country to do things that you
  • Dairying as Instrument of Change Kurien said. True development must be such that it brings the modernization process to the service of our majority, namely the rural poor. It must bring to these people not only the pittance which they need for their humble diet but also the means where by they can act together to obtain for themselves the benefits of modern science and organization and in that process the means whereby they can build for themselves, in every village, a society which is at peace with itself, concerned with its neighbours and able to see a bright for all its children.
    • In p. 81
  • Milk is a highly perishable commodity, which is in short supply in summer and in excess supply in winter . The market can not contract and expand according to supply, therefore, you need balancing facilities. And once you have these balancing facilities, which you enable to carry forward the winter production and capture the market, procurement falls into your laps. This was the objective and methodology of Operation Flood.
    • In p. 85
  • The idea of setting up the NDDB was to replicate the Anand pattern in very state, in order to promote to genuinely farmer-owned cooperatives that would procure, process and markethis prime produce.
    • In p. 83
  • Operation Flood has three major achievements to its credit: making dairying India’s largest self-sustainable rural employment program; bringing India self-sufficiency in milk production; trebling the nation’s milk production within a span of two and half decades to make India the world’s largest milk producer.
    • in p. 83
  • Through Operation Flood, milk has been transformed from a commodity into a brand, from insufficient production to sufficient production, from rationing to plentiful availability; from loose unhygienic milk to milk that is pure and sure, from subjugation to as symbol of farmer’s economic independence, to being the consumer’s greatest insurance policy for good health.
    • In p. 85
  • Amul Dairy is a manifestation of what can happen when farmers assert themselves, fight for a cause.
    • In p. 87

The man who revolutionised white[edit]

"The man who revolutionised white". The Hindu. 10 September 2012. Retrieved on 31 December 2013. 

  • With liberalisation and globalisation, it seems to me, India's national boundaries have ceased to exist.
  • I am sorry, I do not think it is a good thing, because if you have opened up this market under such terms, what it implies is that other countries can put their products into our markets. Are you aware that all those advanced countries subsidize their exports? Subsidies are as high as 65 per cent. Now if you have globalized, and the others are subsidising their exports, to what position have you exposed the Indian dairy industry? You have declared dairy products under OGL (Open General License).
  • Is the democratic form of government successful in all parts of India? But the solution to the problems of democracy is more democracy. There can be no democracy in India unless you erect a plurality of democratic structures to underpin democracy, like the village cooperative which is a people’s institution.
  • Over the last 20 years India’s milk production has tripled; it has increased from 20 million tonnes per annum to 60 million tonnes per annum.... Dairying has become the largest rural employment scheme in this country. And the government has had very little to do with it, even though we are a government institution.

Amul builder Verghese Kurien's best quotes and pictures from Economic Times archives[edit]

Amul builder Verghese Kurien's best quotes and pictures from Economic Times archives. Economic Times. Retrieved on 31 December 2013.

  • Milk is the only commodity which has to be collected twice a day, every day of the year. Thus, cooperatives are the only logical system for the dairy industry. About 85% of the industry in the US, Denmark and Australia is run by cooperatives. No other system will work for milk.
  • What you need is good management with farmer power. Good management gives this power the right direction and thrust. Nothing can stop the farmers then. Least of all the Multi national Companies|MNCs]].
  • I am supposed to exploit the consumer; and I will (exploit them), but not in a way that will create resentment. I have to milk the consumer. And milk them I will, but gently.
  • So, Mr Kreeber, what do you think of the natives now?" Kurien told a Nestle official who had come to do business with farmers of Anand. The company had earlier refused technology help to India as it could not let "natives handle a sensitive commodity like milk".

About Verghese Kurien[edit]

  • He was one of the most towering Indians to live in Independent India.
    • Shyam Benegal in "How a farmers’ servant painted the nation white".
  • Behind the the scenes of the fantastic success of Operation Flood is the nearly invisible skillful guding hand, vision and the brilliant mind and the unique management skill of Kurien.
  • I consider Vergehese Kurien to be one of world’s great agricultural leaders of this century. This collection of his speeches, so aptly entitled "An Unfinished Dream", can help light the way for those who must carry on the battle to ensure greater food security, prosperity, and peace in the world. I am honoured to commend this book to those hunger fighters.
    • By Norman Borlauge quoted in "Thought Leaders" in p. 167.
  • Amongst the management leaders in India, Kurien is not only an icon, he is a miracle.

External links[edit]

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