I Too Had a Dream : Amul Story

13 Sep

Alright! this is my first blog post after coming to this insomniac city of Mumbai. Without getting into cliché ‘Mumbai Humko Jam Gai’ mode or the truly eternal and rather formidable contest of Mumbai Vs Delhi , I will get to the point. Will surely come to debate part also next time .Wink.

I have always been fascinated by the organizations which brought revolutions in the world and impacted the lives of people by the sheer intent and indomitable spirit of the people behind them . There are the people like Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, the Missile Man of India , Dr E Sreedharan , our very own Metro Man of India and of course Dr Verghese Kurien , man behind the Amul brand and the key person who envisioned, carved and executed the blueprint for the ‘White revolution’ . These people are rare examples in today’s world which is engulfed in corruption , hypocrisy and mediocrity . These are the people who went against the tide and had exemplary careers in their respective fields .

In last week , I saw the Shyam Benegal movie ‘Manthan’ and read the book ‘ I too had a Dream’ based on the memoirs of Dr Verghese Kurien as told to Gauri Salvi . The book describe the journey of transformation of a sleepy town of Anand which eventually became the Milk Capital of India . The story starts when Dr Verghese kurien who completed degree in metallurgy from University of Michigan sponsored by Government of India lands up in a small, dusty, lazy, unknown village called ‘Anand’ (In the Kaira district of Gujarat) and is supposed to be taking the responsibility of the government owned milk production department over there. He meets another visionary personality called Mr. Thirubhuvan Das Patel and he requests him to take care of the co-operative milk society of Anand .

Over the course of time Dr Kurien built series of institutions which made India the World’s largest Milk Producer , developed a logistics chain to produce and deliver hygienic and nutritious milk to millions and created world’s largest food marketing business and the country’s largest food brand called Amul . He enabled India to nearly double its per capita milk availability and made India’s Diary industry the largest rural employment provider. The cooperatives he created have also become powerful agents of social change in empowering women and in embedding democracy at the grassroot levels in the country .

Although the entire is replete with inspirational incidences . I am going to enlist few here :-

1. Innovation – While the experts from England and New Zealand repeated incessantly that buffalo milk cannot be converted into milk powder , Dr Kurien demonstrated to the entire world how it can be done that too on Commercial basis . This was great product innovation for India where major chunk of milk produce comes from buffalo milk .

2. In 1970s Dr Kurien and his team invented the ‘milk vending’ machine for the first time and made it work in Indian conditions. In a way this machine is a great grand father of today’s money vending machines (or ATMs). I would say this is an innovation in the area of ‘Distribution and supply’.

3. Manthan , a rare , low budget movie directed by Shyam Benegal and costing around million rupees was produced by Gujarat’s diary farmers with each contributing a rupee . In the highly commercialized Hindi film industry notorious for its black money transactions , the funds for Manthan were paid in white .

4. Amul Cooperative System challenged the caste practices in a through their common collection centres and queue system and payment system which did not differentiate between people on the basis of caste.

5. Dr V kurien spearheaded Operation Flood in a novel way -:
a) Milk products in the form of food aid which were received from Europe were reconstituted to provide enough milk to obtain commanding share of market in different in milk schemes .
b) Funds realised from the sale of donated products were to be used to resettle city kept cattle and help them breed and increase milk production .
c) The entire operation was directed towards replicating Anand like cooperatives throughout the country .

6) Dr V Kurien was a great Nationalist and believed that best government is the govt which governs the least and instead finds ways to mobilize the energies of the people . Amul Cooperative demonstrated without a doubt that the biggest asset of India is its people .

7) Progress in rural areas is quintessential to transform our country into developed country .
There is nothing wrong in building flyovers in Delhi , the wrong part is when there is no road connecting to our villages .
There is nothing wrong with building modern hospitals in cities,wrong part comes when poor farmer’s newborn dies for want of medicine.
There is nothing wrong with building colorful fountains in Delhi . wrong part comes when there is no drinking water in our villages .

On personal front , I hope I always keep up my motivation and inspiration levels high and work tirelessly in field I choose for the larger good of the country and for the larger good of Humanity till the time I live and of course , in the end , would like to depart quietly , as poet Alfred Tennyson has very sensibly said :-

Sunset and evening star ,
And one clear call for me !
And may there be no moaning at the bar
When I put out to sea .

P.S : It is awkward when people point out spelling mistakes in your posts . Not quite expected from people of my age . But it is never too late to learn , right ?
P.P.S : Next stop is India Unbound by Gurucharan Das . Looking good so far .

Jai Hind .


Posted by on September 13, 2012 in Uncategorized


5 responses to “I Too Had a Dream : Amul Story

  1. ashutoshtalks

    September 13, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    instead of “govt who governs” .. it should be govt “which” governs (u asked for it)
    btw liked the “Jai Hind” part in the end.

  2. kanika

    September 13, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    Damn! corrected .
    Thanks for feedback !

  3. Jayesh Brahmane

    September 13, 2012 at 7:26 pm

    Excellent article..very informative!!*thumbs up*

  4. Anurag

    September 15, 2012 at 10:22 am

    great book, nicely captured… you can also try Vikram Sarabhai’s biography.

  5. Krishnan

    September 22, 2012 at 11:54 am

    A well written blog that highlights innovation of Amul. Good job Kanika!


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