वर्गीज़ कुरियन ( मृत्यु: 9 सितम्बर, 2012)

September 09, 2017

वर्गीज़ कुरियन (जन्म: 26 नवंबर, 1921 - मृत्यु: 9 सितम्बर, 2012) भारत में दुग्ध क्रान्ति, जिसे 'श्वेत क्रान्ति' भी कहा जाता है, के जनक माने जाते हैं। भारत को दुनिया का सर्वाधिक दुग्ध उत्पादक देश बनाने के लिए श्वेत क्रांति लाने वाले वर्गीज़ कुरियन को देश में सहकारी दुग्ध उद्योग के मॉडल की आधारशिला रखने का श्रेय जाता है।


जीवन परिचय
देश में 'श्वेत क्रांति के जनक' और 'मिल्कमैन' के नाम से मशहूर वर्गीज़ कुरियन की अथक मेहनत का ही नतीजा था कि दूध की कमी वाला यह देश दुनिया के सबसे बड़े दूध उत्पादक देशों में शुमार हुआ। 'श्वेत क्रांति' और दूध के क्षेत्र में सहकारी मॉडल के ज़रिये लाखों ग़रीब किसानों की ज़िंदगी संवारने वाली शख्सियत डॉ. वर्गीज़ कुरियन का जन्म 26 नवंबर, 1921 को मद्रास (अब चेन्नई) में हुआ। उनके परिवार में पत्नी मॉली कुरियन और एक बेटी है।


जमशेदपुर स्थित 'टिस्को' में कुछ समय काम करने के बाद कुरियन को डेयरी इंजीनियरिंग में अध्ययन करने के लिए भारत सरकार की ओर से छात्रवृत्ति दी गई। बेंगलुरु के 'इंपीरियल इंस्टीट्यूट ऑफ एनिमल हजबेंड्री एंड डेयरिंग' में विशेष प्रशिक्षण प्राप्त करने के बाद कुरियन अमेरिका गए जहां उन्होंने 'मिशीगन स्टेट यूनिवर्सिटी' से 1948 में मैकेनिकल इंजीनियरिंग में अपनी मास्टर डिग्री हासिल की, जिसमें डेयरी इंजीनियरिंग भी एक विषय था। भारत लौटने पर कुरियन को अपने बांड की अवधि की सेवा पूरी करने के लिए गुजरात के आणंद स्थित सरकारी क्रीमरी में काम करने का मौका मिला। 1949 के अंत तक कुरियन को क्रीमरी से कार्यमुक्त करने का आदेश दे दिया गया।


वर्गीज़ कुरियन ने 1949 में 'कैरा ज़िला सहकारी दुग्ध उत्पादक संघ लिमिटेड' के अध्यक्ष त्रिभुवन दास पटेल के अनुरोध पर डेयरी का काम संभाला। सरदार वल्लभभाई पटेल की पहल पर इस डेयरी की स्थापना की गयी थी। वर्गीज़ कुरियन ने महाराष्ट्र के 60 लाख किसानों की 60 हज़ार कोऑपरेटिव सोसायटियाँ बनाईं, जो प्रतिदिन तीन लाख टन दूध सप्लाई करती हैं। इसी को श्वेत क्रान्ति और ‘ओपरेशन फ़्लड’ के नाम से भी पुकारा जाता है। इस महान कार्य से जहाँ किसानों का भला हुआ, वहीं पर आम लोगों को दूध की उपलब्धि में भी सुविधा हुई। इन कार्यों के कारण इन्हें अनेक पुरस्कारों से सम्मानित किया गया। डॉ. कुरियन ने साल 1973 में 'गुजरात कोऑपरेटिव मिल्क मार्केटिंग फेडरेशन' की स्थापना की और 34 साल तक इसके अध्यक्ष रहे। इसी कारण इन्हें श्वेत क्रांति का जनक कहा जाता है।


उन्होंने अपनी प्रतिभा के बल पर सरकारी छात्रवृति अर्जित करने के साथ साथ अमेरिका के 'मिचिगन स्टेट विश्वविद्यालय' से 1948 में विज्ञान में स्नातकोत्तर की उपाद्यि ग्रहण की। इसके बाद अमेरिका से भारत वापस आने के बाद उन्होंने भारत सरकार के डेयरी विभाग में डेयरी इंजीनियर के पद पर गुजरात के आनन्द में 1949 आसीन हुए। 7 माह के सरकारी सेवा के बाद उनका मन वहां नहीं रमा। उनके दिलो-दिमाग में कुछ विशेष करने की लहरें रह रह कर उनको सरकारी बंधन से मुक्त होने के लिए उद्देल्लित कर रही थी। इसके बाद वे 'केडीसीएमपीयूल' के मैनेजर बन गये जो आज अमूल के नाम से विश्वविख्यात है।


भारत में कुरियन और उनकी टीम ने भैंस के दूध से मिल्क पाउडर और कंडेस्ड मिल्क बनाने की तकनीक विकसित की। इस तकनीक को अमूल की कामयाबी की प्रमुख वजहों में शुमार किया जाता है। कंपनी ने इसके बलबूते 'नेस्ले' जैसी शीर्ष कंपनी को कड़ी टक्कर दी, जो मिल्क पाउडर और कंडेस्ड मिल्क बनाने के लिए सिर्फ गाय के दूध का प्रयोग करती थी। यूरोप में गाय के दूध के विपरीत भारत में भैंस का दूध अधिक उपयोग होता है। अमूल ने वर्ष 2011 में दो अरब डॉलर का कुल कारोबार किया। जबकि उसने अपने 50 साल के इतिहास में कभी किसी सेलेब्रिटी को प्रचार में इस्तेमाल नहीं किया।


अमूल की सफलता से अभिभूत होकर तत्कालीन प्रधानमंत्री लाल बहादुर शास्त्री ने 'राष्ट्रीय दुग्ध विकास बोर्ड' (एनडीडीबी) का गठन किया। जिससे पूरे देश में अमूल मॉडल को समझा और अपनाया गया। कुरियन को बोर्ड का अध्यक्ष बनाया गया। एनडीडीबी ने 1970 में ‘ऑपरेशन फ्लड’ की शुरूआत की जिससे भारत दुनिया का सबसे बड़ा दुग्ध उत्पादक देश बन गया। कुरियन ने 1965 से 1998 तक 33 साल एनडीडीबी के अध्यक्ष के तौर पर सेवाएं दीं। वे 'विकसित भारत फाउंडेशन' के प्रमुख रहे। उन्होंने असंगठित ग्रामीण भारत के दुग्ध उत्पादकों को जहां आर्थिक मजबूती दिला कर सम्मान दिलाया वहीं पूरे विश्व को एक दिशा दिखाई।


60 के दशक में भारत में दूध की खपत जहाँ दो करोड़ टन थी वहीं 2011 में यह 12.2 करोड़ टन पहुंच गयी। कुरियन के निजी जीवन से जुड़ी एक रोचक और दिलचस्प बात यह है कि देश में ‘श्वेत क्रांति’ लाने वाला और ‘मिल्कमैन ऑफ इंडिया’ के नाम से मशहूर यह शख़्स खुद दूध नहीं पीता था।


भारत सरकार ने वर्गीज़ कुरियन को पद्म श्री (1965), पद्म भूषण (1966), पद्म विभूषण (1999) से सम्मानित किया था। उन्हें सामुदायिक नेतृत्व के लिए रेमन मैग्सेसे पुरस्कार (1963), 'कार्नेगी वाटलर विश्व शांति पुरस्कार', 'वर्ल्ड फ़ूड प्राइज़' (1989),'विश्व खाद्य पुरस्कार' (1989), 'कृषि रत्न' (1986), और अमेरिका के 'इंटरनेशनल परसन ऑफ द ईयर सम्मान' से भी नवाजा गया। इसके अतिरिक्त 'मिशिगन स्टेट यूनिवर्सिटी' और 'तमिलनाडु कृषि विश्वविद्यालय' समेत कई संस्थानों ने डॉक्टरेट की उपाधि दी।
वर्गीज़ कुरियन और श्याम बेनेगल ने मिलकर राष्ट्रीय पुरस्कार विजेता फ़िल्म 'मंथन' की कहानी भी लिखी है जिसे क़रीब 5 लाख किसानों ने वित्तीय सहायता दी। विश्व बैंक ने ग़रीबी उन्मूलन के लिए अमूल मॉडल को चिन्हित किया है। अमूल मॉडल को व्यापक और लोकप्रिय बनाने में वर्गीज़ की बड़ी भूमिका रही है। ‘अमूल’ के महत्त्व का अंदाज़ा इसी से लगाया जा सकता है कि स्वयं जवाहरलाल नेहरू इसके उद्घाटन के अवसर पर आए थे।


अरबों रुपए वाले ब्रांड ‘अमूल’ को जन्म देने वाले कुरियन का 9 सितम्बर 2012 को सुबह 90 वर्ष की आयु में नाडियाड, गुजरात में निधन हो गया।


Verghese Kurien (26 November 1921 – 9 September 2012) known as the Father of the White Revolution in India was a social entrepreneur whose "billion-litre idea", Operation Flood - the world's largest agricultural dairy development programme,made dairy farming India's largest self-sustaining industry and the largest rural employment provider, being a third of all rural income, with benefits of - raising incomes & credit, riddance of debt dependence, nutrition, education, health, gender parity & empowerment, breakdown of caste barriers and grassroots democracy & leadership. It made India the world's largest milk producer from a milk-deficient nation, which doubled milk available per person and increased milk output four-fold, in 30 years,


He pioneered the "Anand pattern" of dairy cooperatives to replicate it nationwide, based on Amul, his standalone cooperative then, and today India's largest food brand, where 70-80% of the price paid by consumers went as cash to dairy farmers who controlled the marketing, the procurement and the processing of milk and milk products as the cooperative's owners, while hiring professionals for their skills and inducting technology, in managing it. Rather than focusing directly on removing caste and class conflicts which get entrenched as vested interests, instead, he worked singularly on the belief that economic self-interest of all sections of the village-society would make them align together to grow their cooperative. A key invention at Amul, the world's first, was the production of milk powder from the abundant buffalo-milk, instead of from the conventional cow-milk, short in supply in India. He thus, got dairy farmers organised in the villages and linked them directly to consumers in the market by eliminating middlemen, ensuring them, a steady and a regular income even during the lean season, and a better quality produce at a competitive price, to the consumer in the large market of the reachable Bombay city, on a steady supply over well-paved village "milk roads" and a 'cold-chain'. He surmounted skepticism and adversity with his indefatigable fighting spirit and outmaneuvering skills. This helped him capture a commanding share of the market there which got him wide attention.


When he succeeded in this venture, he had the foresight to shrewdly use the clout resulting from its recognition, by employing his networking skills and resources at his command effectively, in negotiating international help and support from the governments of at least 9 prime ministers of the country, all on terms set by him, over more than 5 decades. Termed "a crocodile who swims in milk", he would steadfastly stave off, encroachment by multinational companies on markets nurtured by him, and interference by politicians and bureaucrats while building his cooperatives to national scale and founding institutions.


He also made India self-sufficient in edible oils,taking on a powerful, entrenched and violently resistant oil supplying cartel.He is regarded as one of the greatest proponents of the cooperative movement in the world, which emphasises production by the masses over mass-production, with his work having lifted millions out of poverty in India and outside.


He was born on 26 November 1921 at Calicut, Madras Presidency (now Kozhikode, Kerala) in a Syrian Christian family. He schooled at Diamond Jubilee Higher Secondary School, Gobichettipalayam, in Coimbatore district (now in Erode district, Tamil Nadu) while his father worked as a civil surgeon at the government hospital there. He joined Loyola College, Madras (now, Chennai) at the age of 14, graduating in science with physics in 1940, and then got a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the College of Engineering, Guindy, Madras, in 1943 He had to fend for himself as he was young for his age in every class. This according to him, developed his sense of independence. He lost his father at 22 and his grand-uncle moved his family to his home in Trichur (now Thrissur). A keen military cadet and a boxer at college, when he wanted to join the army as an engineer, his mother persuaded him to join the Tata Steel Technical Institute, Jamshedpur on a recommendation to the management by his uncle, who was a director with the Tatas, and from where he graduated in 1946, but soon found himself wanting to get away from the hangers-on and yesmen of his uncle.


So he left and applied for a government of India scholarship, and was chosen to study dairy engineering, an irrelevant discipline, much to his surprise and reluctance, but this time his uncle (by now, the finance minister) refused to bail him out. He was thus, sent to the Imperial Institute of Animal Husbandry in Bangalore (now, National Dairy Research Institute, southern station, Bengaluru) where he spent nine months, and merely bid time out to be sent to America. Here too, by choosing some dairying electives, rather perfunctorily, at Michigan State University, he returned with a master's degree in mechanical engineering (metallurgy) (with a minor in nuclear physics), instead, in 1948.While there, when he found himself at the receiving end of racist jibes, the Indian in him saw him, in his words, "put the natives back in their place".


Later, he would say, "I was sent to ... study dairy engineering (on the only government scholarship left) ... I cheated a bit though, and studied metallurgical and nuclear engineering, disciplines ... likely to be of far greater use to my soon-to-be independent country and, quite frankly, to me."


He did train in dairy technology, with a sense of purpose eventually, in 1952-53, on a government sponsorship to New Zealand, a bastion of cooperative dairying then, and to Australia, when he had to learn to set up the Amul dairy.In 1949, Kurien was sent by the government of India to its run-down, experimental creamery at Anand, in Bombay province (later Bombay state & now part of Gujarat state since 1960), and began to work rather half-heartedly, to serve out his bond-period against the scholarship given by them for his master's degree. He began to while away his time going off to Bombay city on weekends and on some pretext of work or else, volunteering to tinker with the primitive dairy equipment of Tribhuvandas Patel, who sought his help to process the milk of farmers he had brought together after a strike in 1946, forming a cooperative society to purchase their milk, at Kaira (now, Kheda) nearby.


He had already made up his mind to quit the government job mid-way and leave Anand but, was persuaded by Tribhuvandas to stay back with him after quitting them, and help him set up his dairy. Tribhuvandas's efforts and the trust placed in him by farmers inspired Kurien to dedicate himself to establishing that dairy cooperative, 'Kaira District Cooperative Milk Producers' Union Limited (KDCMPUL)' (which came to be known popularly as Amul dairy), at Anand.The farmers faced a problem of fluctuating milk production as surplus milk would find no takers in the flush season, and turned to the cooperative for help, where an idea took root to try convert this surplus to milk powder. Kurien's batchmate from America and dairy engineer H. M. Dalaya, who he persuaded to stay back at Anand after a mere visit, invented the process of making skim milk powder and condensed milk from buffalo milk, instead of from cow milk, said impossible by dairy experts around the world.In India, buffalo milk was plentiful while, cow milk was in short supply, unlike Europe where it was abundant. This was the reason Amul would compete successfully and well against Nestle, the leading competitor, which used cow milk to make them, and later against Glaxo for baby food. Later research by Dr. G. H. Wilster led to cheese production from buffalo milk at Amul.[32] To cut costs, Kurien got a captive packaging-tin unit attached to the dairy in a collaboration. Amul then took on established competitors, viz. government-run Aarey dairy's Bombay Milk Scheme and private-run Polson dairy, in the Bombay market,and gained a share with these products along with its famed butter.



Kurien died after a brief spell of illness aged 90 on 9 September 2012 at a Nadiad hospital, near Anand, followed by his wife a few months later in Mumbai. She hosted the endless stream of visitors to Anand. She would say that he worked hard but never brought work back home and was in bed by 9 pm, only to wake up in the dead of night to catch the earliest morning flight after some road travel. Brought up a Christian, Kurien later became an atheist, and was cremated.A daughter and a grandson survive them.He would network with relatives accomplished in their field and often got sound advice and assistance on his work, be it by his cousin, Ravi J. Matthai, the first director of IIM at Ahmedabad nearby, on setting up an entire institute (IRMA) rather than sponsor students at IIM as the cooperative's recruits, or the importance of branding & advertising his products from his wife's brother-in-law. In his later years, on being asked by his daughter to retire and come stay with her at her home in another city, he replied that Anand was his home and he will remain there and never quit working. Even as his most expensive personal possession was a mere watch gifted him by his grandson, he would take pride in the farmers' money providing the air-conditioned house and luxury-model car at his disposal, and spared no expense with it for constructing a modern IRMA campus and facilities for its residents, saying, "These students are my princes, and if you want to make them kings (who will go out to conquer), you cannot have them stay in a pigsty".


Kurien, who spent most of his life in Gujarat and gained the affection and the respect of its people, was unable to get any landlord to rent him a room when he first arrived in Anand, as besides being unable to speak the language of the place, he was "a bachelor, a non-vegetarian and a Christian"! He never spoke the language of the state despite understanding it later on, nor was he used to drinking milk.
Awards and honoursIn 2014, all the dairy majors of the country, along with the Indian Dairy Association, resolved to observe Kurien's birthday, November 26, as National Milk Day.


Year Name of Award or Honor Awarding Organization
1999 Padma Vibhushan Government of India
1997 Order of Agricultural Merit Ministère de l'Agriculture (Ministry of Agriculture), France)
1993 International Person of the Year World Dairy Expo
1989 World Food Prize World Food Prize Foundation
1986 Wateler Peace Prize Carnegie Foundation (Netherlands)
1986 Krishi Ratna Government of India
1966 Padma BhushanGovernment of India
1965 Padma ShriGovernment of India
1963 Ramon Magsaysay Award Ramon Magsaysay Award Foundation


Kurien either headed or was on the boards of several public institutions and also received honorary doctorate degrees from universities in India and around the world.Lectures by eminent speakers are held in his memory, to apply "lessons from the dairy sector" through his work, to ongoing rural issues such as 'an Amul model for pulses' or using management strategies for rural India's social organisation or using his work in organising funds to promote 'growth with justice