Verghese Kurien, father of the “White Revolution” and founder of the cooperative dairy movement in the country, died in a hospital at Nadiad early on Sunday, aged 90. He breathed his last around 1.15 a.m. He is survived by wife Molly Kurien and daughter Nirmala.
Dr. Kurien’s body was brought to Anand, the small town in central Gujarat that was his home for the last six decades and which he made famous as “the milk capital of India.” It was kept at the Sardar hall of the Amul dairy, where thousands, indebted to him for their economic freedom, paid him their last respects.
He was cremated at ‘Kailash Bhumi,’ Anand’s ultra-modern crematorium, in the presence of hundreds of his admirers and staff of the milk cooperatives.
Dr. Kurien was admitted to the Muljibhai Patel Urological Hospital last week for kidney ailments.
Born in Kozhikode, Kerala, on November 26, 1921, Dr. Kurien, a mechanical engineer with dairy engineering as a minor subject, came to Anand in 1949 at the behest of the then Union Home Minister, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, to solve some problems of the local farmers. The problems were resolved, but Dr. Kurien could not leave Anand.
From one milk project to a larger one, the “Milkman of India” saw India emerge from a milk-deficient country into the largest milk producer in the world, overtaking even the once milk-abundant Netherlands.
It is because of Dr. Kurien that India today contributes about 17 per cent of the total milk production in the world. Amul, with a turnover of over Rs. 13,000 crore, is Asia’s top milk-producing brand and is counted, with one of the best recall values, among the world’s leading brands in any sector.