RK Nagar suddenly recalled a poem


O Dairymen,

What are you fearing,

Have faith in our engineering,

Milk and Cheese will smell sweet,

When our science is complete,

And, dairying becomes perfumeering!


Dr. Michael Halse, though a foreigner, was a founder member of the National Dairy Development Board. We in NDDB often talked of him as more Indian than an Indian.

A Harvard, MBA of mid fifties, who later was awarded a PhD by Harvard Business School for his work on “Conversion Efficiency in Indian Agriculture”, efficiency”. Mike was a member of the founding team of the Indian Institute of Ahmedabad. He worked for the NDDB as FAO Advisor and later as Team Leader of FAO experts attached to NDDB during 1968-1983.

When NDDB was started Engineering Division was the first Technical Division. Management and Manpower Development was the second Technical Division. Engineering Division in 1968 had three Apprentice Engineers ( PG Gore, BN Bhatt and VS Behla) and one Dairy Technologist ( Dr. Baboo Nair). Similarly in 1968 I was the lone member of the Management and Manpower Development Group to start with PV Mathew and Dr RP Aneja joining a few months later. Both groups were expanded over time. Later by the time Office was moved to Amul Administration Building and then to the newly built campus many more persons had joined, if I recall correctly in all we may have been around 40 persons mostly in Engineering, followed by MMD and Admin and Accounts.

In early days after office talk used to be how would we get our next months salary. Engineering Division was doing projects. By turnkey execution of three cattle feed plants at Surat, Rajkot and Mehsana for the Gujarat Agro Industries Corporation earning five percent of the cost of the plants. Each plant was estimated to cost Rs 20 lakhs those days the Engineers were net earners whereas we in MMD net spenders doing surveys, writing reports etc.

This perception continued even during early days at the campus in 1970s. We all together worked and earned to meet our expenses not depending upon Government funding for meeting our revenue expenses since inception of the Dairy Board.

Launch of Operation Flood changed this perception completely.

Dr. V Kurien remained a Chairman NDDB from 1965 till 1998 and did not take any remuneration. All the assets of NDDB were were passed on to the Government of India after NDDB and Indian Dairy Corporation we’re merged and NDDB became an institution of National importance under an act of Parliament in 1987.

Shri RK Nagar recalled the poem posted at the top and shared with me . It was put on the pinup board in Mikes room so that every one going to Mikes room would notice and talk about it. The background picture in the above post is not same as it was on the poster in Mikes room. If I recall correctly, the poster was made by Eustice Fernandez of Radius Advertising.

Message was clear, Engineering alone would not produce milk that the country needs!

Integration of production, procurement, processing and marketing of milk as well as marketing of inputs for milk production enhancement to be brought under an organisational structure managed by professionals and owned and commanded by milk producers themselves, which works to fulfil the aspirations and is sensitive to the needs of milk producers became the focus of all endeavours of NDDB during Dr. Kurien’s time.


Thank you Nagar for recalling this poem which I had forgotten.


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