Remembering Dr Kurien

How do I remember Dr Kurien

So much has been written about Dr. Kurien the person and his work that any writing on Dr. Kurien which I am trying to attempt here may appear to be a compilation or repetition of material already available. So how do I remember Dr Kurien ….

What better a start than to listen to the story of Dr. V Kurien by one of the greatest storytellers I know of,

Yes I meant Dr. Kurien himself narrating his and describing genesis of NDDB, Operation Flood and Anand Pattern Cooperatives. This audio file is taken from a video that was probably made in late 1970’s.


Unveiling statue of a bust of Dr. Kurien at Eklavya School, Ahmedabad

Dr. Kurien passed away on 9 September 2012 . I took a flight from Delhi to Ahmedabad the same day and stayed for the night at the home of my friend and a great admirer of Dr Kurien Sunil bhai. Ever since I left Anand in 2000 Sunilbhai has been a gracious host during my trips to Gujarat.

I could reach Anand only the next day. I called on Mrs. Kurien and also visited NDDB and met Miss Amrita Patel, Chairman NDDB.

While in Ahmedabad Sunilbhai and I both spent time talking about Dr. Kurien. I am sure the idea of putting up a bust at Eklavya School which Sunilbhai runs at Ahmedabad may have come to him that day.

After some four months on 13 January 2013 Sunil bhai organised and hosted a meeting of people who had closely worked with or knew Dr Kurien. Thanks to Sunilbhai a statue of Dr Kurien was unveiled on 14 January at Eklavya School, Ahmedabad.

Standing from left to write RS Sodhi, Dr. Tushaar Shah, Shri Sunil Handa, Nabi bhai, RK Nagar, ND Khurody and Mrs RS Sodhi.
Sitting left to right PR Rao, Zharna Oza, S Ramanujam, VS Behla, Arvind Gupta and Shailendra

As mentioned above this picture was taken at Eklavya School, Ahmedabad. Occasion was to unveil a statue of Dr. Kurien at the Eklavya School premises organised by Shri Sunil Handa.


After unveiling the statue jointly we had a day long meeting which extended to the next day.

Later when I visited Anand in February 2020 and called on Shri Sodhi, MD of the Gujarat Milk Marketing Federation at Anand , I noticed that he too had got the same statue of Dr. Kurien put at the entrance of the Federation. My friend Behla and I got ourselves photographed standing by that statue.

Story of a picture that signifies human achievement, internationals relations and national pride

I do not have many pictures of me with Dr Kurien even though I met him first in 1967, joined NDDB in 1968 and was appointed his Executive Assistant in 1974 an association that continued till he left the office of Chairman NDDB after 33 years in 1998.

I too left NDDB in 2000 after 32 years ( 1968-200). I could get the following picture taken at Dr.Kurien’s residence.

I share this one picture of mine with Dr.Kurien because of another picture. The reader may notice a picture on the right hand side hung on the wall.

This picture is taken some time in 2008 or 2009 at his home.

That picture of Mount Everest has autographs of both Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary is clearly seen below.

This picture has a story no two stories. But first the story of this picture.

Mount Everest Picture autographed by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay

Dr. Kurien used to visit his office in NDDB for a few hours on Saturdays if he was in Anand and even on a Sunday if he felt that there was a need. He would usually not ask me to join him in the office for assistance in getting papers organising meetings etc. but instead call and say “What are you doing?”. I would say “Sir are you coming to the office”. He would say yes and I will join him. Later, it became a habit and I too would be found in office on Saturdays and Sundays.

It was on one of those holidays in November 1998 that Dr. Kurien said that I want to surprise Mrs Kurien and take this picture home. I have already decided the wall where to hang and got a nail too fixed. Let us hurry up. Mrs. Kurien is not home. We must take this picture before she returns and hang it.

I took this picture from the wall in Chairman’s Office and was asked to sit with the picture in my lap on the back seat while Dr. Kurien drove the car. We reached his home and the picture was transferred to a wall in the living room.

There are three stories about this picture of Mount Everest.

Story number one has already been narrated by Siddhartha in the space for Thoughts on “ How do I remember Dr. Kurien” blog.

Tenzing had already autographed the picture before Sir Edmund Hillary visited Anand. Dr. Kurien asked Sir Edmund Hillary to sign; Mr. Hillary asked “where?” And Dr. Kurien replied – “Certainly, below Tenzing Norgay’s signature.”!

That was Dr. Kurien, his wit and humour !

The second story would be by Dr. RP Aneja who was Secretary, NDDB ( MD after 1987). Dr. Aneja has an interesting story about Sir Edmund Hillary’s visit to Anand. How Sir Hillary the then High Commissioner of New Zealand was asked by the Prime Minister of New Zealand to visit Anand, meet Dr. Kurien and personally explain New Zealand Govts position and request Dr. Kurien not to cancel his visit for attending Annual Sessions of the International Dairy Federation to be held in New Zealand that year.

I would be posting that amazing story here later once I get it form Dr. Aneja in his own words.

The third story would be by Dr MPG Kurup Executive Director and Director Eastern Region, NDDB. I await Dr. Kurup’s story too.

I will keep on adding to this blog as it is work in progress …

 

3 thoughts on “Remembering Dr Kurien”

  1. What a great story. Many of those years I was very fortunate to work with Mike at iima and Amul. This period was turning point fo my professional and personal life. Thanks to this marvelous learning lab.k

    1. Sir, I write to invite you to contribute to Vrikshamandir.com your earlier writings research are also welcome. I would like to be a part of an informal group that we have formed to plan a commemorative volume on Dr Kurien to be released in November 2021 which his 100 birth anniversary. I will write to you separately on this. Thank you !

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