आदमी और मौसम दोनों जन्म लेते हैं, बढ़ते है समय के साथ ढलते बदलते हैं बचपन, लड़कपन, जवानी, अधेडपन फिर बुढ़ापा सर्दी, गर्मी, बरसात, पतझड़, फिर वसंत अवस्थायें ही तो है निरंतर बदलते आदमी और मौसम की दोनो एक जैसे मर कर फिर जन्म लेते हैं
Behind a “strong and tough ” personality, that Dr. Kurien exuded he was actually a very kind hearted person!
Once in the NDDB Goregaon campus, we all NDDBians witnessed Dr. Kurien’s child like simplicity. We did not have mobile phones with camera those days in 1990’s and we missed capturing on camera those moments.
Dr. Kurien arrived that evening after a busy day in meetings in Mumbai and his car stopped in front of the of the multi-storey residential complex. He was to stay that night at the NDDB guest house on the tenth floor.
The moment his driver opened the back door of his car for Dr. Kurien to alight, campus kids who were playing nearby swarmed around and almost hijacked the car, They started entering the car, almost locking Dr. Kurien inside. This happened within seconds. Dr. Kurien had to literally struggle to get out of the car
Heroes of NDDB Gorengaon campus ( 1990’s)
They are all now professionals .. doctors, engineers, computer engineers, chartered accountants etc making their parents of 1990 Kurien era proud and happy
Thereafter, Dr. Kurien personally assisted one by one a few more children standing around to get into the car almost pushing them inside his car.
He then asked the driver to give the children a joy ride in the campus.
Having done that he slowly walked in his “slow pace confident” typical Kurien walk towards the lift, looking at us with a satisfying smile writ large on his face.
One afternoon Dr.Kurien and Miss Patel stayed at Goregaon Guest House on They we’re leaving next early morning on a visit abroad. In the evening both came down and were walking towards Dr.Madhavan’s bungalow .
Dr.Kurien called one of the children from among those playing nearby and asked him if he can escort him to Dr Madhavan’s house.
Like a good boy, he caught Dr. Kurien’s finger and started walking on the long step walk leading to Dr. Madhvan’s bungalow.
Miss Patel was following Dr. Kurien led by the child. After walking some distance the child suddenly let loose Dr.Kurien’s finger and told Dr. Kurien in a voice filled with confidence “Uncle ji up aakele chale jaiyen, mere ko khelna hai.” (अंकल जी आप अकेले चले जाएँ मेरे को खेलना है).
Saying this within seconds the child left Dr. Kurien to join his other playmates.
Many of us who were nearby witnessed this amusing incident.
Miss. Patel told Dr. Kurien in her usual style “Why did you disturb the child from his play, let us walk down ourselves to Dr. Madhavan’s house!”
Contributed by Dipankar Chattopadhyaya; NDDB 1977 / 2010
Sabarmati Ashram Gaushalap was handed over for management to National Dairy Development Board on 1 July 1973.It is a place full of history as it was associated with Mahatma Gandhi and managed by a charitable trust set up during Gandhi ji’s early years in Gujarat. It had a vast area of some 815 acres of land at Ahmedabad and Bidaj in Kheda district.
Every story has to have a beginning
I joined NDDB in 1977 as Asstt.Executive. I was assigned the role of trainer in Artificial Insemination and veterinary first Aid. I was posted at Sabarmati Ashram Gaushala Project (SAGP), Ahmedabad and after a few months assigned to FO & AH Division at Anand.
SAGP Ahmedabad was quite a hot seat as the Chairman and many VIP dignitaries visiting NDDB would have a transit stay at SAGP ,Ahmedabad. In addition all the liaison work in Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar for NDDB was being done from SAGP, Ahmedabad. Thus it was not only training that I was expected to handle but was also often called upon to handle emergency liason tasks as a part of my job.
A frozen semen bank was established at SAGP Ahmedabad for distributing frozen semen to Co-operative dairies of Gujarat.
The semen station was later shifted to SAGP, Bidaj some 34 km from Ahmedabad in a remote place where a full fledged frozen semen lab was started along with a large liquid nitrogen plant for the preservation of semen.
Subsequently in 1981, the Training centre was also shifted to SAGP, Bidaj and I was transferred as Manager Training to Bidaj. I used to conduct training in AI and Veterinary First Aid , Frozen Semen Handling for the technicians and also assist in other programs conducted at Bidaj.
Bidaj a great place of learning for veterinarians
However, I was happy for a reason. Bidaj was a real heaven for veterinarian to learn all aspects of their profession. Bidaj had a large herd of Jersey cows in the Jersey Bull Mother Farm, a cattle breeding complex consisting of ultra modern semen freezing lab, semen bank, liquid nitrogen plants and a large agriculture farm for cultivation of fodder and other crops. I thought God had sent an opportunity knocking at my door and I grabbed it by both of my hands !
It was an obvious set back for my family and children as there was a drastic change in their life style. Children had to commute from Bidaj to Ahmedabad for their schooling and there were hardly any means for of entertainment because the place was quite secluded.
My boss was at SAGP Bidaj, Dr.BM Bhatt, Project Manager, was a veterinary professional and nutritionist wedded to Gandhian values and culture.
Besides train8g I was interested in Animal Management as well. Earlier after after my graduation, I had served for few years as lecturer at Gujarat Veterinary College, Anand in clinical subjects. I was deeply interested in learning more in clinical diagnostic and treatment practices.Therefore, after scheduled hours of training, I used to visit the cattle farm assist in clinical aspects. I also participated in discussion in technical matters with panel of managers who were looking after Jersey bull mother farm.
Basically ,exotic animals are very sensitive to infectious viral diseases like Foot and Mouth Disease, Rinder Pest ,etc. We were very strict about hygiene and sanitation measures because we had precious Jersey and Holstein Fresian bulls in the Semen station.
We used to follow regular vaccination schedule.simultaneously, we had to keep strict vigil over nutrition aspect for building immunity and bring about right age of maturity for breeding without wasting time and resources as per the prescribed scientific farm practices. Due to my special interest, my boss Dr.Bhatt used to allot me to study nutritional aspect of the farm relating to viability. In addition ,I had a self interest in the operation of milking machine. I was very much attached to animals. I would keenly observe the machine milking process and over time developed the ability to guess even from a distance malfunction in the milking machine unit from its pulsation !
No place is safe; Footand mouth disease outbreak
It was in 1982-83 some Jersey cows at the farm showed symptoms of Foot and Mouth disease.This was a warning bell for the impending crisis. We had to rescue other animals from the ghastly disease as it is so dangerous that its virus could travel for miles and survive in air to take other animals in its vicious grip ,causing severe economic loss in production however, mortality rate is low.
On a war footing ,we started implementing the action plan under the guidance of Dr. Mathew from the Jersey farm of Gujarat Agricultural University ,Anand. He made me Incharge for taking care and management of diseased animals with a team of assistants.
Initially, we segregated animals in three groups, healthy, suspected and affected. Entry of people to the segregated area was restricted and foot bath was kept near the entry point as a preventive measure. I prioritised the treatment of severely affected animals, washing their mouths with mild potassium permanganate solution. It was so severe that one cant even see the burning pain, smacking sound of lips, clutching teeth beside excessive salvation due to ulcer in the mouth. The foul odour from the mouth of animals was unbearable creating a vomiting sensation.
I demonstrated the process to be followed on some animals and asked my assistants to repeat the process of mouth washing for other animals. But their faces were dim showing disinterest and reluctance and they continued to stay away from the animals. Without taking any notice of their attitude and not reacting I told them just to observe.
Empathy and love help win battles
I then explained to them the silent suffering and severe pain that the animals were going through.. How selfish and merciless are we now backing out from serving them even though we know fully well that we earn our bread and butter because of those animals. I was some what emotional in my monologue.
I then saw some of my assistants with tears in their eye for the suffering of those poor animals. After a short pause, two team me,bets came forward, held the can of medicine and rubber tube and silently started washing mouths of some animals. A kind of miracle then happened and gradually all the assistants came forward to wash the mouth of suffering animals. One of them said to me “Sir, you are our team leader and did this job of mouth washing on 9 animals in front of us without reacting to us or scolding us then why can’t we do this after all the animals need us most at this moment ‘!
They also observed at times I would skip my lunch and remain engrossed in treatment of suffering animals. Even When I went for my lunch, I was not able to eat as I had image of those poor suffering animals at the back of my mind and rushed back to take care of them. Many nights went sleepless as I would visit the farm to see the status of animals, incase they need any help and support.
Gradually ,the virus that was gripping our farm animals receded due to isolation,quarantine and preventive care on war footing. That made the difference and spread of virus was restricted to certain extent.
To add fuel to raging fire on the fourth day of the Foot and Mouth disease breakout some of the bulls started stamping their feet and that was an indication that bulls were affected with feet symptoms having ulcers in their hooves.
Who will bell the cat ! Our bulls were quite heavy and ferocious. It was difficult for many to go near them! It was my maiden experience to treat bulls in such a situation. However, I was not a stranger to the bulls as being a Jack of all trades at the farm sometimes I used to collect semen when the need arose.
Many of my team mates wore a fearful expression and stood away in a circle. I approached the diseased bull from one side slowly patted on the neck of a dithen gradually taking my hand on his abdomen and hind leg region and held the hoof with help of a rope. Fortunately for me the bull remained still without any resistance. I then washed the hooves and applied medicines. The bull stood like a tamed dog !
Other bulls in the yard were looking to this scene and to my astonishment, I treated the feet lesion of 4 bulls, this event confirmed a belief that I had that though the animals may or may not have thinking ability but they very well recognise a safe and kind touch full of love !
This injected confidence in my team members and we treated all the sixteen affected bulls with daily dressing without getting injury from the bulls to anyone!
It reminds me the story of Androcles and the lion. How the lion recognised Androcles for a favour of pulling out a thorn from his paw !
We were able to control the disease in a short span of time and prevented production loss.
It was a great learning about how dedication fetches contentment in life at the same time, compassion and kindness leave magic impact on animals !
I developed severe headache and had to seek advice from our “famous” Dr.Ashabhai. Those days he used to sit in Amul campus, as there was no dispensary in NDDB campus He prescribed Vitamin B-12 injections for five consecutive days. He asked me to come and visit the dispensary at Amul Campus between 3 pm and 5 pm for the same.
Obviously Shekhar could come out from office during those hours and I had to go alone.
Fortunately Anand Municipality had just started operating their bus service on a trial basis from Jagnath Mahadev to Railway Station. It took a circular route alternate once via Amul and then via Anand City City.
I was to take the 2.15 pm bus (via Amul) from Jagnath and return by 3.30 pm bus from Amul.
This was to be my first travel alone. My grandfather did not allow me to go out alone and in Anand, I always ventured out with Shekhar. But Shekhar so confidently told me to go alone that I could not explain to him my nervous state of mind.
First day I started with a prayer and I could reach Amul. And then with the help of Security personnel, I could reach Dr.Ashabhai’s dispensary. As the injection was rather painful, he asked me to take some rest before returning. With fear in mind about missing the bus, I reached Amul gate and was waiting near the Security Cabin for the bus.
At this time, a car coming from Amul stopped at the gate and I saw Dr.Kurien calling me to get into the car. In the car he enquired about the reason behind my standing at the Amul gate. I, with lot of fear, told him about the injection matter.
When he heard about B-12 injection, was unhappy that I am taking a bus so soon without taking proper rest. Second day, I did not want him to see me.
That was his returning time to NDDB after lunch. I tried to hide behind the Security Cabin. But suddenly, his driver (Dhanji) came to me and told me that Dr.Kurien was calling me. So, he dropped me that day also.
While getting down from the car at his office, he told me that I should wait at the dispensary itself for the next three days after taking the injection and his driver would pick me up before picking him up.
That was just like any father would have done to his daughter. So, I enjoyed the trip for the remaining days.
On the fifth day, after getting down from the car, I could not even say “Thank you” and tears started rolling from my eyes. He smiled and told me to go home and take rest and also asked me to tell Shekhar to pay Rs.5, one rupee per day.
I could just waive my hand and stood spellbound with gratitude to him and to God. Thereafter, I could slowly come out from my fear and nervous attitude, developed courage to go out alone. My approach to life changed.
Later after Soma and Joy were born, whenever we were walking around the campus and Dr.Kurien & Mrs.Kurien were passing by, they would invariably stop the car, get down from the car and bless the children. Great moments with a great man and his wife.
My last meeting with Dr.Kurien
After Shekhar’s retirement, we came to Bhubaneshwar when Joy was doing his MBA at IIT, Kharagpur.
After completion of his MBA, he joined Tata Motors, Pune in 2004. In 2006, he was selected as a Tata Administrative Service (TAS) officer and was posted at Tata Capital, Mumbai. In 2007, we also shifted to Mumbai.
During our stay in Mumbai, Dr.Kurien was admitted at Beach Candy Hospital and no one was allowed to visit him without Mrs.Kurien’s permission.
But we could get the permission with the help of Mr.Kulkarni of GCMMF, Mumbai. We went to see him. Mrs.Kurien was also there. Dr. was taking rest. After our arrival, Mrs.Kurien woke him up.
We were very sad to see him in that condition but his eyes were as bright as before. He recognised us both and asked about our welfare. He even asked me if I was still continuing with the dance school. With tears in my eyes, I touched his feet and he blessed us.
Doctor had allowed only 5 minutes for seeing him. We then came out along with Mrs.Kurien and had a long chat in the corridor outside the room before we took leave from her.
Dr. Kurien breathed his last on 9 September 2012.
When he gave me lift in his car and when I was going to Amul Dispensary for taking injections, he had asked me to tell Shekhar to pay Rs.5 for the service. We did not pay.
But since then, whenever I go to a temple I drop five rupees in the donation box in his name.
Dr.Kurien’s Anand was like my “Maika” where we both and our children grew.
The world knows Dr. V Kurien as a very intelligent and dynamic person with a great presence of mind. But not many people know how loving and caring he was. This quality of his keeps him alive for ever in the memories of ordinary people like me. The way he dealt with me, can be expected only from a fatherly figure. In the back of my mind I always had a wish that I should, one day, be able to share my experience with him with everyone. I could then tell them how loving and affectionate he was.
My sincere thanks to all the organisers of the Get-together, 2020 who gave me an opportunity to do so in front of the audience who had gathered at NDDB, Anand on February 15 2020.
I write this experience with tears in my eyes and with my gratitude to Dr. Kurien.
After my marriage in 1974, I came to the NDDB campus at the age of 18 and right from day one I was in love with the campus and its residents. After a few days of my arrival, one of Shekhar’s close friend working in Amul Chocolate Factory (Biswajit Mitra) came to meet us and we all decided walk to a cinema hall near Lotia Bhagol to watch a movie.
As we reached the NDDB gate, a big car stopped near us and the gentleman in the car brought down the window glass and asked Shekhar where are you going? When Shekhar told that we are going to a movie theatre he and all of us to get in the car saying that he will drop us near the hall. Shekhar got in and we followed.
Till then, I had not seen Dr. Kurien. As the car moved, he started talking to Shekhar who was sitting in the front seat. Such a big car was new to us and in the back seat, Biswajit and I were busy thinking as to how we will iopen the door when we reach the destination. Biswajit was worried that if he is not able to open the door he may lose his Amul job !!
Then, it struck me that this man must be Dr.Kurien or else who would have such a sophisticated car in Anand. I could not ask Shekhar also because Dr.Kurien was watching us on the car mirror.
As if Dr. Kurien sensed our dilemma and turned back and said with a smile “Whatever you do has to be perfect and also you only have to find your way out.”
We did not understand. When we reached the hall, Shekhar smoothly came out of the car and we were thinking what to do. Then we heard a click sound and saw the lock of the car door (It was a car with central locking device). So, we just pushed the lever and came out of the car.
He smiled at us and went away. We happily went to the hall, watched the movie and returned home.
But those words of Dr.Kurien still are in the ears of my mind. What a man he was, he could see perfection even in opening of a car door.
Almost one month had passed since my return to Anand and then one fine day I received a direct message from the Chairman’s office asking me to meet Dr. Kurien at 11 am.
Surprised and wondering why am I being called to meet the Chairman I went to Dr. Chothani and told him about the message I had received. He gave me just a nod. He probably knew the purpose behind that message.
I went to Chairman’s Office five minutes before time. Shailendra Kumar (SK), who was the then Executive Assistant to the Chairman asked me to be seated. As I waited I could hear the Chairman’s voice in high pitch coming from his cabin.
No, it is not your turn
At 11 am sharp I thought I should go inside. SK also suggested that I could go inside the Chairman’s chamber.
But the moment I opened the door I heard the voice ..” No, it is Not your Turn.”
Taken aback I returned to my seat and waited for few minutes. One more attempt by me and the same thing happened . “No It is Not your Turn.” This time his voice was high.
I didn’t know what to do. Then SK told me that Shekhar Roy was inside and Chairman was upset over certain issues. SK asked me to wait patiently till he got indication. I kept quiet.
Some more minutes and then I was called in the Chairman’s chamber.
Once inside I noticed the scene had completely changed.
And when it was my turn the unexpected happened
There he was the Chairman NDDB in altogether different mood welcoming me. ” Come on Dr. Naware, have a seat. ” he said. As I heard him I felt relaxed and honored. I sat in front of him.
” I am told you have worked under difficult conditions in Jalgaon. I want to put you in still difficult conditions. Would you like to go to Israel ? ” Dr. Kurien asked.
Somewhat surprised I remember saying “Yes Sir. I would love to go. I would like to see how they have developed Israeli Friesian breed of cows.”
” Do you eat beef ? “. ” Perhaps you may have to eat it there.
” Sir I don’t mind ” I said.
” But remember when you go there a war may be going on, bombing from the air could happen.” He said.
Probably he wanted to examine my reaction. But I was fearless.Then he narrated how Israelis and Arabs are brothers from the same clan but fighting for each others’ lives.
“In a war like situation I do not know whether you will go. But I know I recommend you. And if you go there meet the Dairy Chief of Israel, I forgot his name but get his name and other details from Shailendra.” He said and the meeting was over.
As I came outside I was in air. I straightway went to Dr. Chothani to give him the ‘news’. He was no doubt aware of it. He handed over to me the letter received from Indo-Israel Cultural Association, Ahmedabad requesting for deputation of one officer who could join a group of 15 persons whose visit to Israel was cleared at Non Govt. level by Govt. of India.
Dr. Chothani asked me to take steps to obtain Passport and undergo vaccination etc. The process began on the same day. I contacted that Association to obtain all the details. I personally went to Ahmedabad and handed over the cheque for required amount to cover the expenses. As suggested by Dr. Chothani I also met Shri Tribhuvandas Patel at his residence and told him about my visit to Israel. I was fortunate to have his elderly advice and blessings.
In the beginning our plan was to go there in November 77 and accordingly I made all preparations. But due to extreme weather conditions in Israel the visit was just postponed. As the next schedule of departure was unknown NDDB decided to transfer me to the newly opened Regional Office at Bangalore. From there I was to go to Israel and I was looking forward to it.
Travel to Israel
Finally it was on 26th April 1978 that our group boarded Alitalia Jumbo Jet flight from Bombay to Tel Aviv. It took about five hours to land there in the morning. Our group (2 ladies and 14 gents) comprised a Professor, School teachers, a Librarian, a Commercial Photographer, a Director of a cooperative bank, few Progressive farmers- one prominent dairy farmer in them- and two College students. I can say I only had technical background.
On arrival we found that a large size bus had come for us at the airport. Person who had come to receive us was also driving it. Within 30 minutes we reached Mishmar Hasharon, a kibbutz 30 km north of Tel Aviv. This was the place of our stay for next 35 days and the Kibbutz was our host. We were there as volunteers willing to work for 6 hours a day and they would offer lodging, boarding and limited travel in return. On the first day we didn’t understand all about that but the things became clear day by day.
In Hebrew Kibbutz is commune. At that time in Israel typically a kibbutz had 150 families staying together on the land obtained on long lease. The families with common country origin joined there and agreed to work 8 hours a day doing every kind of work as may be required in rotation. In return the kibbutz offered them complete housing, food, clothing, medical aid and children’ education till matriculation on the basis of equality. The kibbutz had common kitchen and the food cooked there was for the whole community and no family expected to cook at home. The kibbutz would manage lands and undertake agricultural farming, dairying, poultry, horticulture, floriculture, fish pond, horticulture etc and as they progressed they would diversify into commercial activity like manufacture of furniture, electronics , animal feeds, drugs etc. Between number of kibbutzim (plural) the transaction was on barter basis with adjustments for each give and take . At apex level each kibbutz became member in the Federation of Kibbutz Movement which would settle matters between members.
This Federation also undertook those activities which a single kibbutz was unable to do like running Colleges, Hospitals, Cattle Feed Plants etc. A family could join kibbutz with no entrance fee and could not take away anything if they left. In kibbutz there was no currency involved and it was a cashless society. At that time there were 250 kibbutzim in Israel. The Government classified them as Cooperative Societies.
A unique cooperative arrangement for 24X7 cooperative living round the year. It can be said that only Israelis can do that !
Our kibbutz Mishmar Hasharon was established by Polish immigrants who spoke Yiddish language. They had 200 acres of land on lease and they were growing oranges, grape fruits, cotton etc, had a fish pond with carp fish, a nursery growing saplings in pouches, a poultry farm and most importantly a commercial bakery supplying daily bread to over 100 kibbutzim.
Kibbutz population was around 450 and they used to take volunteers up to 150 during harvest time. Other attraction was that the kibbutz had Hebrew teaching school (Ulpan) where volunteers would receive tuitions in Hebrew language that qualified them to get admission in the University there. The kibbutz had mechanized laundry, excellent community kitchen (fully mechanized) and a big dining hall. Only six seven persons working there cooked food for entire kibbutz. The meals were Vegetarian, non vegetarian and for Diabetic people.
During our stay we all were assigned various duties. Sometimes the whole group worked together like harvesting oranges from trees using aluminum ladder and cutter with a bag on the shoulder. We removed weeds from cotton field. I worked in bakery production line and cleaned its chimney by sand paper. One day I went in a van to deliver bread at number of locations. I worked in nursery shifting the saplings from one place to other. I cleaned poultry house. We all worked in dining hall for clean up and arranging tables for next meal. It was incredibly different lifestyle and many of us learnt dignity of labour there. To go round the places for professional gain I volunteered to work in night shifts.
During our stay we dined as we liked. We were lodged in a barrack and provided with camp cots, bed sheets, blanket etc. We had access to their swimming pool also. In community dining hall they held cultural programs and film shows in the week end. We participated in all those activities.
I enjoyed living in Kibbutz and getting familiar with the social life and the way economic activities were structured among kibbutzim. I was keen to add to my professional knowledge but to have exposure to any professional learning it was necessary for me to take immediate steps. Dr. Amrita Patel had told me to contact one Dr. Pipano in Veterinary College, Tel Aviv and to get the details on Theileria Vaccine developed by him.
I had to do something and explore possibilities of exposure to professional learning.
I had to make headway somewhere. I sent a post card addressed to the Dairy Chief of Israel and sent it to Tel Aviv not even knowing exactly where that office was. I also posted a card to Dr. Pipano at Veterinary College, Bet Dagan.
To my surprise on the very next day by 10 am a telephone call was received in kibbutz office. The person working in office was surprised. I was called from the work place. The caller from Ministry told me about my post card and invited me to their office in Tel Aviv and also gave the details of how to reach there. The caller also spoke to the office person and he must have asked him to guide me.
Yes, I had broken the ice.
Next day I went to Tel Aviv before time and found the building where office was located. I had no problem whatsoever and at 10 am I entered the room of the Dairy Chief. There was one more person sitting by his side. When I said that I am from NDDB that is chaired by Dr. Vergese Kurien there was good response from the boss ” Well that’s familiar name ! ” he said.
Then they exchanged few sentences in Hebrew and asked my interests. Then and there they finalized our group’s visit to Tel Aviv Dairy and also to Tel Aviv station of Hebrew University Jerusalem. They also noted certain places where I alone could go separately. For me the meeting was most fruitful.
In next few days our entire group visited Tel Aviv dairy that was handling one million liters of milk per day at that time and had just introduced fruit yoghurts. We went to Hebrew University one afternoon and spent time in Horticulture and Water Management departments since the farmers in our group had specific questions to ask there. For both these trips our kibbutz gave their bus.
My solo visits
Now about my solo visits to various places. As stated earlier in order to make such visits possible I worked in night shifts and obtained permission each time. The kibbutz management was also generous to respond well and helped me by telling how to reach to those places.
1- Veterinary College Bet Dagan :
In response to my post card the Veterinary College informed me that Dr. Pipano was abroad and on his return I could expect a call from him. It really happened one day as Dr. Pipano himself spoke to me over phone and fixed my visit to his department. He showed me his laboratory where he had raised different species of ticks for vaccine production. He gave me number of research papers authored by him and expressed willingness to supply a thousand doses of Theileria vaccine to India (via Australia) which according to him could have been effective in India. I was overwhelmed by helpful nature of this great scientist who was pioneer in that vaccine. ( I understand that later on this offer was turned down by Government of India).
2- Israel Cattle Breeders’ Association :
One afternoon I visited the office of ICBA in Tel Aviv. Tsvi Marks, the manager had sent me a letter giving each and every detail as to how to reach there. We had discussion at length about how the Israeli Friesian breed was developed and how average production level of 8000 kg per cow per year was achieved by selective breeding, rigorous culling and maintaining the national herd of cows at one lakh five thousand only. He gave me a copy of their book titled ‘ Dairy Farming in Israel ‘ (which is still with me as a souvenir).
3 -AI Centre, Saarid :
One day I took a long bus ride and was out for more than half a day to visit the kibbutz named Saarid which was running Artificial Insemination Centre for Israel North. I only remember that a very old Veterinarian was managing it and they were freezing bull semen in form of tablets and not in straws.
4 – Animal Disease Control Office :
One day I went by public bus to northern city Hadera to meet one Dr. Aharoni who was the Cattle Disease Control Officer of Israel. He gave me lot of information as to how the tick borne diseases were controlled by traditional method of passing animals through dips and of late by vaccinating them. However, according to him many dairy farms there needed better hygiene.
Although I visited the above mentioned places I felt it necessary to visit some dairy farms as well so as to get a first hand feel of the way dairy farms were run.. As our kibbutz did not have a dairy farm I had to visit other places and look for dairy farms. The dairy farms that I was able to visit were small with 30 or 40 cows, fed scientifically with complete feeds and machine milked. They also had technical advisory service for issues related to feeding and breeding of animals.
We were in Israel only for 35 days. Within that period I could cover these technical aspects. Kibbutz also made arrangements to show us Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Dead Sea.
Every story has an end
All above in just 35 days. With this rich experience I returned to Bangalore in early June.
I sent my Tour Report with all the details to Head Office. When it was put up to Dr. M. N. Menon, Ex Animal Husbandry Commissioner (GOI) holding Chair for Animal Husbandry in NDDB ; his reaction was …” How it can be ? Nobody can go to Israel ”
But I had been to Israel in 1978 !
Contributed by Dr Mukund Naware NDDB 1972 – 1986. He spent five years in field and was in RO Bangalore, for more than eight years. He was also Manager (Procurement) for F& V Project, Mother Dairy, Delhi during 1985-1986.
I was posted at NDDB, Anand during 1997 to 2000. At Anand, I was working under Dr. N. V. Belawadi in the Cooperative Services Group. This group was successor to the dealt with erstwhile Farmers Organisation(FO) Group. Like many other colleagues I too I had the privilege of having been a part of both the Groups.
While in the of Farmers Organisation focus was on formation of cooperatives at village, district and state level, the activities of Cooperative Services Group mainly pertained to training of village level functionaries of milk cooperatives, empowerment of milk producers, management committee members, village dairy co-operative employees and especially organization of women milk producers for their empowerment.
In addition to these activities, our job was also to look after the guest house, hostel, receiving NDDB guests, library, up keeping of training facilities etc.
Whenever there was any important guest was visited Anand, we used to receive the guest, brief him and show him around the activities of Amul, NDDB, Operation Flood programme etc. One of the crucial parts of the guests programme was to “Debrief” Dr. Kurien” about who was the guest, why the guest was visiting Anand, and most importantly, which questions the guest was likely to ask Dr. Kurien, when the guest was to meet Dr. Kurien in person. This was the most difficult task because how one would know which type of questions the guest would ask Dr. Kurien.
On this particular occasion, one “Missionary” from Chattisgarh was visiting Anand. I was asked to accompany him. As usual, I took him to nearby Anand Pattern village Dairy cooperatives society then to Amul dairy, and briefed him as usual about OF programme, Amul dairy, and NDDB. He seemed to be very impressed. He was particularly asking several questions about training to milk producers, and how milk union could become viable in commercial activities. By now, I knew that, when he meets Dr. Kurien, he would ask funds for training of milk producers and organization of milk union in Chhattisgarh. Incidentally, he was running a NGO which probably would have worked as the implementing agency.
In the afternoon, before he met Dr. Kurien, I had already one setting with Dr. Kurien wherein, I debriefed about what missionary was likely to ask him. After listening to me, he said you should also sit in the meeting along with him and further cautioned me that we were not going to give any fund to the Missionary.
The Missionary came at the scheduled time for meeting Dr. Kurien. For a while they talked about various topics and in the end, he asked for assistance from NDDB.
Dr. Kurien quickly realized what the missionary had to say.
Dr. Kurien was a true Indian. He was first Indian, and afterwards, a Keralite or a Christian. Although born in a Christian family from Kerala, he would say “ I am a Gujarati and an atheist !”
To conclude, Dr. Kurien said that, NDDB had a mandate to help only co-operatives, and therefore, funds could not be made available for his NGO and at the most, NDDB could train some of his trainers, and that was the end of the meeting.
Some misguided zealots who erroneously think of him being partisan towards Christians must understand that Dr. Kurien did not have double standards.
He refused to grant funds to the Missionary organization and I was a witness to that.
Contributed by Dr. DV Ghanekar NDDB 1974- 2009 and Kolhapur Milk Producers Union 2009 continuing
However, even while having been a part of the American block during the Cold War Pakistan dabbled and engaged with China as evident from these lines posted on Wikipedia.
“Pakistan has served as China’s main bridge to theIslamic world, and also played an important role in bridging the communication gap between the PRC and the West by facilitatingU.S. PresidentRichard Nixon‘shistoric 1972 visitto China.The relations between Pakistan and China have been described by Pakistan’s ambassador to China as “higher than the mountains, deeper than the oceans, stronger than steel, dearer than eyesight, sweeter than honey, and so on.””
This article brings out an interesting perspective on friendship between these two countries Pakistan and China.
Staying in NDDB hostel was an extremely pleasing experience from the days of Manibhuvan, where we had to observe some discipline-at least in terms of the time for waking up and store water in drums and buckets as municipal water supply timings were very odd.
In the hostel, we had the luxury of getting up at leisure as long as we made it to the office in time.
Office in time! Yes, I can talk about myself, I mean my routine.
Once Raoji took responsibility of the hostel mess, life became more cozy. I never locked the door from inside.I used to get my morning tea served in my room (no.23, south-west corner room in the old hostel). He would leave the cup near my bed, wake me up with साहेब, चाय पीलो and close the door behind while leaving. I never bothered to look at the watch, but gulped the tea while half asleep and promptly went to sleep again. It happened day after day after…..
Raoji would then come in again at 9.30 am to collect the cup and announce, साहेब नाश्ता तैयार है, and that was the real alarm. I would rush to the bathroom – thankfully I didn’t have to share it with anyone- and get ready in 20 minutes. Raoji knew that I will be down by 9.50 am so he kept the breakfast ready and served it as soon as I sat on the chair.
Eight minutes were enough to finish the breakfast and at 10 sharp, I would be in the office. Life was great- sleep late, wake up late, still make it to office in time, have a hot lunch in the hostel with the hostlers and officers/staff who commuted from Baroda/Ahmedabad and opted to eat a hot lunch in the hostel.
It was all going very well, no tension of cleaning the room and attached bathroom, no tension to search for food, sleep late and till late on Sundays and other holidays, eat hot lunch and dinner and for me especially, a plate full of fried green chilies lightly sprinkled with salt with each meals etc.
The pampering was at it’s peak and I was really getting used to this rather unnatural lifestyle.
I wished it had lasted a little longer, but after a few months, I was allotted D-11. Life had gone full circle and days to sleep on floor returned unexpectedly. Since we had moved to furnished accommodations on the campus, I had disposed off whatever little furniture I had. So, I was left without a cot, without a bedding and pillow and with it went out the privilege of morning tea by the bedside. No stove, hot plate or cooking gas, so dependence on hostel tea was now with a difference-get up early, dress up, walk up to hostel and get your first tea.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner however continued as before. Life was still pretty Royal.
But even this privilege didn’t last long. The hostel mess was designed to cater 25 persons, but we were now close to 70 at lunch time there. It used to be quite chaotic as everyone wanted to quickly finish his lunch to be back in office in time. It was during one of these chaotic lunch times that Dr. Kurien walked in with a guest. He was taking him around and showing the facilities that gave NDDB campus it’s unique character.
When he came towards the dining side with the guest, he noticed quite a few of us having lunch while standing. It looked more like part buffet and part sit down lunch. The scene was quite chaotic with Raoji and his assistants running back and forth from kitchen to serve the hungry crowd.
When Dr. Kurien saw this, he asked, “How many of you stay in this hostel?”Few hands went up so he asked others, “What are you doing here?” “Having lunch sir, we eat here every day, someone replied.
“Are you not aware that the hostel kitchen is meant only for hostlers”?
And with this question, from that day, we lost the privilege of eating in the hostel mess.
So, in a short span of barely two months, from Royalty, I was on a barebones living in D-11, with floor to sleep on, and no cooked food to eat.
But life couldn’t go on like that. I picked up from where I had left when I shifted to Chummary. Set the bedroom first, got a gas connection and tried hands at cooking. I had never cooked before, but had keenly observed my mother cooking, so I had some idea of the process. Soon I learnt to cook vegetables and daal, and relished it with freshly baked bread from Ambrosia bakery located at Jagnath temple.
A couple of months later, a friend of mine from college visited me and I gave him a glimpse of my newly acquired culinary skills. He loved the food and asked me, “When did you learn to cook and who taught you “.
My one word answer left him scratching his head. I never elaborated on it and left him guessing.
Do you want to know who taught me? It might leave you scratching your head too, but guess who-Dr. Kurien. I know you are grinning…..
Towards the end of December 1976 NDDB decided to send a Spear Head Team (SHT) to Guntur district in Andhra Pradesh. The Feeder Balancing Dairy under Operation Flood – I was under construction at Vadlamudi ( popularly called Sangam ) and Dr. Chothani, Director (FO&AH) thought it was high time to start organizing Dairy Cooperative Societies on Anand pattern in Guntur.
I was made Team Leader Designate and other members were also identified with Dr. Sreemannarayan as second in command.
However, there was a hitch. Around the same time NDDB had also decided to send a Task Force to Jalgaon Dairy Project under the leadership of Shri R.D. Patel and I was to be a part of that group as well for a few weeks. Other members were Shri V.G.Tulpule and Shri M.N.Vyas. Accordingly I went to Jalgaon first and was to go from there to Guntur after three weeks.
So this time without the Team Leader SHT went ahead from Anand to Guntur in a Jeep . It took them two three days they reached Sangam and to get settled.
Soon they started moving around in the villages and began spade work.
The word spread that the NDDB team was at Sangam and soon a lot of new things would happen in villages and milk would be collected by Sangam ‘Paalpudi’ (milk powder) Factory. The idea of Farmers owning a Dairy was new to understand and it was our job to create that kind of awareness.
Felicitation of the team
When I reached Sangam I found that the field work had gathered momentum. Expectations were high and we thought it was better that the tempo continued. Just around that time the Govt. of Andhra Pradesh also nominated the Board Of Directors for Guntur Milk Union with Shri Y. Venkata Rao, MLA as Chairman.
When that nomination came the local politicians organized meetings in villages to felicitate the MLA and his team and also the SHT.
On a few occasions the MLA was taken on a bullock cart in a procession with musical instruments playing and so on. He was keen to know how we would organize our activities further. I narrated to him my experience in Jalgaon and he appreciated that the Sangam dairy would be benefited.
Farmers induction Programme
Because the sets of Milk Testing Equipment were not ready as yet, we were not able to organize and begin the milk collection. However, we had to go ahead with whatever was possible to do.
One such activity was Farmers’ Induction Program (FIP) under which we could send batches of farmers to visit Anand so that they could see Amul dairy and other activities. Luckily, Head Office had informed us the dates reserved for Guntur on which we could send the batches in that month. We decided to send the first batch on appointed dates. We identified the farmers from different villages to book their to and fro rail tickets.
At that time I realized one hurdle. We had no project fund and for that matter no Bank Account in the name of NDDB since the Board Resolution authorizing me to open and operate the bank account has not been received.
What is more, it would have taken few weeks for that to happen. So we had to work out some alternative arrangement. Then Mukund Naware came to the rescue of SHT and he offered personal funds. There was some shortfall and that was contributed by Dr. Sreemannarayan, Advance was shown on Receipt side in our Cash Book and we went ahead to purchase railway tickets for ten farmers.
Then another hurdle came. We were informed that in the NDDB’s Farmers’ Hostel there was pressure on FIPs and we should cancel the visit of farmers from Guntur.
The letter said.. you know we consider farmers as our honored guests and during their visit we would not like them to be put to any inconvenience etc.etc….
I didn’t agree to those contents since I knew how farmers live in villages against all odds. So I decided to insist for the visit and wrote a straight letter to Dr. Chothani, requesting that alternate staying arrangements may be made outside NDDB campus and if need be, even in Baroda ; but cancellation of the visit of the very first batch from Guntur would damage our credibility.
That SOS letter worked well and we got instant approval to send the first batch as scheduled ! When the batch actually left from Vijayawada station Shri Venkata Rao MLA was there to see them off. By that time he had come to know that the farmers were traveling on the money spared by Mukund Naware and Sreemannarayan and he openly appreciated that.
Move back to Anand
Well begun is half done, they say ! It happened with our activities in Guntur and we received a good response from the farmers. Our activities continued as we progressed.
Sometime in August or September, I received orders to return to Head Office and Dr. Sreemanannarayan was to continue there as Team Leader. We could foresee that it would take couple of weeks before NDDB authorized him to operate the Bank Account. Hence it was decided that I sign some crossed cheques and that could give coverage for a month or two. Looking at our experience in the beginning we thought it was the best option.
With that arrangement I returned to Anand.
After about a month and half Dr. Chothani called me to his cabin and handed over one Audit Note received from Audit wing. He suggested that I should go and personally explain the objection raised by them.
Mukund, now explain why did you do what you did in good faith ?
It said that Mukund Naware was operating Sangam SHT’s Bank account even after his withdrawal ! One Auditor had just visited Sangam and put up his findings in writing. “When I went there I was told that cheques were found signed and issuing them when Mukund was not there amounts to his operating the Account and it was irregular” .
My arguments, … that in good faith.. so as not to hamper field activity ..were not acceptable to them but they cautioned me to avoid such things in future.
However, I felt happy that the Auditor had not pointed out Mukund Naware’s mixing of personal fund with NDDB’s funds to purchase rail tickets for farmers as reflected in the very beginning of the Cash Book.
Contributed by Dr Mukund Naware NDDB 1972 – 1986. He spent five years in field and was in RO Bangalore, for more than eight years. He was also Manager (Procurement) for F& V Project, Mother Dairy, Delhi during 1985-1986.