Journey with Shri Manibhai Desai

- Dr. Mukund Naware 

It is to be noted that on that day in October 1969 in entire India at only one place under the auspices of Indo Swiss Project at Mattupatty Artificial Insemination Programme with Frozen Semen in the Project Area had been started in project area by 1965 , and in the entire Kerala state by 1969 !

However, there was not a single Milk Packing Machine in any Dairy in any sector.

“It was on 15th October 1969 that I received a message from Nagpur Veterinary College, where I had studied as a student, informing me that Shri Manibhai Desai from Uruli Kanchan was visiting the college for selecting fresh graduates for Bhartiya Agro Industries Foundation (BAIF).

By that time I had only heard the name of Shri Manibhai Desai but was not aware about BAIF and it’s activities. However, since I received a separate message from the Professor of Gynecology recommending that I must avail the opportunity, in about a week I attended the interview held in Principal’s Chamber.

The interview panel comprised Shri Manibhai Desai and his two colleagues. They had travelled all the way from Pune to Nagpur by ambassador car. During my interview he hardly asked any questions. He, however, shared with me a lot of information about BAIF and it’s future programs. He said that the ICAR had recognized BAIF as a Research Foundation and it would be possible for employees to take up field problems and pursue studies leading to award of MVSc.

After the Interview he announced that I have been selected as a Trainee Officer for 6 months. He said arrangements for training of those selected had been made in Bombay Veterinary College and then at Aarey Milk Colony after which we were finally to be trained at IVRI, Izzatnagar. On completion of raining the post of Veterinary Officer was to be offered with salary at par with Govt. Since the job had come almost to my doorstep I showed my willingness to join the BAIF on those terms. ” You will not be our employee, but you will be a member of our team.” He said. I was very much impressed and encouraged by his statement. He asked me to to reach Mumbai and meet him at Adarsh Dugdhalaya, Malad on the date just falling four days after the date of interview and a formal Appointment Letter would be given there. I agreed to those terms and thus my journey with BAIF began.

On the third day I left for Mumbai by train and stayed overnight with my relatives.

Next day by 10 am, I went to Malad by local train and then took a Bus to reach Adarsh Dugdhalaya. I found that a group of persons was already there waiting for Shri Manibhai Desai to arrive. Among the trustees of Adarsh Dugdhalaya one was called Keshavbhai alias Keso Kaka. Dr. C.R. Sane, Prof. of Gynecology, Bombay Veterinary College was also there along with a group of six Trainee Officers selected from amongst the fresh graduates of Bombay Veterinary College. I was the only graduate having come all the way from Nagpur.

Shri Manibhai Desai arrived there by 11 am as we were getting introduced to each other and engaging in small talk. Two persons who had to accompany him on the tour, Dattoba Kanchan and Dr. Arun Phatak were also there. When he came out of his car Shri Manibhai was happy to see me. Immediately we proceeded to a hall where sitting arrangement was made in Indian style.

In a very informal way the meeting began. After his welcome by the trustees Shri Manibhai Desai introduced his entire team to the trustees. He said few sentences about his visit to Nagpur and my selection.

Then he said about the necessity of increasing productivity of cows and the support he was getting from institutes keeping cows (Panjarpol) and other agencies like Cooperative Sugar Factories.

The discussion that followed was mostly in Gujarati but surprisingly I was able to follow it. Prof. Sane was also supporting Manibhai’s view point that the cross breeding of cows with Jersey and Holstein breeds was better option to achieve progress in a short duration rather than going by method of selective breeding. Shri Manibhai Desai told about the donor agencies who had come forward to provide frozen semen for this program. However, Prof Sane said that it was necessary for the field staff to identify problems of infertility in cows so that frozen semen was used only after addressing to that problem. Shri Manibhai then explained his arithmetic that a farmer in sugarcane dominated area can grow leguminous fodder like lucerne and maintain four crossbred cows per acre of land and this way he can earn more profit than he would get from one acre of sugarcane. He said that the Sugar Factories also supported his view point since that would give a steady income to their farmers members.

“दूध प्लास्टिकनी कोथळीमां भरवामां आवे छे .. डेलिव्हरी करनार छोकरो एने दूरथी फेके ते छतां कशुना थाय”

– केशो काका

The trustees of Adarsh Dugdhalaya were following that discussion very well. Their dairy farm in Mumbai was famous for buffalo milk but they had also realized that keeping crossbred cows was a good option and can cater to certain segment of consumers. They had a small herd of cows and they were willing to go for cross breeding. Shri Keso Kaka then spoke about his views on milk marketing and shared the observations he had made during his recent visit to Denmark. He mentioned about packaging of milk. ” I saw milk in plastic pouches.. there is machine that packs milk in plastic pouches… and it is so tough .. a delivery boy even if he throws… it does not burst…. ( दूध प्लास्टिकनी कोथळीमां भरवामां आवे छे .. डेलिव्हरी करनार छोकरो एने दूरथी फेके ते छतां कशुना थाय. ) He said that in India there should be such machines and Adarsh Dugdhalaya would be interested if Manibhai could bring this technology under his project.

However, Shri Manibhai did not comment on this because milk marketing was not a priority item for him. For fresh graduates like us this discussion was very academic in nature as it related to Milk Production and Marketing at the same time.

It is to be noted  that on that day in October 1969 in entire India  at only one place under the auspices of Indo Swiss Project at Mattupatty Artificial Insemination Programme with Frozen Semen in the Project Area had been started in project area by 1965 , and in the entire Kerala state by 1969 !

However, there was not a single Milk Packing Machine in any Dairy in any sector.

After that meeting we had a sumptuous Gujarati lunch arranged in somebody’s house there. The household women were serving delicious food while caring for each and everyone of us. It was my first experience of Gujarati hospitality that was remarkable. After lunch somebody gave me my formal Appointment Letter. How it had come there I didn’t know but in response I gave my joining report.
Late in afternoon Shri Manibhai Desai left for Uruli Kanchan and our group of Trainee Officers was left behind under the guidance of Prof. Sane. We continued to be with him and under his instructions for several days. That was followed by our training in Aarey Milk Colony till the end of December 69. We were thereafter sent to IVRI for further training.

On completion of training at IVRI we returned to Uruli Kanchan in April 1970. By that time the group strength had become twelve hence we were calling ourselves as Dirty Dozen. On arrival we underwent orientation program for about ten days. In May 1970 we received appointment letters as Veterinary Officer. Afterwards many of us were posted either in Cooperative Sugar Factories or Panjarpol Sanstha. Those left behind either awaited the posting orders or assigned some duties at HQ. I was retained at HQ to arrange supplies to field centres.

The month of May started and one day unexpectedly Shri Manibhai Desai called me and my colleague Sudhir Sane to his room and told that we were to accompany him and Dr. MR Marathe ( Senior most Director) on a tour to Gujarat and Sourashtra for ten days. That was to be a real journey with him ! He asked us get ready to leave on the very next day. A driver by name Dashrath was to drive the ambassador car. We all were to meet Shri Manibhai Desai at h, Pune by 4 pm and journey was to begin from there. As a Member of the Senate of Mahatma Phule Krishi Vidyapeeth (MPKV) he had one meeting to attend and then we were to proceed on journey.

Next day in the afternoon we reached College of Agriculture in time but Shri Manibhai was still busy in the meeting. By the time he came out we were late by one hour. As we started our journey he said that the main subject had taken lot of time but fortunately it was decided that the MPKV would establish a Farm to produce Triple Crossbred Bulls for judging their merit by way of recording milk production of their daughters. In other words it was aimed at producing Proven Bulls but they were to have blood origin from two exotic breeds and one Indian breed. The MPKV was to establish Bull Mother Farm of Gir cows and they were to be crossed with Holstein and Jersey breeds to produce triple cross bulls in third generation and the project was to be funded by ICAR. Shri Manibhai and Dr. Marathe went on discussing that issue which was a good learning for me and Sudhir. That night we made a halt in Mumbai. I stayed with Sudhir since his parents lived in Sion.

Next day as we as began our journey things became clearer. We were actually going to Sourashtra to select Gir cows and heifers for that ICAR sponsored project for which Shri Manibhai Desai was to help MPKV in selecting right type of animals.

In that exercise we were to cover number of places like charitable Panjarpols as well as few commercial farms where Gir herds were maintained for a number of years. It was clear that Shri Manibhai knew exactly where to go and which place to visit. Accordingly he had informed the dates and timings of our visit to all the places.

As we were passing through Surat district Shri Manibhai opened a topic for debate with me and Sudhir. He asked us to prove how crossbred cows were better than buffaloes. I was surprised and I narrated usual advantages in favor of crossbred cows like better growth rate, early maturity and lesser age at first calving, regular estrous cycle etc. but Shri Manibhai counter questioned each time saying that all these are related to the management and could be true in case of buffaloes too.

According to him if buffaloes were managed as well as crossbred cows they would perform better than the latter. He argued that buffalo milk having higher fat content and more solids has to be compared applying correction factor and then compared with cow milk and on that basis a buffalo producing 1800 liters per lactation would win over a cow even if she produces 2500 liters. His arguments were baffling for us since we could never imagine him talking in favor of buffaloes. Finally I told him in plain words that it was not possible for us to imagine him as champion of buffaloes and therefore we could not argue with him. On that sentence he had a hearty laugh and our debate ended. That night we had a halt in Baroda and we all stayed in the house of Shri Gulab bhai, the brother of Shri Manibhai. We all had dinner there and enjoyed their hospitality.

Next day we started our journey towards north and made up to Rajkot. While on move Shri Manibhai opened a new topic. He asked us what we thought about Indian goats and their potential as dairy animals. Myself and Sudhir, we gave bookish replies. He wanted us to say something from the body conformation of the goat that we never imagined. He said that just as in case of European cow breeds three body triangles from top, bottom and sideway are described as dairy character; in the case of Indian breeds of goats we find them prominently and even in case of milch purpose Indian cows these triangles are not prominent. To impress up on his point he asked us to imagine the carcass of a Jersey cow and compare it with carcass of a Indian goat to find that the goat carcass would appear like a small version of carcass of a Jersey cow. But it would no be so in case of Indian cow. It was a big revelation as I thought about it.

Then he said about one more body point regarding the males of the species. The penis, in case of males of all breeds of goats, is tucked up to the belly and this feature is common with bulls of European breeds like Holstein, Jersey. Whereas, penis is not tucked up to the belly in case of bulls belonging to the breeds we call as milch breeds like Gir, Sahiwal and so on. In fact it is found to be hanging in folded skin towards ground. Therefore, he was of the opinion that both males and females of the Indian goat breeds having anatomical similarities with European cow breeds perhaps Indian goats had dairy potential just like Jersey cattle but it is not tapped yet.

On our way we had lunch and tea times. Shri Manibhai gave directions to our driver and took us to good restaurants. In Rajkot we entered one hotel for night halts. We were to stay there for two three days.

From next day morning we started going to various institutes to select the Gir animals. Each day we went in different direction covering parts of Jamnagar, Bhavnagar and Junagadh. I remember names of few places like Sawakundala and Sanosara. We went to Morvi and also a coastal place named Sharadagram at Mangrol where we had night halt. In all we must have visited around eight or ten institutes, mostly Panjarpols. Surprisingly at all places, people knew our timing of visit very well and they arranged to show us the animals available for sale. That time there were no mobile phones, no public telephone booths, no GPS on our car; still how Shri Manibhai planned and implemented the schedule is a mystery. He never asked me or Sudhir to get down of car to enquire for direction from anybody. We had good breakfast, lunch and dinner on all days and Shri Manibhai took care of all of us offering good food and Ice Cream varieties of his choice in the end. Our stay at Sharadagram was memorable due to their extremely well house keeping and even for arrangements like playing music while milking cows.

While selecting animals at all the places Shri Manibhai was asking host of questions regarding pedigree of each animal. He would then ask us to write down those details. He wanted to select animals belonging to different families of cows where different bulls were used and inbreeding had not happened. Dr. Marathe was also asking questions related to reproductive behavior. Whenever in doubt he would ask me or Sudhir to examine the reproductive system. This way we shortlisted a number of animals at various farms and recorded their details with identification number and description.

In the last leg of our journey we attended a conference of representatives of Panjarpol Sansthas held at Jetpur. Over hundred persons must have been present there to discuss the issues and problems they faced. Shri Manibhai Desai was there almost like a chief guest and Dr. Marathe was also offered a chair on the stage. The proceedings were in Gujarati but we were able to follow. All the speeches and discussion was centered around a demand that the Government should increase the rate of subsidy on maintenance of cows.

They were finding it difficult to feed the cows in the subsidy amount they were getting on per day basis. Dr. Marathe spoke in Gujarati to say that that the Panjarpol Sansthas ought to follow scientific approach rather than dwelling on sentiments. A cross between Science and Sentiments would be Hybrid and therefore a Sterile, he said. That was followed by a speech by Shri Manibhai. He said in no uncertain terms that the Panjarpol Sansthas must make efforts to increase the overall productivity of cows and go for cross breeding. He said that they should not expect the Government to compensate their losses indefinitely which amounted to wasting of public money. In stead, they must follow scientific practices and become self- reliant, he said. It was rather unwelcome statement for that conference but Shri Manibhai had said it !

With these accomplishments we started our return journey thereafter. Almost fifty years have passed since then but I still recall the memorable journey I had with Shri Manibhai Desai.

A lesson on “Sense of responsibility” learnt from NDDB

- Dr. HB Joshi 

I was transferred from SAG Bidaj a “Mecca” for veterinarian to heavenly NDDB , Campus in Anand in 1985 thus life and work both got an U turn!

Lifted from a remote place surrounded with only green lustrous fields and cattle habitats to a paradise interspersed with green carpeting with beautiful layout in the modern complex was a gift of destiny !

It is always true that light follows shadow and vice versa in life !

I was overwhelmed on getting an opportunity to join the Manpower Development Division under Dr. SP Mittal.

I started really enjoying! the the trans formal change that happened in the kind of assignments, tasks that I now handled.

I became a part of the team that conceptualised, designed and offered training to different groups of stakeholders as per the mandate of the Manpower Development Division. However, I was always interested in taking up more challenges in this area as these add “flavour” to the “taste” !

Initially, I coordinated training programs in co-operative development on Anand pattern for farmers and supervisors. I was later assigned with the responsibility of coordinating International program as well.

One such program that I was handling had participants from Sri Lanka.

Along with class room sessions we used to take them for orientation study tour to various organisations like AMUL,Dudhasagar Dairy Mehsana ,Man Sinh Institute of Training,etc.

I accompanied the Srilankan participants on one such study tour for.

While returning from Mehsana,we had scheduled a halt at Ahmedabad near the Indian Airlines office ,Lal darwaja in the heart of the city as participants wanted to endorse their return air ticket.

We returned safely and post study tour evaluation showed that the participants were quite satisfied.

Suddenly ,a participant found that his wallet was missing. In that wallet he had kept some cash and passport ! We tried to urgently urgently at SAGP office in Ahmedabad and briefed about the matter requesting them to check with the Indian Airlines office if by chance they have received a lost wallet !

The enquiries that SAGP made with the counter operators at the Airlines office in Ahmedabad were futile. There t was no clues. Adding fuel to raging fire, there was a postal strike so it became difficult to contact Srilankan Embassy in Delhi !

In the meanwhile, at the weekend I proceeded on a few days leave to Ahmedabad where my brother was residing.

At the back of my mind, I was thinking the miserable condition of person who had lost his return ticket. It did not allow me to sleep.

The next day morning I contacted Shri. KC Patel who was in-charge at SAGP,Ahmedabad and I went to his office to personally enquire about the lost wallet but there was no positive sign.

I requested KC to make his office landline phone free for me for half an hour.

I scratched my head , a thought sparkled out of my subconscious to call the Station Manager, Indian Airlines,

While the phone rang at the other end, I was held the receiver with a pounding heart. I was praying for a miracle to happen! Those moments appeared as if they would last till eternity.

Finally the station Manager came on line and I explained the matter lucidly, before one could say “Jack Robinson” , he said ,” Hold on Sir, my driver, Gopal has found a wallet. There is an air ticket and passport in the wallet. However, there is no money”!

I missed a heartbeat and virtually jumped out of my chair. I asked him keep the wallet safely with him. He insisted that we send the person who had lost his ticket as the Airline would give it only to that person and no one else.

We were all relieved and contacted NDDB Anand office.

Dr.Mittal was surprised and asked “How come you reached SAGP office and sorted out this issue? “

I narrated the whole episode and he had such words of praise for that made my spirits soar even higher !

Thus, the NDDB taught me another lesson “How to discharge duties in a responsible manner”.

It was a turning point for me as dealing with outside agencies and liaison became my strength that later helped me accomplish many a formidable tasks!’

Contributed by Dr.Hemendra Joshi – NDDB/ SAGP 1977-2000, Banas Dairy / 2001-2012

Feast of Memories- 4

Meeting Thiru SK Paramsivan at his village Chinniampalayam. Thiru Paramsivan now 102 became the founder Chairman of Erode District Milk Producers Cooperative Union

On a hot afternoon, I visited Chinniampalayam, a village ten kms from Erode, to meet Mr SK Paramasivan, a progressive farmer, cooperator and a former Member of the Parliament. After preliminary introduction, I explained to him the purpose of my visit: to organise Anand Pattern milk cooperatives under the Operation Flood programme.

Making a face, he retorted that cooperatives, as a whole, had failed in Tamil Nadu and that the people have lost faith in cooperatives. He was a member of the Erode Cooperative Milk Supply Union and had bitter experience of the Union: it served neither the producers’ nor the consumers’ interests. I allowed him to ventilate his feelings on the cooperatives which he did for about thirty minutes. At the end, I made a request to him to give me an opportunity to talk to the farmers of Chinniampalayam. He welcomed the idea, though reluctantly, and agreed to convene a meeting. The date and time were fixed. I thanked him and left, assuring that I will meet him at the appointed time.

I, along with members of the Spearhead Team, reached Chinniampalayam exactly at 6 pm (the appointed time) and met Mr Paramasivan. He was surprised to see us exactly at the appointed time because he confessed later that no government officer ever came at the appointed time! The farmers had already assembled for the meeting: about fifty of them were ladies. Paramasivan introduced me to the farmers and asked me to talk. It was always my practice to collect as much information as possible on the village, farmers, number of milch animals (buffaloes), facilities for disposal of milk and the problems faced. I had collected this information in respect of Chinniampalayam, in advance.

Addressing the farmers in broken Tamil, I told them about the problems they were facing in keeping buffaloes and producing milk: high cost of feeds and fodder, lack of AI and animal health care facility and exploitation by the agencies that collected the milk. I explained to them how the farmers in Anand solved these problems by forming milk cooperatives. I also told them about the Operation Flood programme and organisation of Anand Pattern cooperatives as a part of this programme. The programme will be implemented in seven districts in Tamil Nadu which included Erode also. NDDB had placed a Team in Erode to help the farmers in organising Anand Pattern cooperatives. The farmers listened with rapt attention and I could notice on their faces signs of willingness to try out the pattern. 

When the meeting was about to conclude, Paramasivan got up and said “we have a farmer in our village, Raju, a communist. He was in the habit of opposing all good things saying good things happened only in Russia and China. You take him to Anand and let him see the developments there. If he is convinced, you can take it that our entire village is convinced”. Thus saying, the meeting ended.

As a part of the Farmer Induction Programme, Raju was deputed to Anand along with other farmers. He spent a few days at Anand, went around the villages and saw for himself the changes that had taken place due to milk cooperatives. On his return to Chinniampalayam, Raju told the farmers what he had seen at Anand and that if any good thing had happened anywhere in the world, after Russia and China, it was at Anand. Further, he said that was the last chance for them to develop their village and that they should wholeheartedly accept and support the programme.

Chinniampalayam was one of the eight “Anand Pattern” cooperatives that we had organised in the first lot, with Paramasivan as its Chairman. Today, it is one of the most successful cooperatives.

Continued Feast of Memories – 5
Contributed by Dr. E. Madhavan, Former Regional Director NDDB , Mumbai

सहज मानवता और स्नेहिल आतिथ्य

My contribution to the Souvenir brought out on the occasion of the 75th birthday of Charutar Arogya Mandal , Chairman Dr. Amrita Patel. I will try an English translation and post the same later. The souvenir was brought out in English, Gujarati and Hindi. I chose to write in Hindi.

अगस्त या सितंबर १९६८ का हल्की बारिश वाला दिन मै आणंद रेलवे स्टेशन से ट्रेन से कंजरी के लिये निकला।

डा॰ माइकल हाल्स (माइक)  नेशनल डेयरी डेवलपमेंट बोर्ड (एनडीडीबी) के संस्थापक सदस्यों मे से एक थे और कुछ माह पहले ही भारतीय प्रबंधन संस्थान अहमदाबाद से आणंद आये थे । उन्हीं के कहने से मै कंजरी स्थित पशु आहार संयंत्र की एनिमल न्यूट्रिस्ट डा॰ अम्रिता पटेल से मिलने जा रहा था। 

उसी साल मई से मैने एनडीडीबी मे नौकरी शुरू की थी। अपना गाँव, फिर गोरखपुर के बाद अब आणंद का सारा माहौल एकदम नया था।

नई जगह ,नये लोग, फ़र्राटेदार अंग्रेज़ी न बोल पाने से अंग्रेजीदां लोगों से मिलने जुलने मे हिचकिचाहट से भरा, मै जब मिस पटेल से मिला तो लगा ही नही मै किसी अजनबी से मिल रहा हूँ। 

कैटलफीड संयंत्र का संचालन,प्रबंधन, फ़ीड फारमुलेशन मे विभिन्न पदार्थों के मिश्रण की प्रक्रिया , गुणवत्ता आदि विषयों पर चर्चा मे समय कैसे बीता पता न चला। दोपहर खाने का समय हो गया था । मिस पटेल ने कहा खाना खा कर जाओ जब तक मै कुछ कहूँ उन्होने  घर से लाया टिफ़िन खोला, दो मे से एक रोटी और पालक के सालन का कुछ भाग एक प्लेट मे रख मुझे दे दिया !  

१९६८ के आषाढ़ के उस दिन मिस पटेल से पहली बार मिलने पर उनके व्यवहार मे घुली सहज मानवता और स्नेहिल आतिथ्य की आकर्षक विशिष्टता मानस पटल पर बार बार कौंध जाती है। 

एनडीडीबी मे उनके साथ काम करने और नज़दीक से जानने का मौक़ा मिला। १९७४ मे डा॰ कुरियन के एक्ज़ीक्यूटिव असिस्टेंट और १९८७ मे मानव  संसाधन प्रभाग मे निदेशक पद पर मेरी पर हुई नियुक्तियों मे मिस पटेल ने अहम भूमिका निभाई ।

१९७४ मे एक दिन अचानक फोन आया।

“तुम्हारा नाम प्रस्तावित किया है मैने डा॰ कुरियन के एक्ज़ीक्यूटिव असिस्टेंट पद के लिये”

ज्यादा टिकता नही है कोई उनके साथ इस पद पर”

मिस पटेल कह रही थीं।

मै भौंचक रह गया । बहुत ना नुकुड की।

अंत मे मैने कहा “अंग्रेजी अब बोल तो लेता हूं पर अच्छी अंग्रेजी लिखने मे दिक्कत होती है” ।  

मिस पटेल नही मानी बोली;

” जा कर डाक्टर कुरियन से मिल लो वही निर्णय लेंगे”

कुछ मिनटो मे डा॰ कुरियन का फोन आ गया। दोपहर बाद जा कर मिला उनसे मिला ।ना नुकुड की कोशिश यहां भी नाकाम रही।  

वह अपनी ही बोलते रहे, क्या करना होगा, किस तरह गोपनीयता सुरक्षित रखना ज़रूरी होगा, यह काम २४ घंटे का है, आदि। अंत मे हिम्मत कर मैने कहा;

” सर मै इस पद के लिये लायक नही हूं”

डा॰ कुरियन बोले “मिस पटेल हैज सेड दैट यू आर सूटेबल”!

अब आगे कुछ बोलना बेकार था। सोचता हूं  मिस पटेल का यह कहना कि “ज्यादा टिकता नही है उनके साथ कोई इस पद पर” शायद बहुत गहरी सोच का परिणाम रहा होगा।

आखिर मैने डा॰ कुरियन के एक्ज़ीक्यूटिव असिस्टेंट और बाद मे डायरेक्ट (चेयरमैन’स आफिस) के पदो पर बहुत दिनो तक लगभग १९७४ से १९९८ तक जुडा रहा। एनडीडीबी में कुल ३२ साल १९६८ से २००० तक !

कैसे मालूम था मिस पटेल आपको कि मै इतने दिन टिका रहूंगा !

सितंबर २०१२ जब मिस पटेल चेयरमैन एनडीडीबी का कार्यभार सँभाल रहीं थी

मानव संसाधन प्रभाग के निदेशक पर मेरी नियुक्ति तो मिस पटेल का लगभग एक तरफा निर्णय था । मै तिलहन और वानस्पितिक तैल विभाग का निदेशक था पर मिस पटेल की योजना थी कि री- आरगेनाइजेशन बाद मानव संसाधन विभाग बनाया जाय। इस बार भी इफ बट की बातें उठी पर सब दरकिनार करते हुये मिस पटेल ने यह निर्णय लिया। मुझे इस काम मे सफलता मिली या न मिली पर मिस पटेल से सहयोग पूरा मिला ।

वैसे एनडीडीबी मे मिस पटेल के साथ काम करने का मौक़ा पहली बार मुझे मिला जब मै लगभग एक महीना १९७४ मे बतौर एनडीडीबी कर्मचारियों के दल के सदस्य के साथ इंटरनेशनल डेयरी कांग्रेस, नई दिल्ली के आयोजन मे सहायता के लिये भेजा गया था।

एक विकासशील देश पहली बार मे हो रहा यह आयोजन इतिहास तो रच ही रहा था पर एक भारतीय महिला का सेक्रेटरी जनरल होना भी हम सब के लिये गौरव का विषय था।मिस पटेल की कार्य संपादन क्षमता विशेषकर योजनाबद्ध सिलसिलेवार काम कैसे पूरा हो, कौन क्या करे,समय से कौन सा कार्य निष्पादित हुआ या न हुआ पर समय समय से सामूहिक चर्चा वाली कार्यशैली नज़दीक से देखी।

जब एचएम पटेल साहब की तबीयत ख़राब हुई और अहमदाबाद अस्पताल मे उन्हे भरती करा दिया गया था तब डा॰ कुरियन ने कहा कि मिस पटेल अकेली अहमदाबाद नही जायेंगी और मुझे साथ जाने को कहा । मै लगभग पाँच दिन उनके साथ रहा।

एचएम साहब को अस्पताल मे आ कर देखने वालों का तांता तो लगा ही रहता था। पर जब समाचार आया कि एचएम साहब के विरोधी राजनीतिज्ञ “दिखावे” की हमदर्दी दिखाने का ढोंग रच ताम झाम सहित फूलों का गुच्छा ले कर आ रहे हैं और मिस पटेल को वहाँ उनके स्वागतार्थ खड़ा होना पड़ेगा तब वहाँ  मिस पटेल का  दूसरा रूप देखने को मिला।

गहरी आंतरिक पीड़ा थी, क्षोभ था, पर पिता के पास रहना था सभ्यता का तक़ाज़ा। अस्पताल के कई चक्कर लगाये थे मैने मिस पटेल के साथ साथ। मुश्किल से मानी थी लौटने को पिता के पास।

यह विडंबना ही है मानवी त्रासदी।

पिता के देहावसान पर अंत्येष्टि की पूरी तैयारी और हमारे समाज मे पुत्र से जो अपेक्षा होती है उसे पुत्री ने उसे भलीभाँति निभाया । फिर शुरू हुई चरोतर  आरोग्य मंडल और अस्पताल का कार्यभार संभालने की क़वायद जो पिता की धरोहर ही नही पर मिस पटेल की सोच से जुड़ी प्राथमिकताओं – पर्यावरण एवं स्वास्थ्य से जुड़ी हैं । मैने नज़दीक से देखा है जाना है इन विषयों मे मिस पटेल कितना रुचि रखती है ।

मुझे याद आता है मिस पटेल की वह बात जो वह हर महिला अफ़सर की नियुक्ति के पहले उनसे साक्षात्कार के वक़्त होती थी । औपचारिकताओं और कुछ अन्य प्रश्नों के बाद साक्षात्कार के अंत मे मिस पटेल हर एक से पूछती थी;

“अगर यह नौकरी तुम्हें मिलती है तो कितने साल काम करोगी?”

“पुरुष प्रधान समाज मे महिलाओं को सोच विचार कर प्रोफ़ेशनल ज़िंदगी मे आना चाहिये । बराबरी के साथ काम करना होगा क्योंकि महिला किसी भी तरह कार्यपालन  मे पुरुष से कम नही”  

“देखो शादी करना, घर चलाना, बच्चों को पालना, संस्कार देना उतना ही महत्वपूर्ण कार्य है जितना किसी संस्था मे काम करना उसका संचालन करना। कुछ को प्रोफ़ेसन और घर दोनो चलाना होता है वहीं बैलेंस की बात आती है।”

“शैलेन्द्र तुमसे ऐसा नही कह सकते है पर मै कह रही हूँ

मैने  निर्णय  लिया कि सारा जीवन प्रोफ़ेसन  को दूँगी  और कर भी रही हूँ   इसलिये साफ़ साफ़ बताओ कि अभी कितने साल काम करने का इरादा है? पर  जितने साल कहो उतने ज़रूर करना।”

कितनी कठिन राह चुनी आपने मिस पटेल और चुनी डगर पर चलती रहीं इतने सालों तक।प्रोफ़ेशनल और  पर्सनल ज़िंदगी का बैलेंस हमेशा रखा।

कुछ पारिवारिक ज़रूरतों और कुछ अन्य कारणवश मैने २००० मे एनडीडीबी से प्रीमैच्योर रिटायरमेंट लिया। पर मुझे हर्ष एवं संतोष इस बात का है कि मुझे मिस पटेल के साथ  काम करने का मौक़ा मिला । कसौटी पर खरा उतरा या नही राम जाने  पर मुझे और किरन को भी एचएम परिवार के  बहुत से सदस्यों को जानने का मौक़ा मिला । यह नाता अब तक क़ायम है चाहे हम कितनी भी दूर हों ।

आपकी पचहत्तरवीं वर्षगाँठ पर किरन और मेरी तरफ़ से  ढेरों शुभकामनायें ! एक बार फिर आपको आपकी मानवता को नमन,


MPG Kurups Corner; Emerging issues on meat sector

Emerging Issues on Meat Sector as : Human Foods of Animal Orgin , Food Saftey and Food Security , in India.

I , recently , happened to read the learned treatise on these and allied subjects by Prof.Dr.John Abraham , on face book. First of all I thank him for the mass of information on this topic of vital importance to India, he has placed before the consuming public as also before Government . 

Quite different from the contents of his treatise but allied to the issues raised by him , I venture to place before the public and the policy makers my concerns about the Government’s attitude towards meat as food in general and consumption of beef in particular. 

Sentiments among a section of the people in the country to treat the cow as Gomatha and therefore a sacred animal is what I want to talk about. Their interference in place and out of place , compelled the Government to ban the slaughter and consumption meat from cows and its offspring : denying a large section of people including Hindus like me , access to beef , the food we prefer , to satisfy the sentiments , whims and fancies of groups of religious fanatics . Enacting such a draconian law has absolutely no rhyme or reason as holy scriptures of the SANATHANA Dharma , nowhere restricts nor bans the consumption of beef.

By the enactment of the ban on cow slaughter and consumption of beef the Government has in one stroke jeopardised the food security of the country and condemned the the poorest of the poor farmers to bear the burden of enormous numbers of unproductive Indian Cattle eating them out of their houses and homes , as they can no longer trade their surplus animals as part of the country ‘s food chain. 80 per cent of the cattle in India are owned by the small and marginal farmers and the landless , both urban and rural.

We are also , ipso facto , ignoring the enormous food bank the surplus indigenous cattle constitute ! If we breed them for beef production, using beef breeds from Europe or America , we can progressively double , triple or even quadruple the beef out put , starting from the very next year onwards.

The standard argument against slaughter of indigenous cattle had always been that they are needed to produce the work animals for Indian Agriculture . This is no longer true : draught animals now contribute less than 20 per cent of the total farm power used in the country , the rest comes from electrical and mechanical sources . The indigenous cows committed to draught animal production is now redundant . The livestock census 2019 clearly shows that there is drastic reduction in draught animal numbers and with female among indigenous cattle increasing in proportion !

The second argument was that , the indigenous stock constitute the enormously important germ plasm pool . This is true but the female of the species alone are enough to meet that requirement . Trading in indigenous surplus stock is therefore the critical factor balancing the economy of the farm households.

Now , about the holy cows : a myth with no religeous or scriptural sanctions ! I had studied Sanskrit for more than 15 years during my academic life : as my second language from prep school to BSc ! I therefore had plenty of exposure to holy scripture , in original Devanagari : some as part of the curriculum , the other because of access I had to university libraries. I have not come across any recorded restrictions on slaughter of cattle or for that matter , consumption of beef, any where in the scriptures. On the contrary there are recorded evidence on the ritual slaughter of cows and on the popularity of beef as human food.

In the Vedic era , Aswamedha was the ritual of the Kshatriyas , involving horses : where as Gomedha was the ritual of the Brahmins. The ritual caparisoned cow after its ritual wandering about in villages , was ceremonially sacrificed and the beef served to Brahmin Guests at the ceremonial feast at the end of the Gomedha Yaga !

The cow was recognized as a very important livestock , intensely associated with the welfare of the farm family, but never was treated as the gomatha ! Deification of the cow evolved during the era of Adi Sankara ! It was never ever considered holy before ! 

Thus , there are no religious or scriptural sanctions for a total ban of cow slaughter or consumption of beef. It is high time that right thinking citizens rose against the ban and compel the government to repeal the draconian law on ban of cow slaughter and consumption of beef !

MPG Kurup , Toronto , Canada

MPG Kurup’s Corner; Pilgrims Progress

- Dr. MPG Kurup 
Dr. Kurup worked with the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) of India from 1969 to 1993 serving as a member of the of the Board and Executive Director of NDDB from 1991-1993. As an International Consultant on Livestock and Dairying since 1993 he has worked countries across the world in Asia, Europe,North and America. He is currently based in Toronto.

Pilgrims Progress

I started my pilgrimage North in the late sixties not knowing when I set out that it was to be a pilgrimage at all. But it so happened that I was swapped up in a human saga set in motion by a giant among men, called Vergheese Kurien. What I recount below are some of the precepts and principles in leading men, doing things and achieving success that I learned as a part of this great movement.

There are only a lucky few who were fortunate enough to work with the legendary milk man of India: Vergheese Kurien, a visionary and pragmatist, a rare combination of qualities seldom found in one individual: his head in the clouds, but his feet planted squarely on terra firma. I was one among those lucky few and for almost a quarter of a century with a ring-side seat, just an arm’s length away from him, all along. A Leader of men par excellence and a champion of the farmers, he devoted a whole life time to help them shape their destinies and to build for them an empire, vast and powerful, entirely controlled by them through the professionals they employ.

I became a part of this team of professionals lead by Vergheese Kurien and along the way some of his wisdom rubbed off on us: we learned the tricks of the trade: leadership, man management, team spirit, attention to detail, decisiveness, and above all determination. The rules of the game too were as important as the tricks themselves: integrity – personal as well as professional, fairness, equity, punctuality, speed, prudence and accountability. Competence, efficiency and unflinching loyalty were of course prerequisites to become a part of his team.

Management by delegation: delegation of responsibility and authority was the order of the day: we all learned that to load a man with responsibility and matching authority was the surest way to make him grow. We soon realized that one cannot lead from a crowd: one has to stand upfront to lead. Decision making became for us a matter of the head first and then of the heart as well: it was clear that the path to hell was paved with good intensions! In team building we learned to choose our peers, not the serf: the principle was: choose the one good enough to be your boss!

No other leader has left behind such a vast skill pool of top class professionals and managers, who continue to contribute to nation-building in different sectors of our economy.

Lo and behold! We were soon a bunch of brats: head strong and cock sure, competent and aggressive, ready to take on the world and to hold on our own. We invaded the country with our tasks, teams and projects, changing the way we did business in our country and building enduring edifices as bulwarks against any onslaught of vested interests: and we succeeded all the way to the market, adding value and enhancing returns for our primary constituents: the farmers in India. And they cheered us on to advance and achieve as never before.

The theme was small holders and their livelihoods: the movement enabled over 10 million marginal and land less households of milk producer members in the cooperative movement to cross the poverty line and to enjoy a far better quality of life, in a sustained and progressively improving rural prosperity ambience. It taught us to look beyond the cow and see the man behind; and work for his welfare. The social capital build up in rural India enabled by the movement resulted in tens of thousands of viable and flourishing community based organizations owned and managed by farmers, institutionalizing their household livestock enterprises, giving them a continuing and sustainable livelihood option.

To me as an individual, the opportunities opened up by the movement were vast and varied, enabling me to become a major player in the development and orchestration of the livestock sector in India, to build and promote a nation-wide input generation network of animal feed mills, frozen semen production stations, bull mother farms, world class laboratories; to be the CEO of the second largest virus vaccine manufacturing plant in the world; and to coordinate and manage an army of professionals: a mixed bag of veterinarians, engineers, scientists, economists, environmentalists, sociologists, agronomists, accountants and administrators. After demitting office in the formal set up the experience and expertise gained over the quarter century I spent working with Dr.Kurien enabled me to become a successful international consultant handling widely varied mix of projects, the National Livestock Policy Perspective for the Government of India and to continue as a Consultant to the World Bank over the past 15 years.

Some say that Kurien is a big Banyan Tree under the shadows of which nothing grows: nothing can be farther from truth. For those of us working with him, it was this shadow that provided the protective umbrella, emboldening us to dare the limits every single day and achieve breakthroughs of personal and group excellence, always shielding us from harm and encouraging us to grow. No other leader has left behind such a vast skill pool of top class professionals and managers, who continue to contribute to nation-building in different sectors of our economy.