कथा, एक मित्र के ब्याह की भाग १ और २

रश्मि कांत नागर
रश्मि कांत नागर

कथा, एक मित्र के ब्याह की भाग -१

सुप्रसिद्ध अंग्रेज़ी नाट्यकार जॉर्ज बर्नार्ड शॉ ने कहा था की, “हर बुद्धिमान महिला को जितनी जल्दी हो सके शादी कर लेनी चाहिये और हर एक बुद्धिमान पुरुष को शादी में जितनी देर हो सके उतनी देर करनी चाहिये”।

हमारा मित्र उनके इस कथन से बहुत प्रभावित था। मुझे नहीं पता की जॉर्ज बर्नार्ड शॉ ने स्वयं अपने इस कथन का खुद कितना अनुसरण किया या नहीं, परंतु हमारा मित्र, मुझे ऐसा लगा जैसे वह ठीक ऐन मौक़े पर अपने आप को बुद्धिमान साबित करना चाह रहा था। हम ऐन.डी.डी. बी. के कैम्पस में रहते थे और दिल्ली के लिये रवाना होने से पहले, भाई साहब हॉस्टल के सामने सड़क पर अपना सूटकेस रख कर, अपनी खोपड़ी खुजलाते इस दुविधा से निपटने का निष्फल प्रयास कर रहे थे। ये घटना जून १९७१ की है। तब हम सब जवान थे ।

हम में से कुछ तब और अब

हम उनकी ये दुविधा समझ रहे थे। हमें मालूम था की उनकी सगाई छोटी उम्र में ही हो गयी थी और अगर गाँव में रहते तो शायद न सिर्फ़ उनका बालविवाह हो चुका होता, पर वह अधिक नहीं तो कम से कम २-३ बच्चों की पिता भी बन चुके होते। मुझे पूरी तरह से ज्ञात नहीं, मेरा अनुमान है कि वे अपनी मंगेतर से प्रेमपत्रों के माध्यम से जुड़े रहे होंगे। एक तरफ़ शादी का लड्डू खाने को आतुर मन और दूसरी और जॉर्ज बर्नार्ड शॉ का प्रभाव। बलिहारी उन प्रेमपत्रों की।

हम ठहरे उनके शुभचिंतक मित्र।समझाया, “भाई, जल्दी कर वरना गाड़ी छूट जाएगी और सिर्फ़ शादी के लड्डू के सपने मिलेंगे”। यह समझिए धक्का मारना पड़ा महाशय को आनन्द रेलवे स्टेशन पहुँचाने में। अगर दोपहर दो बजे की बड़ोदा लोकल छूट जाती तो बड़ोदा से दिल्ली जाने वाली राजधानी छूट जाती, समय पर नहीं पहुँचते और मुहूर्त निकल जाता। सोचिए, सही निर्णय दिलवाने में हम मित्रों की कितनी अहम भूमिका रही होगी, क्योंकि ७० के दशक में आवागमन की सुविधाएँ सीमित थीं।

अपने इस निकटतम मित्र की शादी को लेकर हम सभी उत्साहित थे। कैम्पस में रहने वाले कोई बीस एक नौजवान कुँवारों बे बीच, यह पहला शेरदिल था  जो अपनी आज़ादी की क़ुर्बानी देने जा रहा था। याद रहे बचपन में हुई सगाई और बाथरूम में पढ़े गये प्रेमपत्र। उनकी भी तो अत्यधिक महत्वपूर्ण भूमिका थी। 

शाम क़रीब पाँच बजे हम में से एक बोला, “अरे यार, ये तो वाक़ई शादी करने चला गया। इसके बिना अपन तीनों शाम को बोर हो जायेंगे। दूसरा बोला, “हमारा तो ठीक है, पर उसकी ‘लोटिया भागोल’ वाली प्रेमिका का क्या होगा? जब उसे पता चलेगा तो वह लड़की तो अपने बाल नोच लेगी, सर फोड़ लेगी, रो रो कर बुरा हाल हो जायेगा बेचारी का। हो सकता है आत्महत्या भी कर ले”।

“यह तो बड़ी गंभीर स्थिति हो गयी”, तीसरा बोला और उसने सुझाव दिया की हम तीनों, लोटिया भागोल वाली हमारे मित्र की प्रेमिका से मिल कर उसे समझायें ताकि वो कोई भी आत्मघाती कदम ना उठाये।

हमने ऐसा ही किया। हमारे मित्र की प्रेमिका- कपिला बेन से मिले, उन्हें समझाया। पहले तो उन्होंने बहुत आँसू बहाए, पर इस बात पर मान गयी कि वह कोई भी ग़लत कदम नहीं उठाएँगी। ठुकरायी हुई प्रेमिका कुछ भी कर सकती है, यह बात हम तीनों को परेशान कर रही थी।

कपिला बेन ने सिर्फ़ एक काम किया। अपने दुःखी मन के सारे भाव एक पोस्ट कार्ड पर उँड़ेले, और तुरंत उसे रेलवे स्टेशन जाकर RMO के हवाले कर दिया। पत्र लिखते समय कपिला बेन के आंसू बड़ी मुश्किल से रूके होंगे, फिर भी तो- तीन तो चिठ्ठी पर टपक ही गये। कपिला बेन क्योंकि “लोटिया भागोल” से थीं, उनका हिन्दी ज्ञान सीमित था, लिहाज़ा खुला पत्र यानी पोस्ट कार्ड में उन्होने हिं -गुजराती मिश्रित भाषा का प्रयोग किया गया।

हमारे मित्र का भाग्य बहुत अच्छा था। पोस्ट कार्ड दिल्ली पहुँचा। पोस्टमैन की दस्तक पर उस दिन सौभाग्य वश कपिला बेन का पत्र सीधे उन्ही के हाथ लगा।

मित्र ने पत्र पढ़ा तो चेहरे का रंग उड़ गया। तुरंत घर के पास वाले तारघर पहुँचे और हमें तार किया, “किसी कपिला बेन का पत्र है, माजरा क्या है? तुरंत छान-बीन करो और मुझे बताओ। भाग्य ये पत्र मेरे पिताजी के हाथ नहीं लगा वरना अनर्थ हो जाता”।

क्योंकि हम तीनों कपिला बेन पहले मिल चुके थे, हमने तुरन्त जवाबी तार किया, “सब कुछ नियंत्रण में है”। तार मिलते ही हमारे मित्र की जान में जान आयी, विवाह निर्विघ्न सम्पन्न हुआ और कोई एक सप्ताह बाद वो नयी नवेली दुल्हन के साथ सकुशल आनन्द आ पहुँचे ।

आप सोच रहे होंगे के हमारा ये मित्र कौन था। ये कोई और नहीं,इसी वृक्षमन्दिर के प्रणेता श्री शैलेंद्र कुमार थे। कपिला बेन हम तीन मित्रों- बेहला, गोरे और मेरी कल्पना का नतीजा थीं, और मेरी टूटी-फूटी गुजराती ने प्रेमपत्र को साकार रूप दे दिया। पत्र पर गिरे आँसू भी नक़ली थे- आख़िर पानी की दो बूँदे गिरा कर कार्ड हिलाया और हो गया काम!

आख़िर अच्छे मित्र ऐसे नाज़ुक मौक़े सम्भालने के लिए ही तो जाने जाते हैं! 

कथा, एक मित्र के ब्याह की और हमारे बापू की भाग -२

मित्र के ब्याह की कथा आगे बढ़ायें, इसके पहले हमारे “बापू” से परिचय करवाना अत्यंत आवश्यक है। 

बापू, हमारे सम्माननीय बापू, कौन थे और उनका नामकरण कैसे हुआ यह अपने आप में ही एक कहानी है। पहले इसे पढ़िये। इस सारी कहानी में “बापू” की असली पहचान आपसे छिपायी जायेगी क्योंकि मैं अपने ख़िलाफ़ मानहानि का कोई मुक़द्दमा नहीं चाहता।

ऐन.डी.डी.बी कार्यालय ने जब कैम्पस से काम करना प्रारंभ किया, तब नए इंजिनीयर्स की भर्ती हुई। बापू इनमे से एक थे। ओहदे में तो हमारे बराबर ही थे, परंतु उम्र में शायद हमसे ४-५ वर्ष बड़े रहे होंगे। ऑफ़िस के बाद जब हम लोग खेल कूद और हंसी मज़ाक़ में लगे थे, बापू अपनी गम्भीर मुद्रा में, हाथ में ब्रीफ़केस लिये हमें भी अपनी तरह गंभीर बर्ताव करने की सलाह देते। “तुम अफ़सर हो, कुछ बड़ों की तरह, अफ़सरों की तरह व्यवहार करो। यह क्या सारे समय बच्चों की तरफ़ कूद-फाँद करते रहते हो”। 

बापू का यह रोज़ का प्रवचन हो गया था। हद तो जब गयी, जब बापू अपना ब्रीफ़केस लेकर छुट्टी के दिन भी दफ़्तर आने लगे और अपना रटा रटाया प्रवचन हम पर बरसाने लगे।

गोरे से ये बर्दाश्त नहीं हुआ। वैसे बापू ने गोरे को कभी भी प्रवचन झाड़ने की कोशिश नहीं की क्योंकि गोरे बापू से काफ़ी सिनीयर थे, गोरे को बापू के प्रवचन मुझ पर झाड़ना नहीं भाया। गोरे ने कहा, “नागर, इस बापू का कुछ इलाज़ करना पड़ेगा”। 

क्या करें, “बापू” के नाम मशहूर कर दें”, मैंने पूछा। 

“यही सही होगा”, गोरे ने सहमति जताई। 

“पर पहले उसे बताना होगा ना कि हमने उसे “बापू” के नाम सम्बोधित करना तय किया है, और ये करेंगे कैसे”, गोरे ने प्रश्न किया। 

आख़िर, “बिल्ली के गले में घंटी बांधने का ज़िम्मा मैंने उठाया”। गोरे और मैं बापू से मिले। 

मैंने बापू क़ो असली नाम से सम्बोधित करते हुए वार्तालाप शुरू किया, “आपका कहना सच है। ये बचकाना बर्ताव अब हमें बंद करना चाहिये। हम आपकी सीख का सम्मान करते हैं और अब से आपको एक सम्मानजनक तरीक़े से बुलाना चाहते है। अपर आपको आपत्ति ना हो तो हम आपको “बापू” के नाम से बुलाना चाहते हैं। ये सम्बोधन सिर्फ़ महात्मा गाँधी के लिये प्रयोग किया जाता है, क्योंकि सारा देश उनसे बहुत प्यार करता है, उनका बहुत सम्मान करता है और हम भी आपका बहुत सम्मान करते हैं”।

वह तुरंत मान गये। आख़िर सम्मानजनक सम्बोधन किसे नहीं भाता? 

अगले २४ घण्टों में वह सारे कैम्पस में “बापू” के नाम से मशहूर हो गये। 

अब लौटते हैं, हमारे मित्र की शादी पर। शादी सम्पन्न हुई और मित्र पत्नी सहित आनंद लौटने वाले थे। दिल्ली से बेहला को तार कर खबर भेजी की ‘फ़लाँ फ़लाँ ट्रेन से बड़ोदा पहुँच रहे हैं, स्टेशन पर मिलो’। रिक्वेस्ट नहीं आदेश था। 

मैं और बेहला, बेहला की मोटरसाइकल से बड़ोदा पहुँचे। स्टेशन पर एक नयी फ़ीयट टैक्सी तय की इस शर्त के साथ कि ‘अगर हमारे साहब आये, तो ही हम टैक्सी का उपयोग करेंगे। अगर नहीं आए तो हम कोई पैसे नहीं देंगे’। टैक्सीवाला मान गया। 

हमें नहीं पता कि हमारा मित्र किस डिब्बे में सफ़र कर रहा है और ट्रेन सिर्फ़ पाँच मिनट ही रुकने वाली थी। तो हमने तय किया की हम प्लेटफ़ार्म में उस जगह खड़े होंगे जहां बीच का डिब्बा आता है। फिर एक एंजिन के तरफ़ के डिब्बों की तरफ़ जायेगा और दूसरा विपरीत दिशा में। 

हमने सारी ट्रेन छान मारी। ट्रेन के छूटने की सीटी भी बज गयी, पर हमारा दोस्त नदारद। हम लौटने ही वाले थे की बेहला की नज़र दुल्हन के भेष में प्लेटफ़ार्म पर अकेली खड़ी एक लड़की पर पड़ी। 

“नागर, कहीं ये तो किरन नहीं है? अगर है तो शैलू कहाँ है? मैंने कहा, “चल पूछ लेते है कि आप शैलेंद्र की बीबी हो क्या”। पर बेहला ने पास जाकर निहायत शरीफाना अन्दाज़ में पूछा, ‘क्या आप शैलेंद्र के साथ हैं?’

“हाँ”, उत्तर मिला।

“शैलेंद्र कहाँ है?”, मैंने पूछा।

“आगे, इंजिन के पास ब्रेक वान से बक्सा लेने गये हैं”, किरन बोली। 

मैं इंजिन की तरफ़ बढ़ा ही था कि कुली के सर पर एक भारी- भरकम बक्से के साथ शैलेंद्र को आते देखा। 

आम दिनों जैसा पहनावा हमारे मित्र का और साथ सजी-संवरी दुल्हन। लगता ही नहीं था कि भाई नयी नयी शादी करके आया है। 

कोई दो महीने बाद, एक दिन किरन ने हमें ये बताया कि वह बड़ोदा स्टेशन पर बेहला और मुझे देख कर डर गयी थी। वो सोच रही थी की ये दो गुंडे जैसे लड़के क्यों मुझे घूर रहे हैं। उसकी जान में जान आयी जब बेहला ने पूछा, “क्या आप शैलेंद्र के साथ हैं?’ बेचारी क्या करती, उन दिनों फ़ोटो आईडेनटीटी का प्रचलन जो नहीं था। उसे तो सिर्फ़ हमारे नाम मालूम थे। 

हाँ, उसदिन हमें पता चला की हमारी शक्लों- सूरत किसी भले शरीफ़ आदमी जैसी नहीं, गुंडो जैसी है। पर क्या करते, ऊपर वाले ने जैसी सूरत दी है, उसी से गुज़ारा सारी ज़िन्दगी करना पड़ेगा! 

ख़ैर, टैक्सी में सामान रखा, किरन और शैलेंद्र पिछली सीट पर बैठे और मैंने टैक्सी वाले से गाड़ी रवाना करने को कहा। 

टैक्सी वाले ने प्रश्न किया, “पर आपके साहब कहाँ हैं, वो नहीं आये क्या”? 

हमने शैलेंद्र की और इशारा किया तो टैक्सी वाले ने ऐसा मुँह बनाया जैसे हमने इसके साथ कोई मज़ाक़ किया है। बेचारे का मुँह देखने लायक़ था। 

अब लौटते हैं, बापू पर। 

शैलेंद्र की टैक्सी के कैम्पस के पहुँचेने के ठीक दो घंटे बाद हमारे प्रिय बापू को आनंद से दिल्ली प्रस्थान करना था। ये मात्र संयोग था की शैलेंद्र का दुल्हन के साथ आनंद पहुँचना और बापू का तबादले पर जाना एक ही दिन था। शैलेंद्र D12 और में D11 में रहते थे। मैंने बापू को हमारी बिल्डिंग के नीचे खड़े देखा। वे बड़े बैचैन लग रहे थे। 

मैंने पूछा, “बापू, कोई ख़ास बात है क्या?”

“दुल्हन का मुँह देखना है”, बापू बोले।

मैंने कहा, “ऊपर आ जाओ”, और शैलेंद्र को बताया की बापू किरन को देखने ऊपर आ रहे हैं। कमरे में गोरे, बेहला और नन्दी नैथानी और अन्य नौजवान कुवांरे भी मौजूद थे । चाय पकौड़ी का दौर चल रहा था ।

बापू आए और जैसे ही एक ख़ाली कुर्सी पर बैठे, शैलेंद्र ने किरन को आवाज़ दी, “किरन, तनिक इधर आओ, ये हमारे बापू हैं, इनका पैर छू लो”। 

किरन को मालूम नहीं था की माजरा क्या है। उसने लम्बा घूँघट निकाला, बाहर के कमरे में आई और जैसे ही वो बापू के पैर छूने नीचे झुकी, बापू झट से खड़े हुए और फ़ौरन भाग खड़े हुए। 

हम सब की हंसी छूट गयी, पर किरन सकपका गई और शैलेंद्र से पूछा, “ये बापू कहाँ चले गए? चाय के लिए भी नहीं रुके”। 

हम क्या बताते। बापू ऐसे भागे की सीधे दिल्ली जाकर ही साँस ली। 

कोई दो महीनों बाद मेरा दिल्ली जाना हुआ। बापू मिले तो बहुत उखड़े उखड़े थे। मैंने पूछा, क्या बात है? ठीक से बात क्यों नहीं कर रहे हो?”

“तू शाला बहुत बदमाश है। शैलेंद्र की दुल्हन का मुँह भी नहीं देखने दिया। और साला मेरा पैर छूने क्यों बोला?” बापू ग़ुस्से में बोले। 

“अरे तो इसने इतना दुःखी होने की क्या बात है? अगली बार आनन्द आओ तो मुँह भी देख लेना और मुँह दिखाई भी दे देना”, मैंने कहा। 

“धत बदमाश कहीं का”, बापू की मुझे ये आख़िरी गाली थी। कुछ महीनों बाद उन्होंने ऐन.डी.डी.बी. की नौकरी छोड़ दी और किसी इंजिनीयरिंग कॉलेज में पढ़ाने चले गये। शायद उन्हें वहाँ अधिक आज्ञाकारी शिष्य मिले होंगे। 

बापू को उनका नया काम अवश्य ही अधिक भाया होगा क्योंकि मेरी जानकारी के अनुसार, वे एक प्रतिष्ठित विश्वविद्यालय के उपकुलपति के पद से सेवानिवृत हुए। 

शादी की शैलेंद्र ने, दुल्हन का मुँह नहीं देखने दिया उसने और बापू से डाँट पड़ी मुझे। कैसी विडम्बना, हाय रे कलियुग।


Fearless Karamyogi

Dr RP Aneja

~ Former Managing Director NDDB and Director and Professor Emeritus Institute of Rural Management, Anand

Dr Kurien was a fearless karmyogi and he never asked for anything for himself. I recall when Jagjivan Ram wanted a private dairy to be funded under Operation Flood (OF), Dr Kurien’s blunt reply was that it could not be done. Surely the Minister had wanted him to be sacked but could not because of the Prime Minister’s support for Dr Kurien.

Dr Kurien was blunt with the bureaucrats as well. Early in the implementation of OF, PN Haksar,a Member of the Planning Commission, asked as to why the project was not being implemented speedily. Dr Kurien’s reply was that the delay was because of him. Haksar was taken aback and wanted Dr Kurien to explain. Dr Kurien then mentioned that the approval for the setting up of the Mother Dairy in Delhi had been pending with the Planning Commission for a long time.

Haksar then asked for the concerned Joint Secretary to explain the delay. The Joint Secretary stated that he had some questions on the subject, like the use of stainless steel in the milk tanks at the bulk vending machines. At that time steel was being imported and we were short of foreign exchange. Dr Kurien then told the Joint Secretary that if he had questions why did he not ask? We have a postal system. He could have picked up the phone and asked. What had stopped him from asking these questions?

Dr Kurien then asked him the Planning Commission did not object to the use of stainless steel in the toilets in the Indian Railways. Why was he objecting to its use in milk booths now?

Dr Kurien then informed him that the tanks in question were to be made of fiberglass reinforced plastic. The Joint Secretary had not read the report. Dr Kurien then went on to question him if he was the Joint Secretary or the disjointed secretary. The project got cleared the same day.

Dr Kurien was just as blunt with the politicians. The Minister of Civil Supplies in the early ’eighties, V C Shukla, was withholding approval for NDDB’s Vegetable Oil and Oilseeds Project. The same minister’s staff had telephoned the General Manager of the Mother Dairy in Delhi to take back a driver who had been dismissed in a disciplinary case. Dr Kurien met the minister and explained to him as to how the project in question would make India self-sufficient in edible oils on the lines of the milk project. The minister did not seem to be interested in Dr Kurien’s explanation and nonchalantly told him to leave the proposal and he would go through it. Dr Kurien then asked him if there was anything on the minister’s mind, hoping the minister would raise the question of the dismissed driver. The minister did not say anything. 

Dr Kurien then asked him the Planning Commission did not object to the use of stainless steel in the toilets in the Indian Railways. Why was he objecting to its use in milk booths now?

Dr Kurien then said, “Sir there is this question of a driver that you want to be taken back. Before I came to you I explained to the General Manager of the Mother Dairy that we need your approval to this Rs 300 crore project.”

“So why can you not take this driver back?”

Dr Kurien’s reply was that the driver in question was dismissed on serious charges. He went to the court and lost his case. He said, “If I take him back, I will lose the moral authority to run the Mother Dairy. My staff expects me to support them and that driver will not be taken back. You can now do whatever you want with the proposal before or after reading it.”

The minister was taken aback and slumped in his chair and said, “So what they say about you is true. I will support you but you will have to pay a price”.

Dr Kurien quipped back, “What is the price, Sir”? 

The minister said, “You will have to help me manage the Asian Games”. 

The next day we were at the Management Committee meeting of the Asian Games and I recall Eswaran, the then Finance Secretary, asking Dr Kurien as to what he was he doing at the meeting. Dr Kurien replied, “Maybe you have to drink milk to jump higher and run faster”. 

The Minister did support the oilseeds project.


Persuasive Powers

Dr RP Aneja

~ Former Managing Director NDDB and Director and Professor Emeritus Institute of Rural Management, Anand


There never was and never will be another Verghese Kurien who reigned like a Colossus over the dairy industry of India for over 50 years. He had the authority to rule over the industry because of his intense knowledge of the sector, his faith in the capacity of the rural milk producers and his selfless dedication to their cause. This was further strengthened by his persuasive powers to mobilize professionals from all walks of life to devote themselves to the noble cause of alleviating rural poverty. He used his immense charm to muster the support of policy makers as their contribution to this noble cause.

I first met Dr Kurien in 1957 when I was a trainee at the Amul Dairy at Anand in 1957. One late evening I ran into him at the gate of the dairy plant while he was waiting for a local politician to arrive so that he could show him the Amul Dairy. He enquired about our in-plant training and told me that he was waiting for a politician who wanted to see the dairy at that late hour before he boarded the Saurashtra Janata Express at Anand as he wanted to see as to how this dairy was helping the poor milk producers. Much later, Dr Kurien would often quote Jawahar Lal Nehru: “We were ordinary people and it was the nobility of the cause (fighting for the freedom of India) that rubbed on us and people thought that we were great, while we were ordinary people”. I was terribly impressed by Dr Kurien’s personality and charm.

A year later he was our examiner on dairy engineering and gave us all an assignment to draw a plan for a rural dairy plant. I had fever and therefore I finished the assignment as quickly as I could, handed over the assignment and went back to the hostel. I was later called back to the examination hall and Dr Kurien pointed out several flaws in my drawing. I was worried until he mentioned to the internal examiner, Sinha, that mine was the best drawing.

In the early 1960s, Amul Dairy was one of the many ways the dairy industry was being developed. Amul grew and evolved as a result of the professionalism of Dr Kurien and the political leadership of Tribhuvandas Patel who was its founder chairman. It was Tribhuvandas Patel who went to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel to seek relief from the unjust order of the MIlk Commissioner of Bombay State that gave Polson Dairy the monopoly right to collect milk from 19 villages around Anand. Sardar Patel then sent Morarji Desai to organize the milk strike that led to the formation of the Kaira District Cooperative Milk Producers’ Union Ltd (Amul Dairy). Tribhuvandas Patel and Dr Kurien were jointly awarded the Ramon Magsaysay award in 1963 for ‘Community Leadership’ for the path-breaking effort to organize dairy farmers into a viable cooperative.

When Dr Kurien needed some initial funds to set up NDDB, it was Amul Dairy under the Chairmanship of Tribhuvandas Patel that provided the initial grant to set up the NDDB campus at Anand. We were fortunate to be at the foundation laying ceremony of the NDDB campus byTribhuvandas Patel. A mouse appeared from the pit that was dug up for the purpose at the NDDB campus and Tribhuvandas Patel observed that a similar incident had taken place when the Amul Dairy foundation was laid by President Rajendra Prasad. The significance was explained by Tribhuvandas Patel that this was a great blessing and Amul never stopped growing. He wished the same for NDDB.

Till then Milk Colony Model based on Khurody’s Aarey Milk Colony had been replicated at Kolkata and Chennai. The Delhi Milk Scheme had started a new trend in large government milk supply schemes. There were also the private dairies concentrating on luxury milk products. The government milk schemes had virtually started a vicious dairy development cycle by resorting to the use of cheap (dumped) imported milk powder that was destroying the urban milk markets for the rural milk producers. When we learnt dairying at Karnal, the teachers would tell us that since the demand for milk was more or less constant throughout the year, we must produce constant supply of milk throughout the year by producing more milk in summer.

Dr Kurien had already realized that the surplus milk produced in winter that could be used in summer by conserving it as milk powder and that we should encourage more milk production even in winter since it was the time that farmers had more crop residues and natural herbage. That led to a much better model for dairy development, one which could flood the cities with rurally produced milk instead of India being dependent on imported cheap milk powder that wasimpinging on the growth of rural milk production. The era of milk colonies and government run dairies was over and a new king had arrived. It started with the fall of Delhi Milk Scheme which had run into serious managerial troubles. The Agriculture Minister, C Subramaniam, appointed a committee under Dr Kurien to look into the revamping of DMS. The committee took this opportunity to encourage the Government to relook at the way the sector was being developed. The setting up of the NDDB with most of its members from this Committee indicated the arrival of a new strategy for dairy development.

I joined the NDDB when I was told that its mission was to replicate the Anand model. Dr Michael Halse, who had impressed me at the courses that I attended at IIM Ahmedabad, had himself switched over to the NDDB. I was convinced that replicating the success of Amul Dairy was the way India should be going. Dr Kurien gave me whatever I wanted to join the NDDB and that started a fairy tale for me to work closely with Dr Kurien.

In 1972, I resigned from the NDDB following some false stories being carried to Dr Kurien. Heasked me the reason for my leaving and I explained to him how I was disappointed in his listening to all kinds of stories. I told him some plain truths in a most rustic manner as I thought it was a mere exit interview and that he could do nothing to me. Dr Kurien showed that he was a big man and he could take honest criticism. He asked me to repeat the story (and the choice of words that I had used) at the meeting of the Board of NDDB that was being held at that time. I did exactly that and after that he asked the members of the Board to let me go to Canada on study leave and that he wanted me back. He also told the Board that I need not sign any bond to return as he trusted my word. That made me come back.


NDDB’S Oil Palm Project; A turning point in my professional life journey


<strong>Narsimha Nakshatri </strong>
Narsimha Nakshatri

Writes about the NDDB’S Oil Palm Project
of mid 1990’s an intitative under the Technology Mission for Oilseeds


Year-1995-96; A watershed moment of my professional career


Not many would remember that in 1995 National Dairy Development Board had initiated a project on ” Oil Palm”.

The project was initiated in Mandya district of Karnataka with the objective of producing, procuring, processing and marketing Palm oil so that the burden of import of edible oil on national exchequer is reduced.

A study conducted by NDDB found Madya district as suitable for promotion Oil palm cultivation considering the available irrigated land under Cauvery river basin.

NDDB hired a Belgium based SIAT ( “Société d’Investissement pour l’Agriculture Tropicale”) as consultant for implementation of the project. Government of India also hired SIAT for training of key personnel from among stakeholders of the project.

I was selected as Manager Plantation of NDDB Oil palm project along with a team consisting of officers for Nursery and Extension activities.

Government of Karnataka gave 25 acres of an irrigated farm belonging to the Command Area Development Authority (CADA) in Mandya for raising nursery. I was deputed to Benin in Nigeria for one month training along with the State and Central Government Officials.

NDDB imported preheated oil palm seeds for raising few lakhs of seedlings and also simultaneously farmers were identified for cultivation of oil palm in their vacant land and also as a possible replacement for Paddy and Sugarcane as an alternate cash crop.

Considering the Success of Operation Flood Program milk, Government of India had good hopes on NDDB‘s involvement and expected that it the programme would be successful.

Besides NDDB there were other organisations like Oswal, ITC and some others who took up oil palm projects in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh.

A) Mr. Kalyan Chattopaday ,NDDB Bangalore , Mr. ABraham MD, Oswal Oil pam Karnataka, and myself during the visit to National Seminar on Oil Palm held at Bhubaneswar during 1995 B). Visit to Peresco, OIlpalm Factory, Benin Nigeria C).Team of Officers deputed from Government department and industries from India to Nigeria under Technology Mission of Oilseeds to Nigeria D).Mr. J. M Rousseau, from Siat training the officers from India at Benin, Nigeria E). Training at Presco Oilpalm processing unit F) Training at Presco, Benin Oilpalm Nursery
N Nakshatri, Mr. Abraham, MD Oswal Oil Palm Karnataka, Mr. Kalyan Chattopaday, NDDB Bangalore at Bhubaneswar in  1995 ( Photo taken during visit to Bhubaneshwar when we attended the National Seminar on Oil Palm )


One year after the launch of the project, NDDB decided to withdraw from the project considering the low price of import oil vs high production cost in India as Malaysia and other countries cost of production was cheaper.

NDDB handed over the project to ITC as it was operating in the neighboring Mysore district.

Since, NDDB decided to withdraw from the project, I decided to resign from NDDB and join Ballarpur Industries (Thapar Group) as Manager Plantation for their Project in Narayanapur in Raichur district of Karnataka which is under the command area of Krishna River. Unfortunately, after my joining the project, within a month, Thapar group also decided to withdrew from the project. Thapar Group too at the time of withdrawal done some preliminary work on the project for about a year.

My journey with Oil palm ended then and there and I was deputed by Ballarpur Industries Pvt. Ltd. to its subsidiary Reitzel Indiaand later renamed as Global Green Company a 100% Export Oriented Unit, growing Gherkin and other vegetables through contract farming for export.


Various Pictures taken during my Visit to Peresco, OIlpalm Factory, Benin Nigeria! Team of Officers deputed from Government department and industries from India  to Nigeria under  Technology Mission of Oilseeds to  Nigeria! Mr. J. M Rousseau, from Siat training the officers from India  at Benin, Nigeria, Training at Presco Oilpalm processing unitF) Training at Presco, Benin Oilpalm Nursery

I served as Sr. Manger Agri Operations with Global Green Company for 6 years before joining NDDB’s SAFAL Fruit & Vegetables Auction Market in Bangalore in 2002.

After more than 25 years since the initial foray into Palm Oil in September 2021 the Government of India has now announced an ambitious Oil Palm Mission with an estimated outlay of Rs.11000 to promote cultivation of Oil palm in North Eastern states of India with an objective of supporting farmers aa cash crop and to reduce the import burden worth of Rs.30,000 crores edible oil in India.

There is a lot of debate these days about self sufficiency of India in edible oils. NDDB’s Oilseeds and Vegetable Oil Project and the Market Intervention Operations had made India Aatmnirbhar in edible oils in 1990’s.

Taken from article by Shri BM Vyas and Shri Manu Kaushik in Outlook dated 13 September 2021

However, the involvement of NDDB and other private sector players in the Palm Oil project and withdrawal after a year during 1996 does not figure much as a topic of public conversation.

Would history repeat itself ? Only time would tell !


Unforgettable Pankajbhai


G Krishnan
G Krishnan

Wondering was it Trust or Business Acumen?

person holding film strip


Memories tend to fade over time. However, not all.

Some of them tend to remain firmly etched in one’s mind despite the passage of time.

Flashback to year 1977. I was a greenhorn Junior Officer in the NDDB,occupying Flat-D/26 at NDDB Campus in Anand.

I had tried the nuptial knot the previous year. During those days Anand was essentially a one horse town, despite the presence of Amul, a host of educational institutions and some industries. But its proximity to Baroda and Ahmedabad was a major blessing. During weekends, many of us who used to stay in the campus used to make day long trips to the two cities for shopping,entertainment or simply to drive away monotony.


During an extended weekend in April that year, I travelled to Ahmedabad along with my boss Geeta (Yeah! I am a self confessed male chauvinistic pig!) and ended up in a small, newly opened book store in the Navrangpura area of the city.

The intention was to simply while away the time and glance around the book shelves. At that point of time buying any books was far away from the mind of any of us.

Moreover,we did not expect to find anything of interest in smallish shop tucked away in a corner. But surprise,surprise!

Our eyes spotted a large collection of neatly arranged books by the Scottish doctor turned novelist A.J.Cronin.

The sightings of these books in an unexpected place created palpable excitement in us. Along with Neville Shute and P.G.Wodehouse , Cronin was one of our favorite authors.

Though we had read many of his books earlier, making a collection of his works had always been a dream of ours.


Needless to say, we desperately wanted to lay our hands on them. A minor hitch though! With a princely monthly salary of around Rs. 650 /- Cronin was simply sour grapes.

Cursing myself for not being a Tata or Sarabhai –the Ambanis were still in their ascent– or not being able to pocket a higher pay, I casually mentioned our predicament to Pankaj Bhai, the mild manners and middle aged owner of the book store. We got into a small chat in me broken Hindi and he came to know that we are Anand based and work for the NDDB.

In the meanwhile, I also watched him go to a corner of the shop and talk to his assistant. I had no clue about the subject matter of their exchange in Gujarati. However, very soon we came to know the subject matter of their little private chat.

A few minutes later, as we were about to leave the store without making any purchases, Pankaj Bhai handed over a largish package to my wife and said in chaste Gujarati : “This contains some of Cronin’s novels which I have. Don’t worry about the money. Pay me when your husband has sufficient money”.


Imagine, that was our first visit to Pankaj Bhai’s little book store and we had never met or known him earlier. After getting back to Anand, we eagerly opened the package and counted 16 novels authored by Cronin, costing Rs. 460/-

Fortunately, we were able to pay off the full amount the very next month on receipt of my salary.Our relationship endured even after we left Anand and moved on to Delhi and subsequently to Bombay.But,in subsequent years ,life in Bombay took a heavy toll in terms of time and we lost contact.


In 2019,while in Ahmedabad for a day, we tried to visit the book store and searched Navrangpura with the hope of locating the quaint little store. But, it turned out to be futile. In four decades the area had changed beyond recognition and we had to retreat !



Moving finger writes; Why we write what we write?

The question is why we write what we write?

Well, first of all one must know how to write only then one can think of writing what to write.

Speaking comes easily, particularly , speaking for daily usage. Speaking to others known or unknown and in front of others is a different matter. Public speaking requires different kind of skills and confidence so as to face audiences without stage fright.

Writing even after one becomes proficient is altogether different ball game. Writing is done for self and for others. Writing for self may be just a todo list or entries in a diary or letters and now a days emails to communicate with others.

Writing for others could be for a number of reasons, filling forms to open a bank account, booking a ticket, answering question papers to pass examination, a research paper or a thesis to get a PhD .. the list goes on. Then there are professional writers who write for others and the challenge that they face is that what they write, must resonates not with their own thinking that but with that of those for whom they write. Then there are

Tulsi Das ji who wrote Ramcharimans some five hundred years ago has clearly stated that his writing is स्वांत:सुखाय in stanza 7 of Bal Kand.

नानापुराणनिगमागमसम्मतं यद्
रामायणे निगदितं क्वचिदन्यतोऽपि।
स्वांत:सुखाय तुलसी रघुनाथगाथा
भाषानिबंधमतिमंजुलमातनोति॥ 7॥

अनेक पुराण, वेद और शास्त्र से सम्मत तथा जो रामायण में वर्णित है और कुछ अन्यत्र से भी उपलब्ध रघुनाथ की कथा को तुलसीदास अपने अंत:करण के सुख के लिए अत्यंत मनोहर भाषा रचना में निबद्ध करता है॥ 7॥

Consistent with many Puranas, Vedas and Shastras, which are mentioned in the Ramayana and also available elsewhere, the story of Raghunath is composed by Tulsidas in the most delightful language for the pleasure of his conscience.

However, as is well known reading and recital of Ramcharitamanas has given peace, solace and a sense of purpose to live to millions of Hindus the world over.

Let’s assume that one day my blog, vrikshamandir.com turns out to be highly appreciated and liked by all who read it. How would it then compare with Ramcharimans.

Attempting such a comparison is foolhardy. Both can’t be compared with each other. Tulsidas ji was inspired and guided by a “Higher” purpose which a mortal like me has not yet found to follow consistently even after living for three quarters of a century on this planet. That made his writing of Ramacharitmanas and other creations so precious and timeless.

In order to start this blog, which was in my mind for several years, it was the mantra of Tulsidas ji that inspired me to take the first step and begin writing after years of hesitation.