MM Patel remembers

Shri MM Patel had worked as a member of NDDB spearhead team Bhatinda (Panjab) for dairy development project for short period of about four months from November 1976 to February 1977. In this blog Shri MM Patel describes his experiences while he was posted at Bhatinda as a spearhead team member. His stint at Bhatinda was short, four months only, but the memory and remembrances live even after some 45 years!

Vrikshamandir had earlier posted a series of audio posts by Dr SC Malhotra wherein he also talked about his posting in Bhatinda as Spearhead Team Leader in late nineteen seventies. Episode fourteen of Dr Malhotra Uwach has this audio story. You can hear his story in his own words by clicking on this link and choosing episode 14 ( मलहोत्रा की कहानी उनकी ही जुबानी).

Our team leader was Dr SC Malhotra, a thorough gentleman, jolly and full of enthusiasm. Whenever we had breakfast, tea, lunch, dinner with him and went to see a movie with him, he always paid for all of us.

Since the living and working conditions in Bhatinda were different from Gujarat, Dr Malhotra helped us in settling down and guided us in our work. 

His attitude towards us helped inculcate enthusiasm among us as we were working at a new place far away from our native home and family. 

I used to attend the meeting of farmers in a village with him for organising the milk society on the Amul pattern. I enjoyed working under his leadership.

Even before I was transferred from Anand to Bhatinda, one of my senior colleagues asked me, “Would you like to come to Bhatinda? Dr Malhotra is going to Bhatinda as team leader. He is a gentleman and wants to take you for Bhatinda dairy project”. I had replied yes.

I was posted to Bhatinda with four colleagues. We travelled by Paschim express train in the evening from Baroda to Delhi and reached New Delhi the following day. We had to board another train at New Delhi for Bhatinda. The train for Bhatinda in the evening. So we had to wait at the New Delhi Railway station for about six hours. We had to pass the time till we board the train to Bhatinda. Connaught place is a famous area of Delhi located near to New Delhi railway station. We decided to visit Connaught Place in a group of two persons by turn so that the other two members could watch over our luggage at the railway platform. We enjoyed our short trip to  Connaught Place.

The next day morning, we reached Bhatinda. The dairy plant was about four km away from the city. We met with Dr Malhotra, who was sent earlier as the team leader. 

He had arranged one-room accommodation for us. We lived there for about five days. He warned us about cold weather in the coming days and advised us to purchase woollen clothes like sweaters, mufflers, caps and boots. We bought the same from Bhatinda market with his help.

After about five days, I moved to Rampura Phul town, which was 30 km away from Bhatinda, with one of my colleagues Shri Kuriakose (from Kerala), to organise the cooperative milk society in that area.

I stayed in villages and trained the newly recruited milk producers cooperative society staff, in the collection of milk, fat testing, calculation of amount etc.

Two procurement assistants from the Bhatinda milk union, Shri Sharma and Shri Yadav, were with us at Rampura phul. Once we completed training of newly recruited society staff, we used to visit at milk collection time other nearby milk producers cooperative societies for supervision of work.

At Rampura Phul, we used to frequent a hotel for food. However, we were not satisfied with the food they served. It was costly also. We had no choice and for some days, we continued to eat at the hotel. 

After some days, one of our colleagues, Shri Sharma, said, “I can cook roti and bhaji.”

We were happy to learn that he knew how to cook. We purchased the required items and he cooked a Punjabi meal of roti and sabzi for us, which was very tasty. 

We used to take food cooked by Sharma at noon. In the evenings, we grabbed dinner outside.

We had hired one-room independent accommodation, which had a compound wall. The room was small, and the owner had provided two beds. We were four. So we used to sleep in pairs. Shri Kuriakose and I shared a bed. We felt good as it protected us from cold.

After about three months in February, I was transferred from Bhatinda to Anand. I travelled from Bhatinda by train at night time. The train reached New Delhi the following day. The train from Delhi to Baroda was in the evening time. So I had about 10 hours to spare before boarding the next train. I visited Qutub Minar and the red fort area of Delhi. I enjoyed the visit.

On the proposed amendments to the NDDB act; A view point

<strong>रश्मिकांत नागर  </strong>
रश्मिकांत नागर

अपने छात्र जीवन की “एक” कारस्तानी का बयान कर रहे हैं।
यह कहानी नहीं, सत्य घटना है। 

The Government’s recent move to amend the NDDB act 37 of 1987 has drawn a lot of attention. In this article, I have attempted to analyse how the proposed amendments can be more effective by restructuring NDDB in the larger interest of the entire agricultural sector, including the dairy sector.

In the last few days, there have been numerous posts regarding the proposed amendments to the NDDB act 37 of 1987 on social media. The reactions have been mostly angry or emotional. Some see in it a covert attempt by the private sector to gain entry into the management of NDDB and thus a veiled attempt to tone down the body corporate’s principal mandate to promote dairying on cooperative lines based on the famous ‘Anand pattern’, wherein the entire value chain is owned by millions of small milk producers across the country and is successfully managed by professionals as the employees of the cooperatives.

I Before I go further, I want to remind the readers that, over the last fifty years, the dairy cooperatives spearheaded by ‘Amul’ have emerged as a force to recon with.

They have not only emerged as the ‘price-quality’ leaders, but have played a key role in disciplining the entire sub sector. Dairy cooperative are a trend setter in empowering the small farmers and an example to follow to empower farmers in other sub sectors of Indian agriculture. Dairy cooperatives have given the farmers- especially the resource poor small farmers, a sense of dignity that must not only be upheld on all counts but must also be extended to producers of other agricultural commodities.

Having said that, I would like to share my thoughts on why the amendments inthe act have been thought of? Are these amendments really necessary? Will they rob NDDB of its operational freedom? Will they position private sector against the cooperative sector? Is the government seeing in the proposed amendments an opportunity to strengthen NDDB and reposition it as an institution that can extend the application of the principles of ‘Anand pattern’ of value chains to other sub sectors of agriculture?

At this juncture it is necessary to recall some facts about NDDB’s operations during the “Kurien era”- the period during which the three phases of “Operation Flood” that made India the largest milk producer in the world, implemented.

1. Funding: The project was implemented without any direct budgetary provision from the consolidated funds of India. Whereas the first phase was implemented entirely out of monetisation of dairy commodities gifted by the European Union, second phase was implemented by a combination of gift commodities and funding by International Development Association (IDA), the soft landing affiliate of the World Bank. Funding for the third phase was with considerably reduced commodity aid and mainly from the World Bank’s main affiliate- IBRD which carried a burden of interest applicable on such loans to country governments.

This funding, especially during the first two phases gave NDDB immense flexibility to fund the action items related to the Institution building as grant to the cooperatives, and it could fund infrastructure building at interest rates substantially lower than normal landing rates of the commercial banks. NDDB could also offer its funding linked techno- professional support services to the cooperatives at nominal turn key fee rates thus considerably lowering the later’s loan repayment liabilities. By placing surplus funds in high interest paying deposits with banks and other institutions, NDDB generated adequate income to meet most of its staff costs and other overheads.

2. Subsidiaries: During this period, NDDB did create subsidiary companies like the Indian Immunologicals (IIL) and the Indian Dairy Machinery Company (IDMC) besides encouraging private investment in manufacture of equipment and machinery to meet the demand placed by a large and time bound project. The idea behind creating these subsidiaries was to make inputs available to the cooperatives at the most competitive price and thus save them from exploitative pricing by handful of established companies in the business. It must be noted here that none of the subsidiaries created by the NDDB were dealing with milk business to be in competition with the cooperatives. Even the Mother Dairies of Delhi and Kolkata managed by NDDB were sourcing their entire requirement of milk from the dairy cooperatives of other states.

3. Pilot Projects: NDDB also experimented by starting pilot projects in other sub sectors of agriculture namely, fruit and vegetables, inland fisheries, Tree growers cooperatives etc. out of its own resources. The idea was to test if the principles of the cooperative model that it is implementing for fairy sector can be applied to other sectors of agriculture and forestry.

4. Oilseeds and Edible Oil Project: On a larger scale, NDDB implemented the edible oils project by replication of the Anand pattern of cooperatives. This project too was funded entirely out of commodity aid and generated enough funds to provide liberal grants to the Oilseeds cooperatives for institutional build up.

NDDB thus was never in direct competition with the cooperatives. All its actions were fully geared to support creation of strong, commercially viable and fully farmers’ owned businesses.

But it all changed at the turn of the century. In 1998, the government of India allowed private sector entry in the dairy sector on the pretext that there are large areas not serviced by the cooperatives even in the milksheds demarcated for the cooperatives and the entry of private sector will boost milk production in these areas. Now the cooperatives had to face a private operator who could easily poach in the milkshed painstakingly developed by it over three decades.

What changed for the NDDB: 

In early years of the century, following changes took place in the national economic scene. These developments may have led NDDB to rethink on its strategy to shore up its resources.

1. Following conclusion of Operation Flood III, it did not have a plan to move forward for the fourth phase. In any case, commodity aid and loans from soft landing affiliate of the World Bank were completely ruled out. Commodity aid for the edible oil project too dried out.

2. To continue with the fourth phase, NDDB needed to generate its own resources. It did not have enough funds to continue with loan-grant pattern of project funding.

3. As the interest rates of the commercial banks and companies fell, its income from fixed deposits declined.

4. By Virtually shelving the vegetable oil project and limiting ‘Dhara’- a brand that had emerged as the price- quality leader in packaged oil segment, NDDB not only limited itself to dairy sub sector but also irretrievably lost the highly potential net revenue generating opportunity.

5. Landing rates of commercial banks became more competitive than that of NDDB and required much less paper work. Thus even the cooperativesbegan to look towards banks for funding expansion plans.

6. NDDB’s subsidiaries did not generate profits as expected to meet NDDB’s growing overheads due to implementation of the recommendations of the pay commission.

7. NDDB lost a large pool of qualified and experienced techno-professionals with many opting for VRS and joining the competing private sector.

8. NDDB lost income tax exemption granted to it vide clause 44 of the NDDB act 37 of 1987, when the provision was omitted w.e.f 1st April 2003 notified vide the Finance act 20 of 2002.

To sum it up, the external environment completely changed for NDDB to continue with the well established pattern of funding and supporting the projectsin the dairy sector on grant-loan pattern.

It is my personal judgement that, faced with this challenge, NDDB was left with no option but to think of other ways to shore up its resources. It therefore opted to create two new subsidies: 1. The Mother Dairy Fruit and Vegetables Limited in direct competition with the very cooperatives it was primarily mandated to promote and establish pan India presence of the brand ‘Mother Dairy’, 2.NDDB Dairy Services to provide a complete array of support services to the dairy sector- primarily to ‘cooperative companies’ that it had begun to promote after conclusion of Operation Flood. It banked heavily upon its already depleted and relatively inexperienced pool of techno- professionals to compete in the market to earn a surplus after meeting the overheads.

It was a gamble that failed. As the media reports (Money control and Cobraposts) suggest, nearly 400 crores have been lost since creation of these two companies.

It is in light of these facts that we need to understand the move to amend the NDDB Act.

1. Until recently- till National Dairy Project NDP-I (A six year program staring 2012-13 as a centrally sponsored scheme) was approved with World Bank-IDA/GOI funding, the government, despite its representation on the board never questioned the management of NDDB, presumably because the act provided NDDB absolute operational freedom that included creating subsidiaries, deployment of funds, recruitment and deciding the terms of employment. Now that it is public knowledge that NDDB’s losses are massive, is there a realisation that NDDB funds are after all public funds and must be in safe hands? And, that the representatives of the government on the board of directors have failed in their duty by not bringing the losses to the notice of the government?

2. Did the losses reach this magnitude because, the operational freedom got interpreted as ‘freedom to be non-transparent’? Did the freedom from CAG audit mean freedom from being non accountable?

3. Having given the private enterprises entry in the dairy sector, should the NDDB continue to serve only the cooperatives and the producer companies? It is after all “National Dairy Development Board” and NOT “National Cooperative Dairy Development Board”.

A quick look at the proposed amendments may throw some light on the intend of the government.

Following sections of the principal act (37 of 1987) are proposed to be amended: 8,9,16,43 and 48.

Let us start in the reverse order. In section 48, the clause is amended to include ‘the manner of recruitment’. Given the fact that NDDB’s techno- professional competency must always be at a higher level so that the ‘NDDB Dairy Services’ can be a net revenue earning subsidiary, this amendment is fully justified. It will effectively shut personal preferences based recruitment, placement and promotions- an area where transparency was sadly lacking.

At this juncture I would like a serious consideration of the suggestion made by BM Vyas regarding creation of an all ‘India Dairy Service’ (on the lines of IAS, IPS, IRS ETC) so that the subsidiary- National Dairy Services is primarily manned by experienced professionals drawn from the ‘Indian Dairy Service’cadre.

Amendments to section 43 provide that the provisions of the ‘Right toinformation act 2005’ and the ‘Central vigilance commission act of 2003’. Thus amendment must, in fact be welcomed in the larger public interest of transparency.

Amendment to section 16 that seeks to make the working of subsidiaries created by NDDB and hold the management of these companies accountable must also be welcomed. I feel that this amendment shall send a warning signal if and when the subsidiaries make losses or indulge in questionable transactions. Having a common board for NDDB and it’s subsidiaries will ensure smooth coordination as was the case when NDDB and the Indian Dairy Corporation (IDC) coordinated prior to their merger as new body corporate in 1987. The CEOs of the subsidiaries must be held accountable for prudence in managing the finances of the company they head.

Coming to section 9, that seeks to limit the term of the directors of NDB and its subsidiaries, age beyond which they can not serve on the board etc. is also a well thought of amendment. The existing provision gives a sitting director / CEO virtually unlimited tenure and derive financial benefit beyond legitimate retirement age so long as he/she can ‘manage’ the political dispensation in the government.

Now, section 8, the proposed amendment to which has generated most heat and angry reactions. Prima facie, this amendment seeks to provide covert entry to private sector by providing for an additional director who would be a professional from the private sector.

I am of the view that this particular amendment should result in having a management team at the helm that can take the organisation forward, have a vision and the ability to deliver on the vision to serve the larger interest of farmers. The proposed amendment falls short on this expectation.

My reading is that this amendment is not well conceived. If the government’s real intend is to re-establish the credibility of NDDB as a dynamic professional body that it was during the ‘Kurien era’, then this amendment is grossly inadequate. I am of the view that the board should consist entirely of professionals. I therefore suggest that the two proposed directors representing government should be one each from the Ministry of AH&D and the other from the Ministry of Finance, preferably from the cadre of all India Accounts and Audit service. Other two directors representing the cooperatives must also be professional CEOs of dairy cooperatives and not the chairman of cooperatives who invariably are active politicians.

The government must also keep in mind that whereas the private sector can raise funds in more than one ways, for the cooperatives the options are limited, especially for those that are not strong enough to get funding from commercial banks. Diverting NDDB funds to finance private sector in the guise of ‘startups’ will be counter productive. If the government insists on having a professional from the private sector and divert NDDB’s resources to private sector, it must provide adequate justification for it. The person representing the private sector then must be someone who has a proven record in agricultural-business management. As of now, providing a professional representing private sector doesn’t seem to make any sense.

The focus of the government must,therefore, be on re-structuring NDDB as a truly service oriented professional body. A dynamic and transparent NDDB can then be entrusted with the task of applying the principles of ‘Anand pattern’ to other sub sectors of Indian agriculture to create value chains that are fully owned and operated by the farmers organisations. It is time to rebuild NDDB around a leadership that believes in expansion- the way Dr. Kurien did rather than confine itself to one sub sector-dairying, just because it is named “National Dairy Development Board”.

Vinod Huria Writes on amendment to NDDB Act; Another view point

Vinod Huria worked with NDDB from 1983-1997.
Vinod Huria worked with NDDB from 1983-1997.

Post NDDB he worked at CFTRI and retired in 2013 as Professor, Deputy Director & Senior Principal Scientist

All along we have subscribed to the notion, and Dr Kurien was very firm on this, that the job of the Government is governance and not business. We at the NDDB, promoted the cooperative sector as a form of managing business, where the ownership of the enterprise, vested with the major stakeholders (farmer producers). Although, we came under the purview of the Government of India, we never thought that we were Government.

The NDDB Act 37 of 1987, was designed for and by the NDDB to work in such a way that NDDB had the freedom to implement programs and projects, without major Government involvement or influence. The proposed modifications in the 1987 Act are in favour of the private sector, such that it can exercise strong influence on the operation of the NDDB, by having a Director from the private sector. When we look at the form of management and ownership of the cooperative, private and public sectors, we can visualise and distinguish the philosophy of doing business. While business profitability is the bottom-line, who benefits from the profits earned is the crux of the matter. Surely, we understand that clearly.

This has major implications on prices of the products and services offered, with the market equations of demand and supply playing a major role. 69 years after Air India was taken over by the Government of India, it has been handed back to its rightful owners, the Tatas at a price of Rs 18,000 crores. In this period the GOI sustained losses many times this value, but it used it to provide subsidized services to the citizens and mostly the employees of the Government of India. But it learnt that the business of the Government is not business but governance, the view that Dr Aneja subscribed to and spoke about it in 1989, and Dr Kurien and all of us at the NDDB firmly believed and practiced, but with a difference.

We showed to the world, that even though we were monitored by the Government, we had the freedom to perform without its interference. If Dr Aneja and Dr Kurien could standup and speak for the NDDB, it was on the strength that we provided to the organisation in terms of our commitment to the cause, our ability to deliver and the thoroughness of our knowledge. I am aware that many of us had to leave the NDDB under somewhat tragic circumstances, created by difference of thinking, but when we look back we realize that whatever happened was the best.

We are happy that we worked for an institution where Dr Kurien and Dr Aneja provided leadership, and the institution performed to establish an industry were milk and oil flow, fruits and vegetables travel thousands of miles to reach us, and where trees and bushes grow to green India sustainably. All of this with the current line of thinking that development should be based on a sustainable environment.NDDB was our pride when we worked and will always remain our pride.

Let’s pray that our institution lives forever, and always remain the cynosure of our eyes and the beat of our hearts, for we have given it breath and breadth.

One winter morning in Anand

The year 1991. I was still nine years away from leaving the National Dairy Development Board.

I had always thought that God willing I will retire and live in Anand till I breathe my last and be taken to Kailash Bhoomi for cremation. I had my former colleagues and friends in the great City, the Milk Capital of India, Anand.

I am still in touch with some of them. Though Corona and old age has taken a heavy toll and many dear ones left us.

Anand is the city where I got my first regular job. A place that not only gave me a job but a sense of purpose and a way of life to live attempting to do good for others.

I had moved out of the campus where I had lived from 1970 in the Chummery, now Guest House, Trainees Hostel as the first warden, D -12, C-10 and B-4.

I had moved out to my own house behind NDDB Campus near the Institute of Rural Management Main Gate. These twin houses with a common wall were built by my dear friend Behla and me. There were no buildings in that area of Mangalpura when we moved. That’s a separate story.

Those days I had dual responsibilities heading the Human Resources function in the Dairy Board and also looking after the Chairman’s Office.

It was Sunday and the office was closed. I received a call early morning around 6 AM from Dr Verghese Kurien our founder Chairman. It was rather unusual. He would normally come to office on Saturdays for an hour or two or when he had an appointment. But on a Sunday it was rare.

He said

“Kurien here”

“Good Morning Sir”

“I am going to meet Devilalji our former deputy prime minister”

“Where Sir”

Dr Kurien mentioned the name of the village where Devilal Ji was staying the previous night. Some of you would recall that Devilal ji undertook a Chetna Yatra to awaken masses particularly rural people after his stint with the Government was over. This yatra was for over a year.

I would receive such calls from Saheb wherein he would not ask me to do anything but just inform me. I was supposed to understand and respond.

I said “Sir do you want me to come with you ?”

He said said “ Okay, but bring latest copies of NDDB and GCMMF Annual reports. I will send the car to pick you up from home. I said “No sir ask the driver to pick me up from office as I will go there to pick up the reports”

As planned the car arrived and I went to Dr Kuriens home and we both were driven to that village. I don’t remember the name of the village but it was off Borsad road.

When we arraigned at the farmers home where Chaudhry Devilal was staying I noticed the Chetna Rath; a bus. I went inside and announced that Dr Kurien is here to call on Devilal ji.

We were welcomed and taken inside the Rath. It was an air conditioned bus with the washroom towards the end. A large bed and couple of chairs plus the usual paraphernalia for storage of luggage e etc.

After a wait of about five minutes or so Chaudhry Saheb arrived. We got up and greeted him. By that time we had already been offered a glass of Lassi each. The Utterly Butterly Milkman wasn’t fond of milk or milk products and only used milk to whiten coffee. I had finished my glass of lassi.

Devilal ji requested the hosts to arrange for some coffee for Dr Kurien.

Now only we three were in the Rath. They both started talking. It was clear that my job was to be an interpreter.

Dr Kurien thanked Chaudhry Saheb for the help and support that NDDB, GCMMF and he received from Chaudhry Saheb while Devilal Ji held the Agriculture Ministry portfolio and Deputy Prime Ministership. Dr Kurien also explained how strong both the NDDB and GCCMMF have become over years serving the cause of farmers. Dr Kurien handed over to Chaudhry Saheb the NDDB and GCMMF Annual reports that I was carrying.

Now it was the turn of Devilal Ji to share the purpose of his undertaking Rath Yatra to awaken farmers. He shared reminiscences of his visit to China where he had been to villages and found the villages to be fully developed having all modern facilities. Devi Lal ji was carrying long sheets of papers in bundles which he showed us. These were lists of Class One Officers, Secretaries, Joint Secretaries, Ambassadors etc. Devilal ji pointed out that there are hardly any one among them who come from a rural background.

I was translating where necessary and found that they both were liking each other and conversing freely appreciating each other’s view point.

Dr Kurien said, “Sir, NDDB now has an asset base of Rs 3000 crores.” Devilal said “Balram Jakhar Teri Madad Karta hai? ( बलराम झाखड तेरी मदद करता है? Dr Kurien said “Yes Sir” and again started talking about the financial strengths of the organisations he headed. Devilal Ji was listening aptly but all of a sudden his voice boomed “ Yeh Paisa Teri Maut ka Karan Banega.” “यह पैसा तेरी मौत का कारण बनेगा).

I was stunned at the raw, straightforward statement coming from a farmer politician. I had the onerous talk of translating this. Dr Kurien was looking at me. Not that Dr Kurien did not understand Hindi at all. But this statement of Devilal Ji came so suddenly that like me he too was taken aback. I composed myself and translated it as “ Sir, Sir is saying that the asset base of NDDB will create problems for you.”

They continued to talk and after a some time DrKurien and I bid farewell to Devilal ji and headed back home.

I was thinking as to how NDDB assets will create problems for Dr Kurien. He did not take any salary from NDDB from 1965 till he left in 1998 and also stopped getting any remuneration except sitting fees and travel reimbursement etc. from GCMMF as he was then an honorary Chairman of both bodies.

That was 1991.

In 2022, some thirty two years later the Government of India now proposes to put a private sector representative on the board of NDDB. By amending the NDDB Act 37 of 1987 passed by the parliament to replicate Anand Pattern Cooperatives across the country. Please click here for the Government’s offer seeking public opinion on the proposed amendments.

Devilal Ji’s words reverberate in my minds ears … Yeh Paisa Teri Maut ka Karan Banega. यह पैसा तेरी मौत का कारण बनेगा ।

Dr Kurien lived all his life in Anand. Tirelessly worked against exploitation of farmers by private traders. Stalwarts like Sarvashi TK Patel, Morarji Bhai Desai, Babubhai Jasbhai Patel, Jaswant Lal Shah, Motibhai Chaudhry, Thiru Paramshivam and many many others were his mentors and supporters. I don’t recall all the names.

All the Prime Ministers right from Jawahar Lal Nehru , Lal Bahadur Shashtri, India Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Devegowda Ji, all supported the work that he was doing. Manmohan Singh hi, Bajpai Ji and Modi Ji have all supported the policy of cooperatives owned and commanded by producers of agricultural commodities.

I was thinking as to how NDDB assets will create problems for Dr Kurien.

True many at times in the past there were periods of opposition from bureaucrats, private operators and even “academics”. But NDDB stood United and if required there was intervention from highest level as it happened in 1983 when all the officers of NDDB resigned and the Govt set up a Committee under Shri LK Jha to suggest ways to strengthen NDDB and IDC. That report paved the way for the passage of the NDDB Act 37 of 1987.

Why, therefore, there is a hurry to bring about a change and put private sector representative on NDDB Board and all its subsidiaries. Why can’t a high powered committee look at the issues? If there has been some internal assessment why don’t they make the report public so that the rationale for doing what they propose to do is clear.

Very difficult to understand. There has been a petition going round in response to the Government’s offer asking for public comments. It has been started by BM Vyas and his former associate at GCMMF, Manu Kaushik. I have signed on it. The document can be accessed by clicking on this link.

Dr Kurien is no longer among us but his work, his teachings, his philosophy that was, is and will remain with us as long as farmers do not find their rightful place in nations economy. We all celebrated his birth centenary on 26 November. Glowing tributes were paid by his institutions and by the State and Central Government Ministers in public functions organised in Delhi Anand and several other cities in November 2021. Tinkering with an act in this casual manner is not a good sign.

Or as Devilal Ji said Yeh Paisa Teri Maut ka Karan Banega and the idea is to kill his philosophy too!

A better alternative could be, as a friend of mine wrote “ It would appear that NDDB has now become irrelevant, just as the Milk Marketing Board of UK, and must either be restructured to cover all agricultural commodities or simply dissolved.”

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.

A journey from Gujarat to West Bengal

Raghu Chattopadhyaya
Raghu Chattopadhyaya

Genesis of milk operation by Amul Dairy in West Bengal

Dedicated to “Father of white revolution”, Milk man of India Dr. V.Kurien

This blog contains a document  titled “A journey from Gujarat to West Bengal” in pdf format embedded on this page. It is written by my dear friend and former colleague Dr Raghu Chattopadhyaya. 

It is the story of milk producers cooperative movement in West Bengal. 

Readers can view and/or download the entire document. 

It actually is more than a story because it provides a lot of data which could be of interest to researchers and also inspire other NDDBians who were the flag bearers of Anand Patrern Milk Producers Cooperatives of 20th Century vintage which gave birth to “Farmer Producer Organisation” in 21 Century!

 My apologies to Dr Raghu Chattopadhyaya for the delay  in uploading this story. 

Please scroll down to read the story of this blog.

Now the story of this blog

Dr Raghu Chattopadhyaya met me at the former NDDB employees meet in February 2020. We met after many years and while we were chatting he quietly passed on to me a A4 size cover which had a hard copy of this document. In the evening I read and liked it. Next day when we met I thanked him for the meticulous work done by compiling facts and figures, adding to that pictures and a narrative that makes it complete. We decided that I will publish it on Vrikshamandir.

Easier said than done.

I moved to Canada in July 2020 and when I started looking for the document I realised that had not brought with me to Canada. I got in touch with him. He shared with me a pdf document. I found it difficult to upload it. I requested him to share a word document. He did but it was so heavy and full of pictures that despite several attempts I could not upload the same.

I was feeling frustrated but realising that technology is not my forte, I kept on trying.

I had almost given up and then by chance in June 2021 I found that there is a very easy way to both upload a pdf document and also enable it’s viewing and down loading. It was a struggle similar to the one I faced in uploading the Vrikshamandir audio page.

जिन खोजा तिन पाइयाँ गहरे पानी पैठ !

Dr HB Joshi appears for a job Interview at NDDB 1977

My job interview with NDDB and lessons learnt !

Slipping back to the den of glorious past in 1975, I had graduated from Gujarat College of Veterinary Science Anand and had obtained prestigious degree of Bachelor of Veterinary Science and Animal Husbandry ( BV Sc.& AH). I got my first job on an ad hoc basis as a lecturer in surgery in the College itself based on merit and thus my professional career had started !

Singing being my ardent passion, I had inculcated wonderful relationship with Prof.Dr. Jayvir Anjaria who was a connoisseur of music. Almost every weekend, we had wonderful sittings for singing !

Our audience of that time mostly comprised Shri Girishbhai Jhala the then Secretary of National Dairy Development Board, Anand and sometimes Rashmi Nagarji and a few others.

I was popularly known as Gadhvi, a name given by Jhala Saheb. I would also get invitation to conduct prayer sessions university convocation as I was the leading voice !

Two years passed but there was no offer for a regular job. Naturally we all were worried as to when would we be selected for a regular job. This question was hovering in our psyche !

In fact, we were trapped in the college. We were interviewed in the department but not selected so our future were in limbo as salary was meagre and if we wanted to study further we had to seek admission at our cost and no study leave was granted !

In such a grave scenario, suddenly there was a ray of hope as NDDB had the requirements for training personnel in Artificial Insemination and Veterinary First Aid in a wonderful pay scale hardly a young graduate could expect !

At that time we had an impression that NDDB was “heaven on earth” and it would be just a golden opportunity to grab it !

I approached my Professor and counsellor Dr.Anjaria who pushed me and helped me obtain the form which I filled and submitted for the post of Assistant Executive !

Ultimately the day for interview arrived and I entered in the vast panoramic scenic area of NDDB premises ,so clean and neat people were quite punctual standing in a queue to sign muster in the high rise multi-storey office buildings. Hostel area was amazing.

I was very nervous as it was my second job interview of my life, tension was grabbing me what sort of interview would be there and how they conduct !

We were in all 28 candidates. We were asked to sit and wait on the sprawling lush green lawn. Exactly at 10 am, we were asked to appear at a written test.
We moved into the hostel building and appeared at he test. In the afternoon, short listed 12 candidates were asked to appear in personal interview in the office building. Dr AA Chothani who was Head ( FO&AH ) known as a fearful person who talked in high decibels which made almost all the candidates feel pangs of pain down the spine !

Those who came out after appearing at the personal interview were quite dejected may be due to nervousness unable to face such ferocity!

When my turn came I was almost trembling while entering interview room. Inside it was like “bombardment” of volley of questions mostly asked by Dr.Chothani about my experience and present job in his fearful tone. Towards the end Dr. Chothani told me that he will ask only one technical question and if I answered correctly he would select me !

I just concentrated and focussed and with deep breathing prepared for the question that was to decide my future !

close up shot of a cat

“When does a cat ovulate and how does one know that it has mated? “ Within seconds as if an invisible third force helped me and before any one could say say “Jack Robinson”, I answered spontaneously and correct,y. He seemed quite satisfied with my answer which made me happy to see my dream coming true to serve at NDDB!

Finally seven of us were selected and asked to go for medical examination at Dr.AshabhaiPatel ‘s consulting room at Amul dairy.

All selected candidates were quite elated and happy. But the joyous time ended abruptly !

Once we reached Amul and met Dr.Ashabhai we found that he was shouting at candidates who forgot to bring their complete documents. “Please go and bring your paper” would yell at the candidate who did not have complete papers. Many would have their heartbeat go up and run to bring their missing papers.

However, fortunately I was among those who had all their documents !

Dr. Ashabhai then commanded us stand in a line and to open up our pant for examination which we found unusual but there was no option!

All of us then stood with our pants down. He came to each of us and almost quizzed the testicles to examine, which was quite a painful process! On checking my eyes on opthelmological examination ,I had number for long sight so asked me to prepare specks and further report to NDDB!

And ,ultimately I was on ninth cloud when I received the order to join NDDB in 1977 ,after three months of training at Head Quarter at Anand ,I was placed at Sabarmati Ashram Gaushala Project at Ahmedabad as Training Incharge for AI & vety.!First Aid !

It was an eventful day and I learnt a lesson I to be punctual and face any situation with careful preparation, confidence and discipline.

I wrote in the minutes book of the NDDB Dairy Development Board


I enjoyed the task and it has become one of the many fond remembrances of my past with NDDB

After joining the service at NDDB in January 1974, I underwent a “training” at village level milk producers cooperative societies affiliated to the Kheda District Milk Producers Union Ltd ( Amul Dairy). However, my training was more like an orientation programme as I had prior work experience having worked in similar functions in Animal Husbandry and support to milk cooperative societies at Sabar Kantha Milk Producers Cooperative Union Ltd.

Thereafter, I got opportunities to work with NDDB Spear Head Team (s) in different parts of the country.

During my tenure with NDDB I also worked at NDDB Head Office at Anand. I was involved in field training of “trainees” who were sent to Anand to get trained in organising Anand pattern dairy cooperatives in various parts of the country.

Whenever there was a slack in the number of training programmes to be conducted we had to spend time in the office and carry out miscellaneous jobs.

Once in the year 1977 or 1978 while I was attending office work a request came from the Administration Division to my Division, Farmers Organisation and Animal Husbandry Division (FO & AH) requesting for sparing a staff member with good hand writing in English. This request was perhaps due to work load and urgency to complete this task within the Administration Division.

My Senior Executive Shri NG Trivedi suggested my name for the same.

I met the Executive concerned in the Administration Division. Unfortunately I don’t recall his name now.

After checking a sample of my hand writing the Executive was satisfied and entrusted me the task of writing by hand the minutes of the NDDB board meeting on the official Minutes Book of NDDB. This was to be signed by chairman.

He clearly told me that I had to ensure accuracy, neatness by writing clearly and not to overwrite.

I was excited and full of enthusiasm as I got trusted for doing a job for the office of Dr. Kurien Sir.

Minutes book which had very good quality of paper with attractive leather biding was handed over to me along with the a bunch of papers that contained the typed minutes of the meeting.

I was provided a separate place to sit and write the minutes. A lot of pages of typed material were to be hand written in the Minutes book. I could not finish writing and it was time for closure of office.

Next day was a Sunday. Due to urgency, the Executive asked me “Are you ready to write willingly on Sunday at your home ?”

I said yes. I was ready to do so . It was due to the trust conferred on me for such an important task. I was really excited and enthusiastic to complete the task.

He agreed and the minutes book along with minutes papers was packed in a confidential cover and handed over to me.

I completed the task of writing by hand in the official minutes book of NDDB that Sunday at home with utmost care and handed over the Minute Book and other papers back to the Administration Division the next working day.

I felt proud that my hand written minutes were to be signed by Dr Kurien Sir!

There after I got such opportunities a couple of times more to write the minutes.

I enjoyed the task and it has become one of the many fond remembrances of my past with NDDB.

Fruitful Cooperation

- Dr Mukund Naware 

सफल सहयोग

You find the cause and means will follow, it is said.

I experienced this as NDDB Spearhead Team Leader, Jalgaon during 1974-76. It started with visit of Purushottam Joshi who was my friend in Nagpur Veterinary College few years ago. He had come on short visit to Jalgaon with his wife and the couple was staying with her sister.

Joshi contacted me over phone and then met me in Jalgaon Union’s office. His visit was no doubt a surprise and we decided to spend as much time together as possible. Then he casually mentioned that the relative with whom he was staying had his office just at a walkable distance from the place where we were sitting. He suggested that we could as well go there and meet him just as personal introduction. I accepted his suggestion and we went there.

That was the office of the Directorate of Field Publicity. Till then I had not known that there was a Govt. Department by that name. The name of the officer was Shri Khandekar who was co-brother of Joshi. After we were introduced I found Khandekar to be very informative and helpful, perhaps that was his job requirement also. During the corse of our discussion it was revealed that his office was there to help various departments in field activities and for this purpose they had hundreds of documentary films on various topics. I casually enquired whether they had films on dairy and cooperation. He immediately called the list and I found that they had two documentary films with titles सफल सहयोग and सौराष्ट्र के लोकनृत्य. The black and white film सफल सहयोग was based on Amul story and the other one in color, although devoted to folk dances had depicted perfect harmony amongst artistes which was nothing short of cooperation. Then and there I thought about borrowing those films on a future date and Khandekar readily agreed to help me. Thus our meeting ended on a positive note and on next day Joshi went back to Buldana where he was working as Extension Officer in Zilla Parishad.

Then I discussed my idea with Narendra Vashi who was like Deputy Team Leader. He agreed that showing documentary films in villages where we organized dairy societies on Anand Pattern was excellent idea. What more, he was willing to operate the 16 mm projector himself if we could arrange one. At NDRI he had received practical training to operate the projector. Now our problem was to only find the projector and we made some effort in that direction. In couple of days we came to know that the Arts and Science College at Faizpur had a 16 mm projector and Shri JT Mahajan, MLA who was Chairman of Jalgaon Milk Union had influence over that college being on the Executive Committee of the Education Society that ran the college. That linkage worked wonderfully well and when we went to meet the College Principal instantly he gave us the 16 mm projector and the rolled screen with tripod stand in complete faith. That added a dimension to our extension effort immensely.

We went to Shri Khandekar to obtain the films. He did not ask for even a formal letter and just on my signature in his register he gave away both the films. In the next couple of days Vashi tried and confirmed that the assembled things ( जुगाड ) worked well and we were ready with a Projector and two Films as a part of our Team’s kit to organize film shows. In the next ten months we must have organized over sixty to seventy film shows in villages just a day prior to bringing the working on Anand Pattern. Each show had hundreds of viewers, women and children alike and the message followed was quite powerful. The first film to be screened was on folk dances followed by सफल सहयोग.

The film सफल सहयोग was produced by Ezra Mir in Films Division and it was remarkable being a sort of running interview of Dr. Kurien dubbed in Hindi with several frames appearing in the background

At one point Dr. Kurien was also seen in conversation with Amul Chairman, Shri Tribhuvandas Patel although their dialogue was not audible. What I remember till today is a line dubbed in Hindi in which he was saying … और आनंद मे हमने यही तो सिद्ध किया है । ( I am one of those who believe that…) भारत का किसान इतना पिछडा हुआ नही है जितना कि समझा जाता है.. हम सभी की तरह वह शुरूआतमे नये तरीके अपनानेसे झिझकता है … लेकिन जब उसे मालूम होता है कि दूध उत्पादन के नये तरीके फायदेमंद हो सकते है, उसकी आमदनी बढा सकते है, तब वह बिना झिझक से उन्हे अपना लेता है… All such statements were good enough to make lasting impact on farmers. Therefore, we could see that screening of these films charged the village atmosphere and it helped us in our extension effort.

During this period the Field Publicity Office did ask us to return the films couple of times but that was only to reissue them. The College at Faizpur also did not ask us to return the projector. Here I must mention that during the first phase of Operation Flood there was no provision of funds for Spearhead Team to carry a Film Projector. Therefore, the number of Film Shows reported by us on monthly basis was over and above the expectation and hardly anybody noticed that activity leave alone appreciation.

However, after several months it so happened that the electric bulb in the projector went off and it had to be replaced. As can be expected the replacement was not available easily but a local electrical shop could finally arrange for it. Needless to say, we included the ‘ expenditure on replacement of projector bulb ‘ in our monthly statement.

Thereafter we promptly received a note calling for explanation on that kind of expenditure. When there was no projector from NDDB how the expenditure on bulb replacement could be entertained was the question raised by our auditors. When I answered them the expenditure was allowed as a special case.

However, that sent us alarm that if something went wrong with the projector as a whole who could replace the whole projector and certainly it was beyond our personal capacity. So we thought enough is enough and returned the projector and both the films to respective agencies. The सफल सहयोग was over.

P.S. Purushottam Joshi, my friend who caused the above chain of events met with a fatal accident sometime in 1980. Like many, even he didn’t know about his contribution to our work.

Dr. Kurien receives Lokmanya Tilak Award

DV Ghanekar
DV Ghanekar

NDDB 1974- 2009 and Kolhapur Milk Producers Union 2009 continuing

I was NDDB, State Director for Maharashtra during 2000-2003.

In the year 2002, we received a message that Dr. Kurien would visit to Pune to receive “Lokmanya TilakAward” constituted by Lokmanya Tilak Trust, at Tilak Smarak Bhavan, Pune.

The entire staff comprising ten NDDB Officers was asked to attend the ceremony.

The Tilak SmarakBhavan in Pune is famous for its cultural activities.

It is located in the middle of the Pune city near S.P. college. We had informed milk unions in Maharashtra about the award ceremony well in advance. Therefore, a huge number of farmer leaders gathered on the venue that day.

Hall was jam packed and people were standing in the corridor to have glimpse of Dr. Kurien and listen to his speech. Pune is the educational hub, not only in Maharashtra but also in western part of the country.

The people in the city who are known to speak one of the purest cultured Marathi language were about to listen to a great orator of his time who never spoke any language other than English. His command over English was supreb.

On that day, in the month of August, Dr. Kurien was at his best in his usual style.

In the beginning, he spoke about the genesis of about Amul dairy and NDDB at a small place called Anand in Gujarat.

In the audience, there were government departments’ officers who had opposed Dr. Kurien’s policy “tooth and nail”. In fact at one point of time in Pune, Dr. Kurien’s effigy was burnt by the government dairy employees protesting against implementation of Operation Flood Programme.

In the same city, where Dr. Kurien and his policies were opposed, he was being felicitated by one of the most prestigious award that too by none other than the grandson of Lokmanya Tilak.

Lokmanya Tilak was known for his outspoken and forthright nationalism.

Dr. Kurien too was known for similar qualities. Dr. Kurien was probably one of the most worthy recipients of the awardees of Lokmanya Tilak Award which was constituted by the Lokmanya Tilak Trust in 1983.

I still remember his speech and his philosophical remarks. He said, in this world, nothing is clear cut in black or white. There is always a shade of grey in between. Throughout this life, Dr. Kurien favoured doing things in White. That is why he named Operation Flood as “White Revolution”.

Despite this ‘Illustrated Weekly’ accused NDDB for white lies. He fought these black forces throughout his life and never compromised his values. His loathing for bureaucracy emanated from his experiences of dealing with the bureaucracy under different governments.

Probably that is why on that day he said nothing is either white or black in this world and there is a shade of grey in between.

What a classic remark. It was a memorable day for dairy industry in Maharashtra.