Kurienomania

Rajesh Nair
Rajesh Nair

Rajesh Nair was a member of the faculty at IRMA in Marketing and PQM areas from 1999 for over five years. He left academics in 2004 to move full-time to the corporate world, where, over the years, he has held leadership roles in a few reputed companies. 


Photo of a painting by Dr (Mrs) Rama Aneja

Rajesh Nair started teaching at IRMA in 1999 and I left NDDB in 2000. We never met. Thanks to Facebook we connected. I have great pleasure in posting, with his permission, three reminiscences that he wrote about Dr V Kurien.

26 November 2020

The board room of IRMA’s ETDC was cram-full that morning. Two management development programs were on. Both groups of trainees had assembled for a joint session. When some colleagues and I went in at the invitation of the program directors, there was no place to sit. The housekeeping staff helped tow chairs from next door.

Everyone sat in utter silence.

The clock struck 10:00. Outside, off the auditorium, the Amul-Carillon chimes played a jingle announcing the time. That very moment, as though robotically programmed, the enormous door of the board room opened. Dr. V. Kurien, Chairman of IRMA and GCMMF, walked in. His executive assistant trailed him.

All rose.

The trainees appeared awestruck by their maiden meeting with the Father of the White Revolution, the architect of Operation Flood.

“The apex co-operative, which you claim you’re running, is an underperforming organization. And I’m not surprised. With people like you at the helm, how will it ever perform?”

Kurien took his seat. He adjusted the microphone, and commanded in his hallmark husky, magisterial voice: “Please be seated.” 

He surveyed his audience. He caught a glance of us, the faculty. For a millionth of a second, a hint of smile flashed across his face. 

He then turned to the program directors. Taking cue, one of them gave a crisp description of the programs and the participants. Wasting no time, the professor requested: “Sir, everyone has been eagerly waiting for this session. Could you please share a few inspiring words?” 

Kurien gladly obliged. He had a predictable stock of storyline for such occasions. People in the Institute had listened to it countless times – how he was thrown into the dusty town of Anand by an accident of fate; how Tribhuvandas Patel discovered him; how that became his breakthrough moment; how that changed the lives of the dairy farmers of Gujarat; how Amul was born. How he founded NDDB. How he built IRMA. “Brick by brick.” 

And on. And on. 

Yet, even to those who were sampling the same narrative the umpteenth time, there was a tinge of freshness, a new twist, an unexpected detail, an amusing embellishment. Always. That made Kurien a consummate raconteur. 

He told the trainees: “So ladies and gentlemen, you should appreciate you’re at an institution with a difference. This is a school with a soul. My graduates are not only rigorously trained professionals, they have dedicated themselves to the cause of the deprived and the marginalized. They possess a rare gift. Of empathy and integrity. Of goodness.” 

He paused. And rounded up: “I wish you a productive week. I hope the faculty will exceed your expectations. I’m sure ETDC housekeeping and catering are making your stay comfortable.” 

One of the program directors suggested: “Sir, some of them may have questions. In case you have time, Sir.” 

“A couple of questions.” 

A man, seemingly in his early fifties, seized the opportunity: “Dr. Kurien, is it true that IRMA graduates are committed to the deprived? I know graduates who …” 

Kurien snipped him: “Introduce yourself first.” 

“I am an officer of the Indian Forest Service. I am presently …” 

“STATE. YOUR. NAME.” 

Grabbed by the throat and yoked, the officer obeyed. He meekly uttered his name. 

Kurien demanded: “What do you do?” 

“Sir … uh … I am the Managing Director of … uh … XX State Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation, Sir.” 

“What business do you, a Forest Service man, have in an apex dairy co-operative?” 

The forester turned anemic. He attempted nevertheless: “Sir … I am …” 

A colleague whispered in my ear: “He’s ruined. Hadn’t anybody briefed him?” 

Kurien turned ballistic: “The apex co-operative, which you claim you’re running, is an underperforming organization. And I’m not surprised. With people like you at the helm, how will it ever perform?”

The officer appeared as though he was run over by an asphalt roller. 

Not in a mood to be kind, Kurien nuked him: “Your home state lost substantial green cover in the past decade. There was a time when your state had rich biodiversity. Not any longer. Under the watch of people like you, most of the trees got felled. Animals got poached. You’ve managed to ruin the pristine forests. Now you’re sitting in a farmers’ organization, all set to destroy it. Why should people like you, who lack vision, who have no managerial skills, who know no Marketing, hold a key position in an apex co-operative federation? Such roles should go to graduates of an institute like this. My boys and girls don’t get paid proportionate to their talent, to their good work. But they have dedicated themselves to the needy. Most of them. And you … you must go to the forests.” 

Annihilated, the officer slumped in his chair. 

India was yet to test Agni-III missile back then. Kurien’s weaponry was two generations more advanced than DRDO’s. He had already possessed Agni-V. 

Kurien, who nobly secured the livelihood of millions of farmers, who built institutions of eminence, who masterminded the Taste of India, was lethal. At times. 

In his centenary year that commences today, I join the fraternity to celebrate the phenomenon Kurien was.


9 September 2018

Rarely did one spot Dr. Kurien unescorted. His executive assistant almost always trailed him. Or another aide or a guard. So, when Suresh (Prof. M R Suresh – Suresh Maruthi) and I saw Kurien all by himself on the walkway that stretched from ETDC to the library via the faculty building, we were surprised. We had just stepped out of our offices for Ramsingh’s chai. Seeing the Chairman walk toward us, we paused. It was a quiet October afternoon. There were intermittent eruptions of loud laughter from the basement hall of the library, where the GCMMF executives were holding their biannual Hoshin Kanri. 

As Kurien came close, Suresh and I greeted, in near perfect sync, “Good afternoon, Sir.” 

He liked the coordinated, schoolboyish greeting he got. He warmly responded, “Good afternoon.” 

Unable yet to veil my surprise seeing him unaccompanied on the walkway, I asked, “Sir, is there anything we should help you with?”

The Chairman replied, “No, thank you.” He pointed to the library basement and said, “The Federation boys are running Hoshin Kanri. Let me check if they’re discussing their business plan or gossiping. Time for a dose of surprise.” 

He smiled. That signature, mischievous grin! 

It was now Suresh’s turn to ask, “Sir, may we escort you to the basement?” 

“No, I’m good. Thank you for asking. You carry on for your tea.” 

Ah, he had rightly guessed we were going for tea. 

We stood watching Kurien walk westward toward the library. His gait was measured yet stately. 

He slowly descended the steps and went near the black granite plaque, which bore the name “RAVI J. MATTHAI LIBRARY” in chrome finish. He looked at it for a few seconds. He was probably examining if the plaque was cleaned and polished well. He then pushed open the doors of the basement hall and went in. The laughter and commotion that had occasionally emerged from there now totally ceased.

“Of the many virtues Kurien radiated, Passion, Rigor, Integrity, Drive, and Empathy stood out. Not all these are hardwired, and collectively, in every leader. “

Kurien was a leader of numerous dimensions. He deeply influenced the character and unrelentingly honed the competence of the people who worked for him. His leadership style was an intriguing bricolage of foresight, tenacity, autocracy, and compassion. He was volatile at times, with nasty ways. My former colleague the late Prof. Shiladitya Roy used to quip, “Dr. Kurien is the perfect human version of a stochastic process.” Throwing a surprise at the “boys” in the middle of their business planning workshop was a ploy only he could perfectly play. Kurien was larger than life to the people around him. They worked for him or served him as though he owed them no explanation. They believed in him. To quote the man himself, “For those who believe, no explanation is necessary; for those who do not, no explanation is possible.” 

My tribute to the Milkman of India on his sixth anniversary.


26 November 2017

One of my prized professional milestones was that I got to work in an institution Dr. V. Kurien founded, during a period when he was not just alive, but active and at the helm. 

Kurien, the Milkman of India, the creator of Amul, the genius behind Operation Flood, was also the founder of IRMA. 

When I was at IRMA as a member of the faculty, Kurien was the Chairman. Yes, he was “my Chairman.” Even today, I proudly boast in my circles that “Dr. Kurien was my Chairman.” Of the many virtues Kurien radiated, Passion, Rigor, Integrity, Drive, and Empathy stood out. Not all these are hardwired, and collectively, in every leader. If Kurien was inspiring, larger than life, and peerless, that was because of this PRIDE factor. And that made Kurien the Lion King in his domain. That also made him tough and ruthless. Mostly. He appeared to run his institutions autocratically, like a tyrant. But then he was immensely compassionate too. He had his subtle humor to boot, his lighter vein, that infectious discreet warmth. If you tuned well, matched the frequency, you felt it, enjoyed it. Here is a sample from July 1999.

A new cohort of students had just joined IRMA and completed their induction program. The induction, which also comprised a phase of village stay, was allegedly IRMA’s approximation of concentration camps. The induction ended with the Chairman addressing the newcomer students. He and Mrs. Kurien then hosted them a high tea. 

The venue for High Tea that year was Students’ Activity Center. Kurien and Molly Kurien arrived and took their seats in the comfortable sofas IRMA Estate had meticulously laid for them. The faculty, staff, senior students, and assorted other invitees had gathered for tea. 

The new students were excited to be in the company of the Father of White Revolution, recipient of the World Food Prize and the Magsaysay, the founder of their graduate school. That made them forget (and forgive) the acclimatization program the Institute had just put them through, which some of them felt was no short of “institutionalized torture.” 

Kurien had class – looks, gait, word. When he hosted tea, it had to be a class apart. Tea, coffee, and a fine spread of savories and nibbles arrived from the ETDC kitchen, with men in impeccable white serving. The new students were visibly impressed, and relished the snacks. 

Seeing that Kurien was sitting with no tea or snacks, Ajith Somarajan, a member of the new batch of students, walked up to him. He cleared his throat and attempted, “Sir, may I get you a cup of tea or coffee?” 

“His leadership style was an intriguing bricolage of foresight, tenacity, autocracy, and compassion. He was volatile at times, with nasty ways.”

Pat came the reply, “No, thank you. No tea or coffee for me now. I’ll have my whisky at 7:30 in the evening, which Mrs. Kurien will fix me.” He then flashed his rare smile. 

From the cluster of students, a sudden voice arose, “Sir, when do you take milk?” 

Kurien’s reply was supersonic, “I don’t take milk. I don’t like its taste.” Again, that rare flash of smile. 

Today is the 96th birth anniversary of the legendary Father of White Revolution. 

My homage.


डाक्टर कुरियन; एक अभिव्यक्ति

Photo: Painting by Dr Rama Aneja

मेरे जैसै अनेक लोग जो डा कुरियन के सान्निध्य मे आए, मेरी समझ के अनुसार, उनका संबन्ध “विक्रमादित्त्य” और “बैताल” की तरह का है।

हर बार उस बैताल के चरित्र के एक पहलू को किसी एक पीपल के पेड़ पर टांग कर आते हैं । वही बैताल एक बिल्कुल नये चरित्र में हमारे कन्धे पर बैठ कर नये सवाल सामने रख देता है। आज करीब पचास साल के बाद भी !

मै अपने को भाग्यशाली समझता हू कि इस व्यक्तित्व के कुछ पहलू को जो मै देख पाया और जो शायद कुछ के ही नसीब मे आया हो, हो सकता है नही भी आया हो। वह था उनका बाल सुलभ निर्दोष व्यवहार और बाल हठ।

हालांकि, उनका यह पहलू मेरे एन डी डी बी छोड़ने और अमूल ज्वायन करने के बाद की हैं कुछ यादें ।

१. फरबरी,१९७०, बरौनी मेरा पहला साक्षात्कार !

डा कुरियन और डा एस सी रे। बरौनी मे एक घास होती है।नोनी। पूरे जमीन पर फैल जाती है। पीले फूलों से लदी हुई।सारी धरती हल्दी से प्रकृति ने पुताई कर दी हो। डा कुरियन ने डा रे से पूछा “कान्ट वी हैव दिस ईन एन डी बी कैम्पस? नो डाक्टर यू कान्ट हैव एव्री थिंग एव्री वेयर। दोनों ने एक दूसरे को देखा निर्दोष मुस्कुराहट और चल पड़े ।


२. दिसम्बर १९७५, क्रिसमस का दिन

तब एन डी डी बी कैंपस मे शायद तीस या बत्तीस परिवार ही रह रहे होंगे। दो क्रिकेट टीमें बनी। कुरियन इलेवन और वरियावा इलेवन। हम सब खेतीवाड़ी ग्राउन्ड मे इकट्ठे हुये । दोनो नौन प्लेइंग कैप्टेन अपनी अपनी टीम के साथ। एकाएक डा कुरियन ने मुझसे पूछा। कैन आइ गो एन्ड बैट? “आइ वान्ट टू शो निर्मला दैट आई ऐम स्टिल यंग एन्ड कैन बैट। बट आई मस्ट टेक परमिसन आफ द कैप्टेन” ! और वह गए। इन फुल पैड अप। और पूरे सम्मान से खेला। बालसुलभ !


३. १४ जनवरी १९७५, उत्तरायण

एन डी डी बी कैंपस में रहने वाले लोग सामने के मैदान में पतंग उड़ाने मे लीन। सब बच्चे समेत अपनी अपनी पतंग उड़ाने में मस्त। यकायक डा कुरियन अपने परिबार के साथ शामिल। उनकी पतंग किसी ने काट दिया। दूसरी पतंग उपर। एक बच्चे के पास आए। उसका नाम पूछा। उसके बाप का नाम पूछा। अपना पतंग दिया और कहा ” इफ यू लूज़ दिस काइट, योर फादर विल लूज़ हिज़ जौब “बह बच्चा दौड़ता हुआ मेरे पास आया और पूछा “पापा ये कौन आदमी है? मै क्या समझाऊ और किसे समझाऊँ?

४. औपरेशन फ्लड टू का शुरुआती समय

एफ ए ओ एडवाइजर्स के लिये लक्जरी गाडियों में से एक आस्ट्रेलियन होल्डन। निहायत खूबसूरत। देखा। मुझसे कहा “कौल मोली। आइ वान्ट टू ड्राइव हर ऐज माई फर्सट कोपैसेन्जर” । मौली आई। “मौली, यू सिट बाई माई साईड। आस्क दिस फेलो टू सिट बिहाइन्ड। आई विल टेक यू राउन्ड द कैम्पस” । ड्राइविंग सीट पर मानो एक निर्दोष बच्चा ट्वाय कार पर खेल रहा हो। “मौली, यू सी ईट हैज़ पावर स्टीयरिंग। यू प्रेस दिस बटन ऐन्ड ऐन एन्टिना पौप्स आउट” । मौली चुपचाप सब सुनती रही। बस, हूं, यस जौली। कैम्पस का चक्कर लगाया और औफिस के सामने ला कर रोक दिया। शायद रजनी ड्राइवर खड़ा था। मैडम को घर छोड़ दो। और मुझसे , “ यू नो, दिस कार नीड्स वाईट पेट्रोल, ऐन्ड माई कार शुड नौट स्टौप ए सिन्गल डे। उस जमाने में आनंद में व्हाइट पेट्रोल? लेकिन व्हाइट पेट्रोल आया। गाड़ी कभी नही रुकी। कैसे हुआ, यह एक अलग कहानी।

५. निर्मला की शादी

कितने सारे लोग आमंत्रित थे। उनमे एक सैयद भाई भी थे, उनके पहले ड्राइवर। मुझे बुलाया ‘सी दैट ही इज ट्रीटेड नौ वे इन्फीरीयर टू एनी वन हीयर। फौर मी ही द वी वी आइ पी फौर द डे। सैयद मियां के लिए अलग टेबल लगाया, एटेन्ड किया और जब जाने लगे, उन्हें बुलाया “थैन्क यू सैयद भाई” ! सैयद भाई मुड़े बिल्कुल स्पीचलेस। बस आंखे नम थीं।

लेकिन इस विशाल व्यक्तित्व को करीब से पहचानने का मौक़ा मुझे एन डी डी बी छोड़ने और अमूल ज्वायन करने पर मिला, उनके साथ, उनके परिवार के साथ साक्षात, और उन सारे लोगों से आत्मीय बात कर के। उनमे आदरणीय त्रिभुवन काका, श्री रमन शंकर पटेल, श्री मनुभाई डाह्या भाई पटेल और श्री बाबूभाई गिरिधर भाई पटेल और श्री एच एम दलाया। सन १९८७ से २००० तक इनका सामीप्य मिला। घंटो साथ मे बैठता, सुनता, प्योर, औनेस्ट, प्रिस्टीन, नौस्टैल्जिक रिवर्स चरनी औन टाइम।

एक ऐसी ही बैठक में त्रिभुवन काका के साथ। “सींहा, कुरियन ने कोई औढखी सक्या नथी। एनी व्यक्तित्व एक नानो बालक जेवा। निष्कपट, निर्दोष, चंचल। कदी शान्त नही बेसी सके। लोको एने ज़िद्दी कहे छै। आ जिद्दी नथी, हठी छे। पण एनो हठ बालहठ। एक रमकड़ा मली जाए तो बस खुश खुश। जूना समय मां मारा पासे बेसता। खबर नहीं शूं शूं अफलातून बिचार। हूं एनो समझातो, कुरियन अमे महासमर मं छीए। मने वचन दे एवं चर्चा सामान्य रीते अणे सामान्य जग्या नहीं करवानी। अणे ए आजीबन निभाया।”
श्री रमनभाई शंकर भाई पटेल “सींहा, तू केनी बाबत जानवा ईच्छे छे, कुरियन बाबत ? अरे एनो बिचारो ना उंढापण, अमे नथी समझी शक्या तो तु तो एक नाना बालक जेवी छे। अगम्य, अथाह पण मापी न सकाए एवो सारगर्भित” ।
मनुभाई डाह्याभाई पटेल “सींहा अमे राजकारणीया छीए।अमारी कार्यशैली तमने खबर होए। पण कुरियन! आ बाबत मां एनी समझ अणे चपलता अमे नहीं पाड़ी शय्या”।
बाबूभाई गिरधरभाई पटेल कुरियन एनक्लेव और एक जमाने मे कंजरी कैटलफीड फैक्टरी पर आने वाले सामान पर टोल टैक्स पूरी तरह माफ करने वाला शख़्स , बस “एक बात, कुरियन नो प्रश्न छे न। पूछवानो नही, सोचबानो नहीं”

ऐसा व्यक्तित्व , बिरला!


Role of Market Intervention Operations

Dr RP Aneja, former MD, National Dairy Development Board of India
Dr RP Aneja, former MD, National Dairy Development Board of India

First web lecturej by Dr. RP Aneja former MD, NDDB, as a part of the Dr V Kurien Birth Centenary Celebrations 2021 being organised by the National Dairy Development Board



How india became almost Aatmnirbhar in edible oils

It is a story of making India almost self sufficient ( Atmnirbhar ) in edible oils.


Supportive Government policies, meticulous planning and execution by committed professionals under the leadership of Dr V Kurien made it possible.

Some of us have been lucky to be associated with the organisation during those days of struggle, sweat, achievement and joy at being of service to the farmers of India.

The YouTube link for the live broadcast for this inaugural lecture posted on the NDDB website a couple of days earlier, crashed this morning.

I had shared that link with a large number of friends and also posted on social media including my Vrikshamandir page on Facebook.

Later this morning NDDB postedt another YouTube link which I could share but only with a few friends due to lack of time.

Fortunately I had a link on Google Meet. I watched and simultaneously recorded the audio. I have pleasure in sharing the recording as podcast from Vrikshamandir.
I missed recording the initial 2-3 minutes.
It is 52 minutes long and towards the end there are very interesting questions and answers.




Do please let me know if you find sound quality of the podcast is okay.


I propose to do a detailed blog for Vrikshamandir using this audio recording and an anecdote that G Rajan will be sharing with me.

Any comments, ideas and related anecdotes will be of help and are most welcome. Let us do it together …in a collective cooperative spirit.


The humble giant, guru of Dr Kurien who would insist on paying for photocopying of personal documents

BM Vyas former Managing Director, Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation ( Amul)
BM Vyas former Managing Director, Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation ( Amul)


Bharatbhai had posted this on his blog site in 2013.

There has not been much written about Shri Tribhuvandas K Patel on Vrikshamandir. RK Nagar had written a blog “The Humble Giant” for Vrikshamandir last year. G Rajan also wrote a blog “ How much do I pay ? reminiscing a memorable interaction with Shri Tribhuvandas K Patel. Vrikshamandir feels honoured to publish of this blog on Shri TK Patel that Shri BM Vyas wrote in 2013.

I invite my former colleagues and all others who met and came in contact with Shri Tribhuvandas K Patel “Humble Giant and Guru of Dr Kurien” to write blogs and anecdotes about him.

One more request please leave your comments and reaction on this page. I have not yet mastered the skill of transferring such comments from Facebook and other social media platforms where this blog may appear to Vrikshamandir.

Shri TK Patel by BM Vyas

I was a recent engineering graduate when I joined Amul and it was more for a job, a relatively higher salary than my short previous stint and for the impact that Dr. Kurien had left behind when he had visited my college. Amul in those days seemed like a different land. It had lush green well-maintained lawns, spic and span dairy complex while the rest of the town, was almost a rustic rural setting. Little I knew, that this was about to change my life and that a living god silently working behind the scenes elevating soul of Amul for 22 years would leave such a lasting impact on the nation.

I admit that I was very ignorant then. After living in a neighboring town V.V.Nagar as a student for 5 years, and joining Amul I had neither heard nor read of Tribhuvan. Not even until October 31,1971 when I had already put in 6 months in Amul. I had heard of Bhai-kaka in Vallabh Vidyanagar and also of HM Patel, from my parents and grand parents. But little I knew about Tribhuvandas K Patel, who was the founding Chairman of Amul, and was assigned the responsibility to build a dairy cooperative in Kaira to prevent exploitations of milk producers. This responsibility was assigned to him by none other then Sardar Patel and Morarji Desai.

Tribhuvandas used to deliver interesting speech each year on the foundation day on 31st October and so also Dr. Kurien. All employees, old and new, along with the farmers & milk producers used to gather at Amul to hear them both, with rapt attention and great interest. In addition to that, they would similarly address at General Body Meetings and I wouldn’t miss an opportunity to listen to what they had to say.

Tribhuvandas would describe the difficult circumstances the cooperative was created in and how it is progressing since Dr. Kurien had joined. He would openly say all this development would have been impossible, if Kurien was not there. Dr. Kurien would then speak in English and some one would translate his speech in gujarati. Dr. Kurien would say “Tribhovandas is my guru! When I came to Anand, I used wear green felt cap, smoke cigar, drink and above all I was a bachelor. I had just returned from US after completing my post graduation. It was my good fortune, that here in Anand, I met my real guru. It is the combination of farmers wisdom and professional management that makes Amul a winning organization.”

He would say that those who are fortunate to have received higher education at the cost of poor must remember to subordinate their knowledge to the wisdom of farmers and thus serve the nation and noble cause. “Whatever I have done here is due to Tribhuvandas”.

Tribhuvandas was a visionary and he knew the need to reiterate the right message each year. In each and every meeting, he would mention that Amul as an organization is so designed, that it would always be able to fight any competition in dairy business and win. If anything, Amul milk producers need to be careful is about internal dissention. He would say, “We must ensure that we remove our political caps as we enter this organization. We keep our caste, religion, gender, class aside and just focus on Amul, and the cause. Amul should always watch disruptive forces emerging from within and eliminate such dissentions”. Both Tribhuvandas and Dr. Kurien reiterated these messages a umpteen number of times to sensitize every new member, employee, every visitor, be it a bureaucrat or a competitor!

People now know Dr. V Kurien and his immense contribution but few know of the contribution of Tribhuvandas in creating the most apt and comprehensive business model that resolved huge problems of women empowerment, rural employment, milk production, malnutrition and availability of milk for urban and rural population at large! Replication of that very model pan India in 176 districts in 25 years made India the largest milk producers of milk in the world.

Dr. Kurien used to tell us that it is possible to produce Kuriens, but there is no ‘college’ in the world to produce Tribhuvandas! Give me one Tribhuvandas and you will get a Kurien!

I had little opportunity to directly work with Tribhuvandas. But I would like to narrate a few incidents.

As an employee of Amul, I never went to wish or greet Tribhuvandas on any occasion like Diwali or New Year. Many people did but I hadn’t. If I happen to pass by when he would be in car, he would not expect one to bow or wish him. And if you don’t he would rather appreciate!

Way before attending any of these events, while I had just joined Amul in the purchase department in 1971, someone approached me regarding purchase of a stationery item. I believed it wasn’t necessary and I refused straightway. No sooner had the man left; a clerk came to me and said, “How did you refuse him? He is Praful bhai, the son of Tribhuvandas.” Now, I was all new and fresh out of college and I asked him, “Who is Tribhuvandas”. The Clerk said he is our chairman. I in turn asked him “What does the Chairman mean?” The clerk had no answer.


Just about the time I was appointed as Managing Director of GCMMF, one afternoon Tribhuvandas happened to come to the GCMMF office and was waiting in car while talking to Sri Jaswantlal Shah, former Chairman of Baroda dairy, a close friend of Tribhuvandas and a great Gandhian himself. As I was returning to the office from lunch, Jaswantlal Shah waved and called me. And then facing Tribhuvandas he said, “it was a good decision to appoint BM as MD of GCMMF”. Tribhuvandas very politely said “Jaswantlal you are now 84, but your language still needs to be rectified! We have not made him the Managing Director, it is his work that has made him”.

In his last few days when he was admitted to the hospital, I felt like going and seeing him. So same evening around 8 pm, after work, I paid a visit to the hospital. He was alone in the room resting and Mani ben was sitting outside with some relatives. I went inside, the light was quite dim. No sooner had I reached near Tribhovandas, he said, “ has B M Vyas come?” And then started telling me about the war of independence. In particular he told me there was one freedom fighter called Madhav Pandya. He was so dedicated to the cause, that he did not take care of his family and is now no more. His grand children are living in very poor condition. He asked me, “Would you recruit one of his grandson as a peon, or an attendant? Just so that he can feed the family”.

I was quite shocked! Here is a man, a great national hero, a real gandhian, on his deathbed and instead of talking about his health or pain; he talked straight to point as if he was expecting me! That was the first and the last thing Tribhovandas ever asked me. That too for a freedom fighter who sacrificed his life for the independence of the nation, while unfortunately neglecting his family duties.

In 1984, Tribhuvandas was in Chennai to attend Indian Dairy Association Annual conference and as we were staying in same hotel I used to help him due to his age. Once while travelling, he mentioned “when you were transferred to GCMMF from Amul Dairy, Dr. Kurien before issuing the transfer letter asked me about you and in turn, I asked my son Praful. On hearing your name Praful narrated the stationery incident and he appreciated your attitude. He told me that we need an upright officer. I gave the same feedback to Kurien.”

It is pertinent to point out that both Praful bhai and Tribhuvandas had the same mindset and even after being in a powerful position, they though of the organization’s interest.

Another incident is 2001-02, when we were reviewing our 10-year plan for GCMMF. We had arrived at a gap in milk drying capacity (to dry milk into powder) and we had the options to install 3x30mtd plants, 2x60mtd plant or only one of 100mtd. By this time we had decided to launch milk in Delhi so instead of installing a 200mtd drying plant we wanted only 100mtd capacity. I presented to Dr. Kurien and said we would like to put a state of art spray drying plant at an outlay of Rs. 70 crores and that too ourselves. We will create a project team and execute the project on our own. I explained Dr. Kurien for 5 minutes on why we wanted to go for a 100mtd plant. Just as I completed my reasoning, he said, “Go ahead”. I included that proposal for a formal board approval. Even in board meeting, as I finished explaining the rational, for 5 minutes the board cleared the proposal. I was amazed at their clarity of purpose, their faith in our team and entrepreneurship.

Much later, I was travelling with Dr. Kurien and I asked him how did he agree to such a massive expansion in less than 5 minutes? He smiled and said, “when we were to install our first ever spray-drying powder plant to dry buffalo milk into powder, it had been taken to the board in 1955. Tribhuvandas took 5 minutes to approve! Tribhovandas was not a dairy engineer and the farmers co-operative union was too small to risk such capital expenditure then, but he had tremendous faith in farmers and his professional managers.”

I had been on the board of several public and private companies, but I rarely saw such clarity in decision-making and such risk taking abilities.

Be it Tribhuvandas Patel, the founding Chairman of Amul, Moti bhai Chaudhary of Mehsana Dairy, Jaswantlal Shah of Baroda dairy or Tulsi Rao of Vishakha dairy, they all represented the spirit of Tribhovandas in real sense.

Tribhuvandas Patel was the one who sculpted Dr. Kurien and also implanted the spirit of cooperation in his heart and through him, in all of us. We need a hand full of Tribhuvandas to enable such Kuriens to perform! India needs them the most in days ahead.


कहाँ गये वह दिन !

एक दिन पार्क के उस छोर पर जहां मैं अक्सर घूमने जाता हूँ, पत्थरों पर लिखे यह प्रेरणादायी शब्द दिखे। साधारणत: यह पार्क सूना ही रहता है । यहाँ से दूर कुछ लोग अकेले अथवा बच्चों या कुत्ते के साथ दीखते हैं पर इस छोर पर शायद ही कभी कोई मिला हो। एकांत में यहाँ बैठना अच्छा लगता है ।

शब्दों के अर्थ में बहुत झरोखे हैं, यारों झूठ के रंग भी अनोखे हैं

नितांत एकांत अच्छा लगता है। वृक्षमंदिर की याद दिला देता है। परिवेश वातावरण भले ही बदला हो पर शून्यता की अनुभूति तो हर जगह ऐकसजैसी होती है। फिर मन भी तो भटकता है । इन पत्थरों पर बैठ बड़ी सारी पुरानी यादें भी पुनर्जीवित हो जाती हैं ।ऐसे शब्द आपणी “ पुरानी” सुसौटी “एनडीडीबी” की याद दिलाते हैं !

15 और 16 फरवरी, 2020 को राष्ट्रीय डेयरी विकास बोर्ड (एनडीडीबी) के लगभग 150 पूर्व कर्मचारियों के स्नेह मिलन का किया गया आयोजन था । 

सितंबर 2020 में इस आयोजन पर एक ब्लाग प्रकाशित किया गया था। वह दो दिन बन गये उत्सव एनडीडीबी में बिताए गए जीवन और बीते दिनों को सामूहिक रूप से पुन: याद करने के ।

उन डेढ़ सौ लोगों में से मै भी एक था।

फ़रवरी 2020 के उन दो दिनों के दौरान हम सब ने बहुत से संस्मरण और एनेकडोट ( उपाख्यान) साझा किये गये। जो पुरानी एनडीडीबी की संगठनात्मक संस्कृति ( आर्गेनाइजेशनल कल्चर) की विशेषताओं पर प्रकाश डालती हैं । 

विगत जीवन की हास्य विनोद भरी स्नेहिल स्मृतियों के अतिरिक्त, उन संस्मरणों और उपाख्यानों द्वारा पुरानी एनडीडीबी की संगठनात्मक संस्कृति की वह विशेषताएँ जो तब के कर्मचारियों को “अभाव” में भी और “अधिक” काम करने के लिए प्रेरित करती थीं, कार्य संपादन का वह एनडीडीबी छाप “नैतिक मानदंड” जो हममे से बहुतायत के लिये एनडीडीबी छोड़ने के बाद भी जीवन का एक हिस्सा बन गईं …और भी बहुत कुछ उजागर हुआ । 

यह हमारी दूसरी ऐसी बैठक थी ।पहली बैठक 2015 में आयोजित की गई थी।

एक और साल बीत गया ….

सन 2020 और अब तक का 2021 अजब साल रहे हैं। जीवन में ऊपर, नीचे, ख़ुशी, ग़म, सफलता, असफलता आदि का दौर तो चला ही करता है पर मेरे विगत जीवन की स्मृतियों में शायद ही कोई ऐसा साल रहा हो जो वैश्विक मानवी त्रासदी देने के मामले कोरोना साल 2020 2021 की बराबरी कर सकता हो । बीमारी, महामारी, लाकडाउन, गृहबंदी, आने जाने पर मिलने जुलने पर रोक ..क्या क्या न किया कोरोना ने । फ़रवरी 2020 मे आणंद में आयोजित स्नेह मिलन एक अपवाद था। इतने सारे पूर्व सहकर्मियों से इतने सालो बाद मिलना बहुत सुखद अनुभव रहा । धन्यवाद “कोरोना श्री 2020” साल का ! आपने कम से कम इस आयोजन में व्यवधान तो न डाला ।

सन 2000 के बाद हर साल कुछ दिन अपने गाँव जा कर बिताता था । कोरोना 2020 में पहली बार ऐसा हुआ कि मै गाँव न जा सका। भारत के बाहर लगातार बारह महीने रहने का रिकार्ड भी बन जायेगा 11 जुंलाई2021 को।

मेरे लिए यह सौभाग्य की बात है कि मुझे दोनों आयोजनों को फेसिलिटेट करने का अवसर मिला ।

निहित स्वार्थों, नौकरशाहों और राजनीतिज्ञों के प्रखर विरोध के बीच हमारी एनडीडीबी के पूर्व कर्मचारियों के द्वारा लिखे गये सामूहिक संघर्ष और सफलता असफलता के बहुत से संस्मरण और एनेकडोटस इस बेब साइट पर उपलब्ध हैं ।

आगे आने वाले दिनों में खट्टे, मीठे , गुदगुदाते, हँसाते बीते दिनों की सफलताओं और असफलताओं की याद दिलाते और भी संस्मरण एनेकडोटस लिखे जायेंगे और यहाँ प्रकाशित होंगें !

यह बेव साइट अभी अपूर्ण है । काम प्रगति पर है ।

variety of alcoholic beverages on glasses
Photo by Olya Kobruseva on Pexels.com

लाल सुरा की धार लपट सी कह न देना इसे ज्वाला फेनिल मदिरा है, मत इसको कह देना उर का छाला,

दर्द नशा है इस मदिरा का विगत स्मृतियाँ साकी हैं

पीड़ा में आनंद जिसे हो आए मेरी मधुशाला ।

~ हरिवंश राय बच्चन

different pebbles on beach as abstract background
Photo by kira schwarz on Pexels.com


बदले लोग बदले तौर तरीक़े काम करने के सलीके
बहुत कुछ बदला पर कुछ रिवाज ना बदले अब भी पढ़ते हैं पहले की तरह गद्दीनशीनों के पियादे अपने मेहरबाँ की शान में वैसे ही क़सीदे

~ अज्ञात



कृपया अपने सुझाव, मूल्यांकन, सराहना आदि से संबंधित विचार नीचे के “लीव अ रिप्लाई” वाले बाक्स में लिखें!


Dr. A. A. Chothani and Teliarajas of Gujarat

As remembered bv  G. Rajan, former PS to Secetary,NDDB

“Rajan, could you please come over to my house quickly”

Dr. RP Aneja (Secretary, NDDB ) was on the intercom.

It was on an early Sunday morning. It had rained the previous night. Dr.Aneja seemed concerned about something. I anticipated that there was something serious. From my D-3, NDDB Quarters, I rushed to Dr.Aneja`s house at A-1,…. ..hardly 500 fts..

Dr.Aneja was standing outside his bungalow, waiting for me. 

Rajan: Dr. Chothani has met with an accident. Dr. Aneja murmured. It seems he fell down from the Gujarat Mail early this morning at Sanjan, near Surat. He was returning from Bombay alongwith daughter Amina and her child.

You have to rush to Anand railway station and sit with the Station Superintendent and keep on passing messages that you will get from Mr. Saigal,Diviional Railway Manager, Baroda , who is a friend of mine. You please continue to be at the railway station, till I ask you to return .

Yes sir….. 

I reached Anand railway station on my scooter, after parking the scooter, went straight to Platofrm No.1 , where the office of the Station Superintendent (one Mr.Vaishnav) and his wireless equipment is located. After introduction I settled down. The wireless set started giving broken and noisy messages…that ~ Dr.Chothani is admitted at the Sanjan Railway Hospital (Western Railway)with the external wounds cleaned and bandaged and his family members from Anand should reach him at the hospital at Sanjan.

I was in constant touch with Baroda railway station and Dr.Aneja.  

 Dr. Aneja in the meanwhile had made arrangements to transport Mrs.Chothani from Anand to Sanjan in an official car. I think Shri PV Mathew accompanied her from Anand.


After initial treatments at the Sanjan Railway hospital Dr.Chothani was shifted to the Aghakhan Hospital in Bombay. 

He had suffered multiple fractures as the fall was from a moving train. The speed of the Gujarat Mail at the time of the accident could have been nearly 100 KM per hour. Luckily for Dr.Chothani, he had fallen on a pool of muddy water….and he was wearing a thick Safari suit, otherwise the damages would have been very severe. 

He was also lucky that a track runner noticed him in time. As soon as this man reached the spot, Dr.Chothani gave his visiting card. The runner then managed to stop a passenger train going towards Bombay and helped Dr.Chothani who was badly injured, loaded in to a compartment. The Station Master at Sanjan railway ..station reported the accident, as per the procedure, to the Divisional Railway Manager, Baroda who luckily was Dr.Anejas friend Mr.Saigal.

“After Milk, National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), started marketing of edible oils naming the project ‘Dhara’, it was then that Kurien made many enemies, who had a lot to lose if the project succeeded. Subsequently, Kurien’s most loyal co-worker Mr Chotani was thrown out of a running train. It is believed that the accident was pre-planned by the enemies of the ‘Dhara’ project. Although Mr Chotani survived the accident, but it was rumoured that Kurien could be the next target. When Kurien was asked to hire bodyguards for his safety, he denied at once,” informed Abril SJ.

Gaonconnection 9, September 2019


For Dr.Chothani, things started moving in a jet-set speed….. 

Dr.Aneja has been keeping Dr.Kurien informed of the status from time to time.


Meanwhile Shri Collin D’Lima from NDDB Mumbai office was assigned specifically to help and support Dr.Chothani till the time he was discharged from the  Aghakhan hospital. Collin very effectively handled all issues and coordinated with the hospital, and NDDB Bombay and Anand, sending out hourly messages on the dedicated hot line, tele printer , directly to the Secretary`s office.

Next morning (Monday) the entire NDDB campus was agog with the news of the accident.


As soon as he arrived from a tour, that Monday morning. Dr.Kurien rushed into Dr.Anejas office and I could hear as he was loudly enquiring about as to what was Dr.Chothanis health conditions . Dr.Aneja mentioned that there was a teleprinter message from NDDB Bombay office (Collin Dilima) to say that Dr.Chothani was conscious and that all the fractures have been plastered and all parameters are satisfactory..He further added that the teleprinter message was passed on to chairman`s office.


By then I had already handed over the teleprinter message in question, to Shri Arvind Gupta, then Executive Assistant to Chairman. which Dr.Aneja had marked to the Chairman. 


Dr.Kurien was furious as to why he was not shown the teleprinter message till then. He was upset with Arvind Gupta and expressed his displeasure at the top of his voice, which almost brought the roof down!!


He roared ~~ Don’t you know how concerned I am for Dr.Chothani. He then angrily asked me that henceforth I should rush all such messages concerning Dr.Chothani to him (Dr.Kurien) directly . I nodded my frozen head ….yes sir!!

To the best of my memory, Dr.Chothani continued his stay at the Aga Khan hospital and returned to Anand only after a couple of months or so, that too with a heavily plastered body!! Since he had gone to Bombay on official duty, he was allowed to take leave with full pay so long as he wishes to, i.e. till he resumed his office.


Since he started getting a stream of his colleagues and friends at his quarters, a circular was issued by the Administration, at the behest of the Chairman, that nobody should disturb Dr.Chothani .



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.


Why this website and these blogs

How it all began

Who am I ? don’t know but I know that I was born in a small village Banduari in eastern UP in a farming family known for being “just” given the times that we lived in those days and depended upon agriculture and animal husbandry and also for love of wrestling. I am told that our ancestors lived in that area for hundreds of years …But….

Like my father and his two younger brothers, I too left the village when I was about 21 years old. Prior to that as family stories go my great grand father sent my grand father to study beyond fifth standard to the city some 30 kilometres away. However, after 10-15 days my great grand father started missing his son and undertook a journey to go to the city and get back his son on his pony. Father and son met some halfway in between and came back to the village. That was end of story as far as my grand fathers formal higher education was concerned!

I was considered “good” in studies. My father was the first one in the family to pass matriculation examination and the first post graduate in our village. I also studied as I was expected to get a job and see the world and support the family.

I left the village but the village has never left me.

It was the same case with my father. He too lived away from our village most of his life but kept visiting the village regularly.

My father took the most unproductive ancestral land in the village and made it productive by hard work and investments over a decade and planted hundreds of trees trees and named this small plot of land as VrikshaMandir.

I attempt to continue the work started by my father by planting more trees undertaking agricultural activities and am attempting to develop this place so that it is used by the community especially school going students. .

Some old and recent pictures of Vrikshamandir
Banduari to Anand

My first job was with the National Dairy Development Board of India (NDDB)

NDDB has a website and the address is https://nddb.coop .

I was perhaps the 14th employee and I had the kitchen of a two storied two bedroom building ( Waghasia Building) that existed in 1968 next to AMUL dairy in Anand.

NDDB Office 1968

NDDB campus 1970 some pictures

A major change occurred in my professional life and outlook. In 1974 I was appointed as Executive Assistant to Dr. V Kurien the founder Chairman NDDB, Anand. Although my career graph grew and changed but connection with Dr. Kurien’s office in one way or the other continued till he left NDDB in 1998. NDDB Annual reports have a tradition of publishing name of officers on the rolls of the organisation in different functions. I would find my name appearing in two places a line function like Head of Oilseeds and Oil Wing or Head of Human Resource Development and a staff function like the Office of the Chairman NDDB. I did not last long in NDDB after Dr. Kurien left. That’s a long story and it is better kept for some other time .

Anand to Gurugram

Next seventeen years were once again start from the scratch. In the year 2000 my friend Anil Sachdev had just started Grow Talent Company Limited (GTCL) and I became second employee of GTCL. The company started the School of Inspired Leadership (SOIL https://www.soilindia.net) in 2008.
I have been associated with this organisation since 2000. I will be posting a separate blog on this novel experiment in leadership development higher education with the vision To Develop Leaders with Character, Competence ans Enthusiasm.

The story isn’t complete yet

I decided to launch this website and post blog for documenting life experiences, incidents, and insights observed and reflected upon from time to time by me as well as of those whom I came in to contact with; some of whom deeply impacted the course of my life journey. I am deeply indebted to them. There will be pages on this website and blogs dedicated to their life stories written by me or contributed by them.


Depending upon time of the year I can now be found at Gurugram, Toronto, Gorakhpur and at Vriksha Mandir in my village or any other place on the planet!

Dr MPG Kurup and RK Nagar are already contributing blogs on this website. Many other friends and former colleagues have said that they too will contribute. I hope they will do so soon. I am excited.

I would like to end this by a link to a mantra from Rig Veda. These Mantras are recited at the convocation of the Institute of Rural Management at Anand ( IRMA).