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.

Moving Fingers still write; Christmas 2019 (Revised March, 2022)

Reproducing a slightly edited version of a blog I wrote in December 2019. Vrikshamandir first appeared online in November 2019. That was a time when I was going through a rough patch. I was healthy, yet there was something amiss. Vrikshamandir was an idea and with the help of friends and former colleagues, I was able to launch this website and have been able to sustain it. I am currently getting out of another spell of illness (this time real) and I find that Vrikshamandir is perhaps the tonic that will sustain me and help me get over the current phase.

I wrote this on the morning of Christmas Day of 2019 from Toronto. My 6 year old granddaughter gave me a beautiful card with a message that she wrote for me.

When I was her age, I wanted to write to my great grand father but since he didn’t know how to read or write I wrote to my grand father in Hindi. It had a lot of spelling mistakes. I still have that letter somewhere because my grandfather corrected my spelling errors and my letter was sent back to me by post. It was exciting to get a letter by post that too from my grand father.

My grand father Shri Vishwanath Singh and grand mother Smt. Mulka Devi in early 1950’s.

How times have changed ! My first visit to Canada was in 1980. That was an official trip. I visited Canada several times thereafter but never had an idea of living here. I now spend 5-6 months each year in Canada.There is an exception though. Since July 2020 I have not been able to venture out of Canada. . Thanks to Corona and now the current health issues that I face. In 1987, NDDB sponsored my dear colleague ( Late) Dr SP Mittal and me for a three month long Training Programme to Canada and USA. We attended workshops and seminars on Human Resource Development staying in various cities and traveling from east to west coast a couple of times. However, we spent a larger part of our time in Victoria, BC with Rob and Carol Nelson. Rob is no more. Carol is not well. They became close friends. . This was a long trip and we greatly missed Indian Food. Dr. Mittal and I both liked to cook. Rob and Carol Nelson who were our hosts in Victoria, graciously allowed us to use their kitchen. But getting groceries was a difficult task. Toronto was different though. We went to restaurants serving Indian Food but it was costly. We liked Chinese food as it was always served in more than adequate quantities and also at prices much less than the food served in Indian restaurants.That was then.

One day I went to an Indian store, “Panchvati” some 15 kilometres from our place. What a store! Everything I could think of was available. The famous Parle G biscuit was on the shelf. Yes Pale G, how can we forget ..The Company was to lay off 10000 workers in August last. To dip Parle G in hot tea and eat and then sip tea… was a luxury to be indulged in when I was growing up.I am glad that Parle continues to survive and export too. 

Shri Anirudh Singh after reading this post has the following to say in the comments column “Sir, it is really very pleasant, when someone brought us back towards our childhood and particularly by our dear one. The style and manner in which you expressed this was really great. One thing I also want to bring in your kind notice and humbly to correct you that the news propagating that ParleAgro layed off her 10,000 worker was baseless and there was no tinge of truth in this falsely painted story.
Presently I am working with Parle Group.Regards”.
So much for truthfulness of main stream media !

I also found Dhara the NDDB owned brand of edible oil on one shelf at Panchvati. I was Director Oilseeds and Vegetable Oil Wing in 1987 before NDDB became a body corporate under an act of Parliament. NDDB launched Dhara after I moved from Oilseeds and Vegetable Oil wing to the newly created Human Resource Development Group.

I continued to oversee Chairman’s office besides assuming charge as one man department of Human Resource Development. Dr. (Miss) Amrita Patel the then Managing Director thought that I would be the most suitable person to head the newly created HRD function in NDDB. It was initially kept separate from Personnel Administration and Legal function. But I had no back ground in HR. Although there was one thing that Dr SP Mittal and I had successfully done. Miss Patel had entrusted the two of us to negotiate with the NDDB Employees Union and settle labour cases. There were a large number of cases pending in labour court, Labour Tribunal and and High Court. Dr. Mittal’s patience, listening ability and gentle demeanour together with my ability to connect with the leadership of the Union and support we had from Miss Patel helped us settle most of the cases barring some critical ones. ? Dr V Kurien was consulted and Dr SP Mittal and I were sponsored for a training programme cum study tour of US of A and Canada for getting exposed to latest in HR theory and practices. Mr Rob Nelson and Carol Nelson who were Canadian International Development Agency appointed HR consultants to NDDB were he ones who organised our programme in North America. I went to Dr Kurien and said ”Sir I am would be going on tour to US and Canada for a training programe.”

Dr. Kurien said, “I know, Miss Patel told me. I don’t know whats this HR VehR. But Madam wants you to go so go and enjoy “ Later on return when Dr Mittal and I would reflect on our learning’s we found that most of the theories that we learnt in North America were already being practiced in the organisation that we were working with. We learnt to use new labels; Vision, Strategy, Structure, Key processes, Key roles, Rewards and Recognition, Culture etc.


This is a photograph clicked by Meera Singh my granddaughter. She took this photo was taken on 9 January 2021. The credit for ensuring that the book “Utterly Butterly Milkman” is published on time for release at the 100th birth anniversary of Dr Verghese Kurien goes to Nirmala Kurien. Some of us “ancient former NDDB employees” did our best to help and support her.

Incidentally many memoirs written by my former colleagues and friends about the founder Chairman of NDDB Dr. V Kurien and published on have been included in the book Utterly Butterly Milkman”.

I thought of sharing on Vrikshamandir a memoir that I wrote for “Utterly Butterly Milkman”.

This is from back in those days when attacks by vested interests, private operators and politicians on the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) projects and programmes and against Dr Kurien as a person were common. 

We had a couple of officers in the Chairman’s office dedicated to handling questions raised by the hundreds in every parliament session.  We were going through difficult times, but there was plenty of action and the excitement of dealing with the situations that arose was rewarding. A case, in particular, was a notice for a meeting to be held on July 26, 1983, to review the NDDB Oilseeds and Vegetable Oil project. 

The meeting was to be chaired by Union Minister of Agriculture, Rao Birendra Singh. The Secretaries of Agriculture and Civil Supplies and a host of senior bureaucrats and technical officers were to participate. 

The agenda notes we received a month before the meeting were full of errors. The officers in the Oilseeds and Vegetable Oil Wing of the NDDB, which I headed at that time, were aghast at the false accusations and factual errors that had found a place in these notes. The notes had been circulated to all the invitees. 

A brief for Dr Kurien was prepared to provide the actual facts on each agenda point, seeking his approval to send an interim reply to the Ministry of Agriculture so that the errors could be corrected. 

But Dr Kurien forbade us to send any reply. He said, “We will look at these papers on our return from North America.” We were very surprised.

Dr Kurien advised me to forget about the meeting called by the ministry and instead focus on getting briefs from the concerned departments of the NDDB for the meetings scheduled during our visit to the US and Canada later that month. Back in India from our visit, July 26, 1983, the day of the meeting at New Delhi’s Krishi Bhavan, was finally upon us. As advised by Dr Amrita Patel, 

I reached the room of Mr Rajagopal, Joint Secretary, Dairy Development at Krishi Bhavan, to meet her and Dr Kurien. When it was time for the meeting, I followed Dr Kurien, Dr Patel and Mr Rajagopal. As we entered the room, we noticed that there were already some fifteen to twenty people waiting for the minister. 

They got up and the first one among them to greet Dr Kurien was Mr Sood, then Additional Secretary (Agriculture). Dr Kurien shook his hand. “Good morning, Mr Sood, what are you doing these days?” “Sir, I am Additional Secretary (A).” “You people have very interesting designations… Additional Secretary ‘A’, Additional Secretary ‘B’, ‘C’.” There was silence and some muted laughter.
Dr Kurien moved around in the room and greeted others. Among them were the agriculture secretary and the civil supplies secretary. 

Suddenly, addressing no one in particular, Dr Kurien asked, “Tell me who has prepared the agenda notes for this meeting.” “Why, Dr Kurien?” someone in the room asked in return. “It has been prepared to create differences between me and the minister,” he replied. 

There was silence. The minister had not yet arrived. There was small talk in some corners of the room but no one responded to Dr Kurien. This was when the minister Rao Birendra Singh arrived for the meeting. All of us stood up. 

Mr Singh responded to the greetings, removed his cap, took a seat and looked at the Chairman. 

“So, Dr Kurien, what is your problem?” he asked. 

“Sir, I have no problems.” 

“Then why are we having this meeting? Let us go through the agenda. It has the details.” 

“Sir, the agenda notes seem to have been prepared by someone to create differences between you and me. I would like to share with you the brief that my office has prepared for me for this meeting.” 

Dr Kurien then handed over to Mr Singh a copy of the brief that had been prepared by us. The minister took the brief and flipped through a few pages. The first item on the agenda was that the NDDB had not provided information on the progress of the Oilseeds and Vegetable Oil project to the agriculture ministry. Dr Kurien said, 

“Sir, we provide fortnightly, monthly, quarterly, six-monthly progress reports to the ministry. My brief for this meeting, a copy of which is with you, has in the appendix details with dates and reference numbers of the letters from NDDB under which such reports have been sent to the ministry. “And, if I may say so, sir, of the seven organisations that are attached to your ministry, NDDB and IDC, both of which I serve as chairman, are the only two organisations who submit annual reports and audited statements of accounts each year, on time, to be tabled in Parliament.” 

The minister was quiet for a moment and then said, “Let us move to the next item on the agenda.” This agenda item was about the sale of donated vegetable oil by the NDDB to raise funds for the project. The agenda notes circulated by the ministry stated that the NDDB sold donated vegetable oil to private parties at rates lower than at which it sold them to cooperatives

Dr Kurien responded, “Sir, do you believe this Kurien will sell edible oil to the private sector at rates lower than what he sells to cooperatives?”

One of the officers sitting behind the minister said, “This is as per the teleprinter message dated so and so received from Shailendra Kumar of NDDB.”

I was stunned. I did not have a copy of the message that the gentleman from the ministry had referred to. I looked at Dr Patel and there was stoic silence. I thought maybe we had made some mistake and that I was in for even greater trouble. But that was not to be. Dr Kurien looked at me and then at Mr Singh, and pointed me out to him saying, “This is Shailendra.” 

Then he took complete control of the situation. He said something that I should have said but, at the time, my confused mind was preoccupied with the consequences than with coming up with a suitable reply. “Sir, a typed and signed confirmatory message of each teleprinter message from NDDB is also sent to the recipient. 

Was the teleprinter message sent by Shailendra cross-checked with the confirmatory copy of the message? If the matter was so urgent, why didn’t the concerned officer in your ministry lift the phone and check with Dr Patel who is posted right here in Delhi?” 

There was silence. Mr Rao Birender Singh did not know what to say. Finally, he replied, “Why are we meeting then? Why don’t you all review this project before bringing it up to me?” 

Dr Kurien had an answer to that as well. Pointing to a page in the brief which was already in the hands of the minister, Dr Kurien said, “Sir, when the Cabinet of India approved this project, it also provided for a review committee comprising the agriculture secretary, the civil supplies secretary and the NDDB’s chairman. However, this committee has never met in the last three and a half years since the project started.” 

Mr Singh said, “Then why don’t you all meet and sort things out.” With this, he closed the meeting and left the room. 

As I reflect on life at Dr Kurien’s NDDB, I am filled with memories of the many struggles and achievements of the institution under his leadership. I recall, in particular, something he said at a seminar in 1967, which was a precursor to the formation of the Protein Foods Association of India. “We must have a calculated sense of recklessness.” 

This particular incident was showed this very mantra of his in action. An episode filled with lessons in leadership. “WE MUST HAVE A CALCULATED SENSE OF RECKLESSNESS.” (Shailendra Kumar is former Senior General Manager, Human Resources, NDDB.)

This anecdote was first published in “Utterly Butterly Milkman” 

Vrikshamandir is your tonic !

I have not been active on Vrikshamandir for some time. I have not been keeping well. It all started in mid November. One thing led to another. I sent a letter to some friends about my current health condition and also shared a link to a story which I read yesterday and liked most. I am sharing some responses I received on the same.

Greetings !


I am sharing a weblink  link to a story. I follow this website.  Reminds me of the kind of literature I would get to read in my childhood. Straight simple and written from the heart. Life was simple then there were few choices and satisfaction from what one got in return from one’s effort was “satisfying “ in itself. Failing and not achieving a desired result was not a stigma. Joint families took care of both the successful and failed ones. Focus was “family” not the individual. Family was the social unit that propelled individuals to greater heights and took care of those who didn’t do well. 

I am reminded of a story my mother told me. 

My great grand father was the single child of his parents. He was uneducated. Hardworking, a farmer and a man of character though he did give at times licence to his tongue and  come out with standard bhojpuri abuses for those workers who would come late or were found wanting. But he took great care of all those who worked on our fields.  He put his foot down and supported my father to study beyond tenth standard. My grand father was opposed to further studies beyond matric by father. 

Any way the incident was that a worker stole raw  “Dal” from our house and when the matter came to light my great grand father said “ Give some lemons 🍋 from our tree as when he cooks the Dal he might enjoy it better with some lemon juice”. For then there was this family that extended beyond immediate family. Yes there was rampant untouchability and exploitation too. Am I then talking of exceptions ?  


पिताजी जब कभी बाहर जाते, तब माँ बहुत उदास हो जाती थी। इस वजह से ही या न जाने और किसी वजह से, पिताजी जब तक अनिवार्य कारण न हो, तब तक दूर की यात्रा क्वचित्‌ ही करते थे। एक दिन सूरत के गुरूद्वारे से तार आया। पिताजी को तुरंत सूरत आने की गुरू महाराज ने तार से सूचना दी थी। उन दिनों किसी के यहाँ तार आना बड़ा महत्वपूर्ण प्रसंग माना जाता था। अकसर कोई बुरी खबर हो, तो ही किसी के यहाँ तार आता था। पूरे मुहल्ले में बात फैल गयी कि हमारे यहाँ तार आया है। धीरे-धीरे लोग पूछताछ को आने लगे। तार में कोई बुरा समाचार तो था नहीं। अतः चिंता का स्थान कुतूहल और उत्साह ने ले लिया।

बीसवीं शताब्दी के आरंभ का जमाना। साधारण लोगों के लिए सूरत-अहमदाबाद जाने का प्रसंग भी दो-चार साल में एकाध बार ही आता था। और, बम्बई – कलकत्ता जाना तो सुदूर विदेशयात्रा के समान कठिन और विरल माना जाता था।

पिताजी के सफर की तैयारी होने लगी। माँ की सहायता के लिए बड़ी मौसी और मामी आ पहुंची। पार्वती बुआ एक पीतल के चमकदार डब्बे में चार मगस के लड्डू ले आयी। पिताजी के पाथेय का प्रश्न इससे आधा हल हो गया। बिस्तर के लिए मामा अपनी नयी दरी लेते आये थे। लल्लू काका धोबी चार दिन बाद मिलने वाले पिताजी के कपड़े उसी रोज इस्त्री करके दे गये। शाम को भजन हुआ। रात को भोजन के बाद पुरूषोत्तम काका ने लालटेन की रोशनी में पिताजी की हजामत बना दी। पिताजी मध्यरात्रि की लोकल से जाने वाले थे। इतनी रात गये सवारी मिलना मुश्किल होता था। अतः दस बजे ही घर से निकल जाने की बात तय हुई। साढ़े नौ बजे तांगा लाने के लिए मामा लहरीपुरा गये। हमारे परिचित मुस्लिम स्वजन मलंग काका का तांगा चौराहे पर ही खड़ा था। मामा के कहते ही वे आ गये। उन्होंने रात को ग्यारह बजे तक गपशप कर के पिताजी के बिछोह का विशाद कुछ हद तक हलका कर दिया। लेकिन तांगा जाते ही कठिनाई से रोके हुए माँ के आँसू बरस पड़े। मौसी, मामी और बुआ माँ को ढाढ़स बाँधती रही और आधी रात बीते घर गयी। हम भी लेट गये।……..

आगे पढने के लिये यह लिंक दबायेंअंधेरी-रात-के-तारे-माँ/

The promoter of SaarthakSamvad is an ex IRMAN. 

Now some responses;

“Good to know that you are doing better than before and the recovery plan is sort of working. May you recover quicker than what everyone expects and give them a surprise. I pray for a miracle. 🙂 I read your account. I guess you are a lucky person to have such great souls around you. That was the time when such generous उदार दिल लोग हुआ करते थे l डांटना और गाली देना भी प्यार करने का एक तरीका था यही समज आती है । I am sure so much of genuineness, values and goodwill for all which is visible in you comes directly from there.

We can be ग्रेटफुल about these gifts showered upon us. I read the story from the link. The first thought after reading it is that women have such unmatched wisdom, clarity and foresight. If only men had been led by her innate capacity bring out the best in any situation, unearth the subtle emotions, and deep understanding of the social Tana bana, world would have been different today. It’s a beautiful story. Kishansinh Chavda is well known and celebrated author. Thanks for sharing it.”

“This made my day already. Thank you for sharing it. Loving regards”

“The way you wrote the following msg speaks of your excellent n healthy mind. Mind resides in the body. 1/5th of what we eat ( including medicine ) becomes your mind. The toxicity of your body is under control. This is what I deduced. Great going Sir.But recite Achyuta Anantha n Govinda 108 times.”

“Glad to know that you are getting better and better. Good sign. You will soon get over weakness too. Keep up the positive attitude and all will be well. Sarthaksamvad took me to my childhood. The life was so simple, relationships so pure that in today’s time it appears more like a utopian concept. Our generation will certainly appreciate such stories, but for the modern generation- it may well be ‘Tales from a backward Indian Society of the bygone era’. Anything which is out of present context will be laughable for the present and coming tech era generations.

Take care and if you feel energetic enough, work on Vrikshamandir- that is your tonic. “

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.”

क ख ग घ

क से कबूतर, क से कमल, क से किताब

बात उस जमाने की है जब मुझे केवल बोलना आता था । पढ़ना लिखना नहीं। ज़ाहिर है उम्र तब बहुत कम थी । अब यह सब बताने की क्या ज़रूरत ? जीवन के संध्याकाल में जब अक्सर यादें भी याद आ कर भूलने लगती हों तब यादों को याद कर उन्हें बताने की प्रक्रिया मे वह और उभर कर आती है।मैं उन्हें लिपिबद्ध भी कर पाता हूँ ।औरों के लिये नहीं तो अपने लिये ही सही ! जो है सो है!

शायद पाँच या छ साल का था। स्कूल नहीं था गाँव में। तहसील से कुछ सरकारी अधिकारी आये, स्कूल खोलना था। बाबू देव नारायण सिंह ( बुढवा बाबा, मेरे प्रपितामह) ने उन्हें सलाह दी कि स्कूल सड़क से लगी हमारे खलिहान के पास की ज़मीन जहां अखाड़ा हुआ करता था और अब भी है, उसके दक्षिण पश्चिम कोने पर स्थित मिठाउआ आम के नीचे से शुरू हो । बस शुरू हो गया इस्कूल और शुरू हो गई मेरी पढ़ाई ।

शिक्षा पहली से पाँचवीं तक वहीं बेसिक प्राइमरी पाठशाला चतुर बंदुआरी में हुई। केवल एक साल जब मैं तीसरी में था बाबूजी अपने पास ले गये देवरिया । बाबूजी तब देवरिया में ज़िला कृषि अधिकारी के पद पर तैनात थे। तब वहाँ मारवाडी स्कूल गरुडपार मे मेरी पढ़ाई हुई । देवरिया में ही मुझे सिर पर से बंदर ने काटा था । से भूकंप का अनुभव भी वहीं पहली बार हुआ

क ख ग घ … वर्णमाला मैंने अपने गाँव में मिठउआ आम के पेड़ के नीचे ज़मीन पर बैठ कर सीखी। लकड़ी की काली पट्टी पर जिसे दिये की कालिख लगा माई, अम्मा, मझिलकी मम्मू की शीशे की चूड़ी से रगड़ कर चमकाया जाता था। नरकंडे की क़लम से खडिया को पानी में घोल कर बनी स्याही से लिखा जाता था। नरकंडा और खडिया गाँव में उपलब्ध थे।एक घर बढ़ई भी गाँव में थे ।अब भी हैं।

जब मेरी पहली मुलाक़ात से हुई तब जाकर पता चला कि क से कबूतर और क से कमल और भी बहुत से शब्द है । वैसे जब मैने लिखना पढ़ना सीखा तब तक मैंने कबूतर या कमल नहीं देखा । किताब थी या नहीं ठीक से शायद नहीं। थी तो कैसी थी वह भी याद नहीं । शायद उसी किताब में कबूतर और कमल का फ़ोटो देखा हो। से पंडुख या पंडुखी तो बहुत थी गाँव पर । पर कबूतर से ठीक से पहचान शहर आ कर ही हुई। बरसात के बाद उनवल से बांसगांव वाली कच्ची सड़क के दोनों ओर के कुछ गढ्ढों में पानी भरा रहता था। कमलिनी के फूल पहली बार मैंने शायद उसी में देखे होंगे।

मौलवी सुभान अल्लाह और बाबू सुरसती सिंह पढ़ाते थे । बाद में हंसराज मास्टर साहब आने लगे । मौलवी साहब की चेक की क़मीज़ सफ़ेद धोती, काली पनही, पहनते थे । छाता हमेशा साथ रहता था। जब किसी को दंड देना होता वह छतरी बड़े काम में आती थी। कुंडी गले में लगा कर खींच कर उलटी तरफ़ से दो चार बार पिछाडा पीट दिया जाता था । पर मुझे कभी मार नहीं पड़ी। आख़िर हमारे पेड़ के नीचे स्कूल शुरू हुआ था ।

बहुत कुछ याद नहीं है पर मिठउआ पेड़ के आम की सुगंध और मिठास भरा ललाई लिये गूदा अभी भी नहीं भूला है ।

कुछ किताबें थी घर पर। रामचरित मानस, कल्याण के बहुत से अंक, श्रीमद् भगवद्गीता, गोरखपुर की क्षत्रिय जातियों का इतिहास आदि आदि। गीता पर पढ़ना विष्णु राव पराड़कर द्वारा शुरू किये गये दैनिक “आज” से ही शुरू हुआ होगा। दिल्ली के टेंट वाले स्कूल में जब मै छठवीं में पढ़ रहा था, मेरे बाबूजी ने नेशनल बुक ट्रस्ट द्वारा प्रकाशित पुस्तक “ ज्ञान सरोवर” जिसका मूल्य एक रुपया था जन्मदिन पर भेंट की थी। दिल्ली की बात है । और यह तब की बात है जब हमारे यहाँ जन्मदिन शहरों में ही मनाया जाता था, मेरे गाँव जैसे गाँवों में तो क़तई नहीं। म

से काका भी होता है ।पर काका नाम ज्ञान सिंह था । काका के बारे में ज्ञ शीर्षक के अंतर्गत लिखा जायेगा।

अंगिआं, पंडित जी के टूटि, गइलिआ टंगिया

बचपन में सीखी “नर्सरी राइम” तब जब नर्सरी और राइम का मतलब भी पता न था

ख से ख़रबूज़ा, ख से ख़रगोश , ख से ख़लील

ख़रबूज़ा तो नहीं पर “फूट” जिसकी रिश्तेदारी ककड़ी परिवार में रही होगी देखा था । पांडे लोगों के घर के पीछे ऊत्तर की ओर वाले खेत में मकई बोई जाती थी । मचान भी होती थी चिरई उड़ाने के लिये । बड़ा अच्छा लगता था मचान पर बैठ चारों ओर देखने पर । ऐसा लगता था जैसे मै सारी दुनिया देख रहा हूँ।

ख़रबूज़ा बहुत बाद में जब भइया (मेरे पितामह ) भटौली बाज़ार से आया तो देखा और फूट की याद आ गई।

फूट नाम शायद इसलिये पड़ा होगा कि बड़ा हो कर फूट जाता था।

ख से खस्सी भी होता है। खस्सी का मांस जिसे कलिया या गोश्त या बाद में मीट भी कहने लगे भटौली बाज़ार से लाया जाता था।

भटौली बाज़ार से ख़रीद कर लाया कलिया या खस्सी का गोश्त ही शायद मुझे पहले पहले खिलाया गया होगा । वैसे गाँव में ख से ख़लील मियाँ के यहाँ भी कभी कभी बाबू लोग खस्सी कटवाते थे । मनौती माने गये बकरे की बलि की प्रथा आज भी है । यह घर के बाहर दुआरे पर एक किनारे में किया जाता था।

ख से ख़रगोश जब १९६८ मे आणंद में नौकरी शुरू की । १९७० मे जब एनडीडीबी कैंपस बना हमने से कुछ लोग रहेवासी बने तब एक आइएएस अफसर डेपुटेशन पर आये ।सहकर्तव्यपालक बने, मित्रता हुई जो अब भी बरकरार है। हम दोनों की तब शादी नहीं हुई थी। वह तब तीन बेडरूम वाले बंगले में रहते थे । मै बाइस कमरों वाले हास्टल का नया नया वार्डन बनाया गया एक सोने का कमरा, बैठकी और स्नानागार एवं शौचस्थान मेरे हिस्से आये। मेरे मित्र के पास दुनाली बंदूक़ थी । काली रंग की फ़ियेट कार और आलिवर नाम का छोटा सा कुत्ता भी था।

एनडीडीबी कैंपस से के पास ही आणंद वेटेरिनेरी कालेज कैंपस है । तब वेटरिनरी कालेज कैंपस का बहुत सा हिस्सा ख़ाली झाडीझंखाड से जिनमे बहुत से ख़रगोश रहते थे । शाम ढले सियारों की हुआं हुआं शुरू हो जाती थी । एक दिन हमारे मित्र को शिकार करने का मन किया । रात को गाड़ी ले कर वेटरिनरी कैंपस में बंदूक़ और अपने छुटकू से कुक्कुर आलिवर सहित निकल पड़े वेटरिनरी कालेज कैंपस में। हेड लाइट आन थी । कई ख़रगोश गाड़ी की आवाज़ सुन झाड़ियों से बाहर निकल आये । बंदूक़ चली। कुछ धराशायी हुए। उठा कर एनडीडीबी हास्टल लाये गये और वहाँ साफ़ सफ़ाई काट कटाई बाद मसाला वसाला डाल ख़रगोश के गोश्त का कलिया बना । ज़्यादा तो याद नहीं पर खाने वालों को कुछ ख़ास मज़ा नहीं आया ।

अंगिआं, पंडित जी के टूटि, गइलिआ टंगिया

बचपन में सीखी “नर्सरी राइम” तब जब नर्सरी और राइम का मतलब भी पता न था

ग से गाँव, ग से गाय, ग से गाभिन

मेरे गाँव का नाम चतुर बंदुआरी है। पर गाँव में रहने वालों में जैसा हर जगह होता है कुछ लोग अवश्य चतुर रहे होंगे और चतुराई के लिये प्रसिद्ध भी।फिर चतुर बंदुआरी नाम कैसे पड़ा ? बताया गया इसका कारण है कि तहसील मे एक और गाँव का नाम बंदुआरी है ।मेरे वाली बंदुआरी के किसी चतुर का उठना बैठना हाकिम हुक्काम से रहा होगा और उसी ने “चतुर” बंदुआरी के आगे डलवा दिया होगा। और हमारा गाँव चतुर बंदुआरी कहा जाने लगा। दूसरी बंदुआरी बंदुआरी खुर्द के नाम से जानी जाती है।

बंदुआरी यानि वन की दुआरी । यानि वन का द्वार । वन बहुत पहले रहा होगा। हमारे बचपन में तो नहीं । वन तो नहीं पर बाग ज़रूर थे जिन्हें हम बारी कहते थे।

छोटकी बारी, बडकी बारी हमारी थी । मैना की बारी और सकुंता की बारी हमारे पट्टीदारी के परमहंस बाबा की थी ।पुन्नर बाबा के परिवार की बारी रेहारे के आगे थी खाल में जहां बाढ़ का पानी आता था। अब बारी भी न रही । कुछ पेड़ ज़रूर है । कुछ नये पेड़ और बाग लगाने का प्रयास भी हुआ है । चतुर बंदुआरी वृक्षमंदिर भी उन्नीस सौ नब्बे के दशक में शुरू किया गया ।

मेरे बचपन में घर पर तीन जोड़ी बैल हल चलाने गाड़ी ढोने के लिये थे । गाय की जगह भैंस का दूध ज़्यादा पसंद किया जाता था । दो भैंसों की याद आती है करिअई और भुइरी। करिअई बहुत दूध देने वाली थी। बाद में पता चला मुर्हा नस्ल की थी। गाभिन थी। प्रसव के दौरान बच्चा मर गया था। जिस रात वह प्रसव पीड़ा में थी उस दिन शाम से ही मुन्ना बाबू (मुझसे पाँच साल बडे चाचा) गमगीन थे । रात में जब करिअई भैंस के बच्चे के बारे में दुखद समाचार मिला मुन्ना बाबू भोंकरिया कर बहुत देर रोये। मै भी उनकी देखा देखी रोने लगा। बचपन में मैं मुन्ना बाबू की पूँछ कहा जाता था। हरदम उनके साथ घूमने खेलने के लिये तत्पर ।

बहुत दिनों बाद जब मैं शहर में पढ़ने के लिये भेजा गया तब रविवार को गाँव आने पर गाय बंधी थी। हरियाणवी थी ।बहुत मान से रखा जाता था।

हमारे समय मे गीताप्रेस नामक सांड हुआ करता था। गायों को गाभिन करने का ज़िम्मा उसी पर था।

अंगिआं, पंडित जी के टूटि, गइलिआ टंगिया

बचपन में सीखी “नर्सरी राइम” तब जब नर्सरी और राइम का मतलब भी पता न था

घ से घर, घ से घरौंदा

चतुर बंदुआरी का हमारा घर दो खंड का था मतलब दो आँगन वाला था अब भी है। लगभग पौन एकड़ से थोड़ी कम ज़मीन पर बना यह घर पर पूरब की ओर एक पीपल का विशालकाय वृक्ष था । साथ मे लगा एक तेली परिवार का घर था । बाबा लोगों ने उन्हें अपनी ज़मीन माली लोगों के घर के पास दे कर बदले में उनकी ज़मीन ले ली थी । इस तरह पिपरे तर के बाबू लोगों के घर का क्षेत्रफल और बढ़ गया ।घर के बाहर पीपल का एक विशाल पेड़ था। हमारा परिवार पिपरेतर के बाबू लोगों के नाम से जाना जाता था।

अब वह घर बस यादों का घर बन कर रह गया हैं । कुँआ था । अब भी है। पर कुयें का पानी ही पिया जाता। वह नल यानी चाँपा कल जब बड़े आँगन में लगा तब शायद मेरी उम्र बीस एक साल रही होगी यानी पचास साल पहले । अब भी चलता है। पहले पाइप कुढ़ें से पानी खींचता था। अब पता नहीं शायद बाद में। पाइप ज़मीन में गाड़ा गया हो । दरवाज़े पर के कुयें पर गागर भर पानी सिर पर डाल कर नहाने में बड़ा मज़ा आता था। पानी निकालने के लिये बिदेसी अथवा अन्य लोग तैनात रहते थे। साबुन का इस्तेमाल भी वही पर पहली बार किया गया होगा।

सरसों के तेल का दिया या ढेबरी , लालटेन, लैंप रोशनी के यही साधन थे।

अंगिआं, पंडित जी के टूटि, गइलिआ टंगिया

बचपन में सीखी “नर्सरी राइम” तब जब नर्सरी और राइम का मतलब भी पता न था


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 …” 


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.

Practical and Productive

I posted a blog about two distinguished persons whom I met in person in 2017 and their life story, passion and unique impactful work that they were doing left a deep impression on me.

Guruji Ravindra Sharma and Shri Deepak Suchde whom we fondly addressed as Baba, in February 2017 at the Development Management Institute, Patna.

While I was able to visit the karmabhoomi of Baba in Bajwada on a couple of occasions and attend with him several meetings in Delhi, I could not meet Guruji except for one meeting in Patna. Both of them are, unfortunately, no more.

I had also met Dr Prasad Teegalpalli at Patna.

We reconnected, thanks to social media, after four years! We have been exchanging messages and writing occasional emails for some months now. One day I watched a video lecture of his on YouTube. He has over the years developed and innovated trying out a pedagogy which as he puts it makes learning both practical and productive. He has been able to organize sales of over 500000 copies of books of Mahatma Gandhi through his students as part of assignments thatthe student needs to carry out.

I contacted him, and he kindly agreed to have a semi-structured conversation on Zoom about his life, work and views about “practical and productive” business management education, which he has successfully tried out for nearly two decades.

Dr Prasad Teegalpalli teaches Business Management at the National Institute of Industrial Engineering (NITIE).

I have great pleasure in sharing this recorded conversation. He speaks about his life journey, beliefs and his passion at work as a teacher.

Some excerpts from our conversation.

Gandhi is such a Nasha I call it Nasha very carefully, I’m using the word नशा very carefully एक बार चढ जाता है फिर उतरता नही

When practical becomes productive, the value system increases, this is a very, very important point, when practical becomes productive, the value system develops, head, heart and body is engaged in the whole process.

And this particular tailoring skill I got almost from birth itself because my mother used to take care of a family of four members by tailoring. So, I picked up tailoring, and I used to work as a tailor from school to my postgraduate level.

बेचो बेचो बेचो, बेच बेच कर सीखो, सिखाई बेच कर सीखो, जितना सीखा पूरा बेचो

I also found some pictures taken that day in February 2017. Displayed in the gallery below.

The following video clip was taken in February 2017 during our visit to Kaliachak village in Nalanda District of Bihar. Dr Prasad explaining to students mathematical formulas through a simple inexpensive toy.

साधो यह मुर्दों का गाँव

मेरी जीवन यात्रा भी वैसे ही उसी नीले आकाश के नीचे शुरू हुई थी जैसे इस संसार की खरबों करोड़ ज़िंदगियाँ जन्म लेती रहती हैं और जीवन मृत्यु के चक्र में विचरती रहती हैं………

फिर क्या है वह जो मुझे मेरी खुद की आँखों में विशेष बना देता है ? तुलना करूँ तो यही समझ में आता है कि यदि कुछ अलग है मुझमें तो वह है मेरी सही या ग़लत सोच , अनुभूतियाँ और अपनी आँखों में अपनी औक़ात की सही ग़लत पहचान। अंग्रेज़ी मे रंगरेज़ी करें तो कहेंगे खुद का बनाया गया मेरा ईगो ! मुझ मे अन्य के बनिस्बत कुछ भी विशेष नहीं है ।

ईशावास्यमिदं सर्वं यत्किंच जगत्यां जगत, एन त्यक्तेन भुञ्जीथा मा गृधः कस्य स्विध्दनम्।

जो भी है इस जग में गतिहीन या गतिमान, बसा है इन सब में सर्वव्यापी भगवान त्याग भाव से सुख भोगो इनका, मत करो पराये धन से अनुराग।

हिंदीनेस्ट से साभार

कुछ एक महीने पहले एक भूतपूर्व सहकर्मी ने मुझे अंतर्जाल के आभासी माध्यम से एक संवाद भेजा था ।पढ़ कर कुछ क्षणों के लिये थोड़ा आहत तो हुआ पर शीघ्र ही मन में आश्चर्य, कुतूहल, से भर गया और मन मे अजीब से विचार उठने, उमड़ने, घुमड़ने लगे । मेरे सहकर्मी मित्र की उम्र मेरे से बहुत कम है छोटे भाई या पुत्र जैसे । हम शायद तीस साल बाद एक दूसरे के संपर्क में आये थे।

फिर ऐसा संवाद क्यो ? मेरे प्रति उसके संवाद मे कोई अनादर अथवा अपशब्द जैसी कोई चीज न थी । जो भी उसने लिखा बेबाक़ी से लिखा था । अपने पुराने दिनों के बारे में या कहें कि हमारे पुराने दिनों के बारे मे । क्षोभ था, ग़ुस्सा भी । अपने अनुभवों के बारे में तल्ख़ शब्दों में उसने लिखा था और जिस तरह के वातावरण में उन दिनों हम काम करते थे उसके बारे में आपबीती बयान की थी या यूँ कहें कि अपने साथ हुई नाइंसाफ़ी की बात की थी । मेरे प्रति कोई आरोप न था।

खैर मैं इस बात को भूल गया था । पर आज जब महीनों बाद उसका दूसरा संवाद आया जिसमें उसने अपने शब्दों के लिये क्षमा माँगी तब भूली बात फिर याद आ गई ! मैंने उसके दूसरे संवाद का उत्तर कुछ इन शब्दों मे दिया ।

You are like a younger brother or more like a son to me. No need to ask for forgiveness… But how can I forget those times of stress and joy, failure and success, when we both worked at NDDB Anand. We were in it together. My exit from NDDB was not of a kind that I liked. But that was my fate. What else …I deliberately try to keep my negative memories out and by and large I have also succeeded in doing so. I have not been working since 2017……Started my website in 2019 and it has helped me keep busy and productive……….”

अब सोचता हूँ कुछ देर के लिये ही सही मैं अंदर से आहत क्यों हो गया था। खैर बात आई और गई। ज़िंदगी आगे खिसक गई !

लेकिन, विगत की खट्टी मीठी स्मृतियाँ, वर्तमान के अनुभव एवं सोच तथा भविष्य की आशा और निराशायें सब ही तो जी रही है मेरे साथ ।

जब तक मैं हूँ यह सब मेरे साथ रहेंगी । स्मृतियाँ, अनुभव, सोच, आशा निराशा का भँवर जाल । इन सबसे जाने अनजाने में लुका छुपा छिपी का खेल भी चलता रहेगा ।

जब मै नही रहूँगा तब यह क्या मेरी इन सब स्मृतियों , अनुभवों , सोच, आशाओं , निराशाओं के अवशेष रहेंगे । पता नहीं । हो सकता है कुछ क़िस्से रह जायें ।

पर क्या उन क़िस्सों का कथ्य सच तो क्या सच का आभास भी दे सकेगा ?

जीते जी देखता और महसूस करता हूं सच की खोज मे रत योद्धा सच पकड कर लाने का दावा करते है । फिर दूसरा योद्धा प्रकट हो एकदम विपरीत सच का दावा पेश कर देता है !

किसकी माने? किस आधार पर मानें ।

फिर याद आया कबीर दास का भजन! जिस को ले कर मैने एक दिन विडियो भी बनाया था और ट्विटर पर अपलोड भी किया था। ट्विटर पर मेरा हैंडल राग दरबारी के पात्र वैद्य जी के नाम पर है।

साधो ये मुरदों का गांव
पीर मरे पैगम्बर मरिहैं
मरि हैं जिन्दा जोगी
राजा मरिहैं परजा मरिहै
मरिहैं बैद और रोगी
चंदा मरिहै सूरज मरिहै
मरिहैं धरणि आकासा
चौदां भुवन के चौधरी मरिहैं
इन्हूं की का आसा
नौहूं मरिहैं दसहूं मरिहैं
मरि हैं सहज अठ्ठासी
तैंतीस कोट देवता मरि हैं
बड़ी काल की बाजी
नाम अनाम अनंत रहत है
दूजा तत्व न होइ
कहत कबीर सुनो भाई साधो
भटक मरो ना कोई

जिप्सीनी आँखों थी , अँधेरी रात के तारे

Photo: Paiting by Dr Rama Aneja

यह ब्लाग लिखना तो शुरू हुआ था एक कहानी “अँधेरी रात के तारे” के बारे में जो “जिप्सीनी आँखों थी” नामक पुस्तक से है।“जिप्सीनी आंखो थी“ पूरी पुस्तक यहां इंटरनेट आर्काइव से यहाँ पर उपलब्ध है । पर यहाँ मै “जिप्सीनी आँखों थी” से केवल एक कथा “अंधेरी रात के तारे” के बारे में लिख रहा हूँ ।

सार्थक संवाद” नामक वेब साइट पर मैंने यह कथा सबसे पहले पढ़ी । कैसे मैं इस अंतर्जाल की वेब साइट पर पहुँच गया, मुझे ठीक से याद नहीं। पर शायद मैं खोज रहा था एक भारतीय की जिसकी रग रग में भारतीयता परिलक्षित होती थी। गुरू जी रवींद्र शर्मा की। जिनसे मैं जीवन केवल एक बार मिला ।

पर लिखते समय याद आ गई दो व्यक्तियों से जिनकी सोच और काम दोनों से मै बहुत प्रभावित हुआ। दो व्यक्ति जिन की मुलाक़ातों ने अमिट छाप छोड़ी वह थे , बाबा दीपक सुचदे जिनके बारे में मैंने एक ब्लाग लिखा था। दूसरे थे गुरू जी रवींद्र शर्मा । विधि का विधान है अब दोनों नहीं रहे दोनों अंधेरी रात के तारे !

हैं नहीं, पर अब भी कहीं दूर से टिमटिमा रहे हैं । बुला रहे हैं मुझे । इस जीवन काल में तो नहीं पर शायद अगर फिर जन्म मिला तो शायद उनका साथ मिले ।

कैसे मिलना हुआ ? संयोग था डेवलपमेंट मैनेजमेंट इंस्टीट्यूट पटना का वार्षिक समारोह । इंस्टिट्यूट के तत्कालीन डायरेक्टर प्रोफ़ेसर के वी राजू के आमंत्रण पर मैं वहाँ गया और बहुत से विशिष्ट व्यक्तित्व के धनी और अपने क्षेत्र में उल्लेखनीय योगदान करने वाले लोगो से मिलने का अवसर प्राप्त हुआ।

उन दिनों की रह गईं उनकी यादों में दोनों की यादें प्रमुख हैं ।गुरू रवींद्र शर्मा जी ने भारतीय परंपरा और संस्कृति प्रेरित विकास की अवधारणा को विस्तार से समझाया था। मैंने आदिलाबाद जा कर उनके साथ कुछ समय बिताने का मन भी बनाया पर यह हो न सका । गुरू जी रवींद्र शर्मा के बारे में जब सोचता हूँ, उनकी एक बात अब भी मेरे कानों में गूंज उठती है । “मै सायकिल उठा कर निकल जाता था “देखने”, कुछ देखने नहीं । अगर हम कुछ देखने निकलेंगे तब हम वही देखेंगे जो देखने के लिये निकले थे और कुछ नहीं देख पायेंगें। अगर “केवल” देखने निकलेंगे तब हम बहुत कुछ देख सकेंगे।”

सार्थक संवाद वेब साइट पर ब्लाग लिखने वालों में से हैं श्री आशीष कुमार गुप्ता । वह इरमा (Institute of Rural Management Anand ) के छात्र रहे हैं। सार्थक संवाद वेब साइट पर आशीष जी का परिचय कुछ इस प्रकार से दिया गया है “ आशीष कुमार गुप्ता ने जबलपुर के निकट इंद्राना गांव में जीविका आश्रम और अध्ययन केंद्र की स्थापना की है। IRMA से अध्ययन करने के बाद, आशीष कुमार गुप्ता ने आदिलाबाद में श्री रवींद्र शर्मा जी के साथ वर्षों बिताए, जिन्हें प्यार से गुरुजी के रूप में जाना जाता था । आशीष कुमार गुप्ता कई सामाजिक कारणों से जुड़े हुए हैं, उनका मुख्य ध्यान गुरुजी के कार्यों को प्रकाशित करने पर है और उसी से प्रेरित हो कर , वह भारतीय समाज को अपनी छवि को सही करने के लिए पुन: उन्मुख करने पर भी ध्यान केंद्रित करते हैं ।”

गुरू जी रवींद्र शर्मा जी के कुछ विडियो यहां पर उपलब्ध हैं ।

श्री आशीष गुप्ता द्वारा गुरू जी की परिचय
गुरूजी का संबोधन ओआरएफ फाउंडेशन के समारोह में

बाबा दीपक सुचदे ने न केवल कृषि की अनोखी परिभाषा “वे अक्सर कहते थे “ कृषि सूक्ष्मजीव से महाजीव ( मनुष्य) की यात्रा है। सूक्ष्मजीव ( किटाणु, परजीवी आदि) अपना जीवन दान करते हैं अन्य जीवों और मानव के लिये भोज्य पदार्थों की संरचना के लिये । सूक्ष्मजीवों की मोक्ष यात्रा का प्रारंभ इसी जीवन त्याग से होता है” । बाबा ने कृषि को एक आध्यात्मिक आयाम से देखने की दृष्टि ही नहीं दी पर इस अवधारणा को कार्यरूप में ज़मीनी स्तर पर भी सफलतापूर्वक कर भी दिखाया । मै कई बार देवास ज़िले के बजवाडा गाँव मे मे स्थित उनके कृषितीर्थ पर भी गया । पर उन्हें अपने वृक्षमंदिर पर बुलाने में असफल रहा । किन कारणों से ? इसका वर्णन मेरे ब्लाग बाबा दीपक सुचदे न रहे पर विस्तार से उपलब्ध है ।

बाबा दीपक सुचदे के कुछ विडियो

Baba Deepak Suchde on Natuco farming

Baba speaking in presence of Sadguru

सार्थक संवाद वेब साइट पर प्रकाशित यह कहानी “ अंधेरी रात के तारे” मुझे बहुत पसंद आई। आशा है स्नेही पाठकों को भी यह कथा पसंद आयेगी । पढ़ें सोचे समझें गिने धुनें !

किशनसिंह चावडा बीसवीं शताब्दी के गुजरात के ख्यातनाम लेखक रहे हैं, जिन्होंने कई सारे वृतांत लिखे हैं। इनमें से अधिकांश प्रसिद्ध गुजराती कवि श्री उमाशंकर जोशी जी की पत्रिका संस्कृति में १९४७ के कुछ समय बाद से “जिप्सीनी आंखोथी” (जिप्सी की आंखो से) शीर्षक से प्रकाशित होते रहे हैं। इन सभी लेखों का संकलन करके “अमासना तारा” (अमावस्या के तारे) नाम से एक गुजराती पुस्तिका प्रकाशित की गई थी, जिसका हिन्दी अनुवाद कृष्णगोपाल अग्रवालजी के द्वारा अंधेरी रात के तारे शीर्षक से किया गया और उसे सोमैया पब्लिकेशन लिमिटेड के द्वारा प्रकाशित किया गया था। प्रस्तुत लेख उसी पुस्तक से लिया गया है और ऐसी और भी रोचक एवं बोधक कथाएँ हम आपके समक्ष प्रस्तुत करते रहेंगे। इस घटना का कालखंड उन्नीसवीं शताब्दी का अंतभाग अथवा बीसवीं शताब्दी का प्रारंभ होगा।

पिताजी जब कभी बाहर जाते, तब माँ बहुत उदास हो जाती थी। इस वजह से ही या न जाने और किसी वजह से, पिताजी जब तक अनिवार्य कारण न हो, तब तक दूर की यात्रा क्वचित्‌ ही करते थे। एक दिन सूरत के गुरूद्वारे से तार आया। पिताजी को तुरंत सूरत आने की गुरू महाराज ने तार से सूचना दी थी। उन दिनों किसी के यहाँ तार आना बड़ा महत्वपूर्ण प्रसंग माना जाता था। अकसर कोई बुरी खबर हो, तो ही किसी के यहाँ तार आता था। पूरे मुहल्ले में बात फैल गयी कि हमारे यहाँ तार आया है। धीरे-धीरे लोग पूछताछ को आने लगे। तार में कोई बुरा समाचार तो था नहीं। अतः चिंता का स्थान कुतूहल और उत्साह ने ले लिया।

बीसवीं शताब्दी के आरंभ का जमाना। साधारण लोगों के लिए सूरत-अहमदाबाद जाने का प्रसंग भी दो-चार साल में एकाध बार ही आता था। और, बम्बई – कलकत्ता जाना तो सुदूर विदेशयात्रा के समान कठिन और विरल माना जाता था।

पिताजी के सफर की तैयारी होने लगी। माँ की सहायता के लिए बड़ी मौसी और मामी आ पहुंची। पार्वती बुआ एक पीतल के चमकदार डब्बे में चार मगस के लड्डू ले आयी। पिताजी के पाथेय का प्रश्न इससे आधा हल हो गया। बिस्तर के लिए मामा अपनी नयी दरी लेते आये थे। लल्लू काका धोबी चार दिन बाद मिलने वाले पिताजी के कपड़े उसी रोज इस्त्री करके दे गये। शाम को भजन हुआ। रात को भोजन के बाद पुरूषोत्तम काका ने लालटेन की रोशनी में पिताजी की हजामत बना दी। पिताजी मध्यरात्रि की लोकल से जाने वाले थे। इतनी रात गये सवारी मिलना मुश्किल होता था। अतः दस बजे ही घर से निकल जाने की बात तय हुई। साढ़े नौ बजे तांगा लाने के लिए मामा लहरीपुरा गये। हमारे परिचित मुस्लिम स्वजन मलंग काका का तांगा चौराहे पर ही खड़ा था। मामा के कहते ही वे आ गये। उन्होंने रात को ग्यारह बजे तक गपशप कर के पिताजी के बिछोह का विशाद कुछ हद तक हलका कर दिया। लेकिन तांगा जाते ही कठिनाई से रोके हुए माँ के आँसू बरस पड़े। मौसी, मामी और बुआ माँ को ढाढ़स बाँधती रही और आधी रात बीते घर गयी। हम भी लेट गये।

माँ जब भी मुझे अधिक लाड-प्यार करती, मैं समझ जाता कि वह अत्यधिक दुःखी और अस्वस्थ है। आज भी वैसा ही प्यार करने लगी। मेरा शरीर सहलाती जाती थी और हिचकियाँ लिये जाती थी। उसे सांत्वना देने के लिए मैं भी उसे सहलाने लगा। लेकिन इसका परिणाम उलटा हुआ। माँ रो पड़ी। मेरी उम्र उस समय कोई बारह वर्ष की रही होगी। माँ मुझे अत्यधिक प्रिय थी। पिताजी के प्रति आदर-भाव था, लेकिन उनसे कभी-कभी डर भी लगता था, जब कि माँ से तो निर्भयता का वरदान मिल चुका था। मैं माँ के पास ही लेट गया और उसके पल्‍ले से उसके आँसू पोंछने लगा, लेकिन जैसे-जैसे पोछता गया वैसे -वैसे अश्रुधारा अधिकाधिक बहने लगी। मेरा भी जी भर आया। उसके अविरत आँसू देख कर मेरी आखें भी छलक पडी। लेकिन मुझे रोते देख कर माँ के आँसू अनायास रूक गये। मुझे और पास खींच कर उसने आँचल से मेरी आँखें पोंछी। इस दरमियान वह एक शब्द भी नहीं बोली थी। मैं बोलने की हालत में था ही नहीं।

आखिर माँ ही बोली। उसकी आवाज रूलाई से नम हो रही थी। कहने लगी, “बैटा, मैं तुझे बहुत अच्छी लगती हूँ ना?” इसका जवाब क्या देता! आँसूभरी आंखों से एकटक उसे देखता रहा। आँखो का उत्तर पढ़ कर वह फिर बोली, “तेरे बापू मुझे उतने ही अच्छे लगते हैं। वे जब कभी बाहर जाते हैं, मैं विहव्ल हो जाती हूँ। इस बार तो मेरी बेचैनी और भी बढ़ गयी। गुरू महाराज ने तार भेजकर न जाने क्‍यों बुलाया है। … न मालूम रामजी की क्‍या मरजी है। … चल अब सो जा।” इस प्रकार बातें करते हुए हम एक-दूसरे का आश्वासन बन कर सो गये।

पाँचवे दिन शाम को पिताजी लौट आये। माँ तब तक उदास ही रही, परंतु पिताजी को देखते ही उसकी आँखों में जीवन उमड़ आया। गमगीनी पर आनंद की लहरें छा गयीं। मैं भी पुलकित हो उठा। वायुवेग से समाचार फैल गया। स्वजनों का आना शुरू हुआ। घर में जहाँ कुछ समय पहले शून्यता छायी थी, वहाँ जिंदगी की हिना महक उठी। सबको विदा कर के हमने एक साथ भोजन किया। मैं हमेशा पिताजी के पास ही, पर अलग बिस्तर पर सोता था। हमारे बिस्तर के सामने ही माँ सोती थी। रात को प्रार्थना कर के हम सो गये।

बहुत रात बीते हिचकियों की आवाज से मैं जाग गया। देखा, कि माँ और पिताजी आमने सामने बैठे हुए बातें कर रहे थे और माँ की हिचकी बंधी हुई थी। मैं धीरे से उठा और माँ की गोद में जा छिपा। पिताजी को इतना व्याकुल मैंने शायद ही कभी देखा था। माँ की गोद से उठ कर मैं उनकी गोद में जा बैठा। वे मेरे सिर पर हाथ फेरते रहे। उनके स्वर मैं अस्वस्थता थी। माँ को संबोधित कर के वे कहने लगे, “तुम हाँ कहो, तभी मैं सूरत की गद्दी का स्वीकार कर सकता हूँ। गुरू महाराज ने स्पष्ट कहा है, कि तुम्हारी सम्मति हो, तभी मेरा संन्यास सार्थक हो सकता है।”

“आपको गद्दी देने की गुरू महाराज की इच्छा है, इसकी शंका तो वे पिछली बार जब यहाँ आये थे, तभी मुझे हो गयी थी। नारायणदास ने मुझसे कहा, तो मैंने समझा कि मजाक कर रहे होंगे। इसीलिए मैंने आपसे स्पष्ट पूछा भी था। आपने उस समय तो ना कह दी थी, लेकिन आपके मन की कशमकश में उस समय भी भाँप गयी थी। फिर सूरत की गद्दी जयरामदास को देने की बात चली और मैंने मन को मना लिया। अब की बार तार आया, तब से तो मैं कुशंका से पागल हो रही हूँ….!!” माँ की हिचकियाँ चलती रहीं।

“लेकिन देखो न नर्मदा,” पिताजी की वाणी में व्याकुलता थी, “जयरामदास को गद्दी देने को अब गुरूजी की इच्छा नहीं है। उनका कहना है, कि हमारे कुल का त्याग उच्च कोटि का है। पिताजी के दान की शोभा बढ़ानी हो, मंदिर की प्रतिष्ठा संभालनी हो और निरांत संप्रदाय को जीवित रखना हो, तो मुझे गद्दी स्वीकार करनी ही चाहिए।” सहसा माँ की हिचकियाँ रूक गयी। आँसू आँखों में ही रूक गये। आवाज कुछ अजीब सी मालूम हुई। बोली, “देखिए, आपके आत्मकल्याण के मार्ग में आकर मैं अपने धर्म से विचलित होना नहीं चाहती, लेकिन यह हमारे लिए बड़े कलंक की बात होगी।”

“दीक्षा लेने में कलंक है, यह तुम से किसने कहा? मैं कुछ दुःख, निराशा या जिम्मेदारियों से भाग कर तो संन्यास ले नहीं रहा। संसार का सामना न कर सकने की कायरता के कारण संन्यास लिया जाए, तो उसे कलंक कहा जा सकता है। जब कि मैं तो सब प्रकार से सुखी जीव हूँ और फिर, मैं तो तुम्हारी सम्मति के बाद ही यह कदम उठाना चाहता हूँ। तुम्हारी रज़ामंदी न हो, तो मुझे गद्दी नहीं चाहिए।!” पिताजी की आवाज़ में कंपन था। वे अभी स्वस्थ नहीं हुए थे।

“मैं जिस कलंक की बात कह रही हूँ, उसका कारण बिलकुल अलग है,” माँ ने कहा। “मेरे कहने का मतलब यह है, कि लोग कहेंगे कि बाप-दादा की संपत्ति सीधी तरह से विरासत में नहीं मिली, तो साधु बन कर हथिया ली। पिता ने उदार मन से जो संपत्ति मठ के लिए दान कर दी थी, उसे बेटे ने महंत बन कर भोगा। हमारी तो संपत्ति भी गयी और इज्जत भी गयी। आपके संबंध में कोई इस प्रकार का संशय व्यक्त करे, तो मेरे लिए तो वह मर जाने जैसा होगा।”

पिताजी गंभीर हो गये। मेरे सिर पर उनका हाथ फिरता रहा। लालटेन की रोशनी उन्होंने कुछ तेज की। कमरे में प्रकाश छा गया। माँ की आंखे पिताजी की आंखों की गहराई में उतर कर कुछ खोज रही थी। वे अपने स्वाभाविक धीर-गंभीर स्वर में बोले, “तुम बिलकुल ठीक कह रही हो, नर्मदा। यह मुझे पहले ही सूझना चाहिए था। न जाने कैसे यह बात मेरे ध्यान में ही नहीं आयी। मेरे मन में एक ही लगन थी कि गुरू महाराज की आज्ञा का पालन करना चाहिए। लेकिन अब तुम्हारी बात समझ में आती है। कल सुबह ही तार कर के गुरूजी के चरणों में अस्वीकृति भेज दूंगा।”

मेरी उपस्थिति से बेखबर होकर माँ ने पिताजी के पाँव छू लिये।

Sadhu to ramta bhala

Hemendra B Joshi
Hemendra B Joshi

Photo: Paiting by Dr Rama Aneja

I served an esteemed institution National Dairy Development Board, during its formative years for two decades. My association with NDDB means a lot to me professionally and psychologically. I contributed to the programmes and projects of the organisation to further its objectives to the best of my abilities and in the process I “grew up”!

I want to share one of the many lessons that I learnt while working with NDDB. A beautiful lesson ‘Sadhu to chalta bhala’!.

Abrupt transfers were like a hanging Damocles sword for NDDB professional staff who had to work in the field.

In many instances, before one settled down at one place, a transfer order would come! Like a sage of the good old days one would soon learn to develop an attitude of अनासक्ति or no worldly attachment to a “place” of posting.

In 1989 I was posted at Galbabhai Dairy Co-operative Training Center at Banas Dairy , Palanpur. Soon we learnt that in the neighbouring district Mehshana District Milk Producers Cooperative Union ( Dudhsagar Dairy) was looking for a Gujarati Speaking Officer well acquainted with Cooperative Development as there was a two months field training module to be delivered for trainees in this area.

साधु तो रमता भला, गंगा तो बहती भली

One fine morning Dr Punjarath phoned me up and talked about my placement on deputation at Dudhsagar Dairy Mehsana as he was a member of the Board of Dudhsagar Dairy as NDDB representative. He suggested that I meet Shri Motibhai Chaudhary, the then Chairman of Dudhsagar Dairy. Dr Punrath told me that he had recommended to the Mehsana Dairy that I be given the Manager’s post. This was very good opportunity and a change of 180 degrees, as I was looking after training in Artificial Insemination and Cooperative Development since joining NDDB in 1977!

But for me was fa very difficult decision to make. I had to take a call on the education of my children who were then in 7th and 9th standard respectively in a English Medium School at Palanpur.

But it was the need of the hour, so I agreed and met the Chairman of Dudhsagar Dairy, Motobhsi Chaudhry, along with Shri Parthibhai Bhatol and talked at length about my posting as referred by Dr Punjarath and decided to take up the new assignment at Mehsana.

I shifted my family to Dudhsagar Dairy for schooling etc. and frequently met with the MD and Chairman of Dudhsagar Dairy for finalisation of my posting while I continued to work at GDCTC, Palanpur as per the instructions received from Anand.

I did all this in consultation with Dr Punjarath whose support was rock solid.!

The Chairman, Dudhsagar Dairy, whom I had met before shifting my family to Mehsana, however, had a change of mind. He asked me to join as Deputy Manager. That was shocking, and naturally I was very upset with at this unexpected development! For the next three month I tried to persuade the Chairman, Shri Motibhai in consultation with Dr Punjarath. But Shri Motibhai was adamant and refused to budge and my future was in a limbo.

I was in a dilemma as to what to do next. By then it was the month of August. I wondered how to take my children back to Palanpur and get them admitted in a school. Mid season change of school from one district to another is a complex process.

I consulted Dr Punjarath and asked for his final advice !

How nicely he then supported me. I forgot the problems and all that I was facing. I do, however, still remember his consoling words; “Please do not worry, you are a sincere and honest officer with wonderful track record, I am the last person to force you to agree to the revised offer from Dudhsagar Dairy and join as Dy Manager. You may respectfully regret and continue to serve in your present position at Palanpur.”

It was still a grave situation for the schooling of my children, But I was very happy. How a senior boss from NDDB like Dr Punjarath valued his junior colleague. Such sensitivity and support to juniors gives them on the job inspiration and motivation !

Fortunately, both my kids got admission in a boarding school at Pillvai and I accepted the situation delightfully. Our family disintegrated as we had to live away from our kids. Fate takes such twists and turns. One has to learn and accept unpleasant situations as well.

More often than not things do turn out to be good.

“HE” gives us what is “Good” for us not necessarily what we “Like”.

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!