Global search engine Google led the milk-loving world in celebrating the 94th birthday of the late Dr Varghese Kurien, founder of Amul, on Thursday. Better known as the ‘Milkman of India’, Kurien heralded the nation’s White Revolution, emulated by many countries across the world.
Google’s doodle depicted Dr Kurien sitting on a stool with a buffalo and three milk canisters, in a tribute to the man who inspired countless milk producers and consumers, making Amul India’s best known dairy brand globally. Born on November 26, 1921, he found bliss in Anand, his adopted home. He passed away on September 9, 2012.
On its part, on Thursday, Amul inserted full-page advertisements in newspapers recalling the journey of Dr Kurien to Anand and his contribution subsequently to make Amul possible. “Once upon a time, in Anand, a sleepy little town in Gujarat, pulled in a train from Mumbai, carrying a foreign-educated, nattily dressed young man. Unknown to him, a unique and revolutionary experiment was brewing in this town. A band of tenacious dairy farmers were struggling against the exploitative practices followed by the local trade. Bored in this small town, he pitched in, little knowing that he was actually sowing the seeds of a cooperative movement.”
Amul said the revolution empowered farmers, particularly women, making India the largest milk producer in the world. “Today, 150 lakh farmers across 1.6 lakh village dairy cooperative societies in India, supplying milk worth Rs. 50,000 crore every year, join hands to thank Dr Varghese Kurien for a lifetime spent in empowering them to live happily forever.”
Celebrating Dr Kurien’s 90th birthday on November 26, 2011, Amul had inserted quarter-page advertisements, paying him glowing tributes: “You changed the lives of 15 million farmers’ families. You revolutionised the dairy sector. You gave India 200 Amul brands. We give you 90 candles,” the grateful Amul girl, attired in her trademark polka frock and hair-band, told Dr Kurien in the advertisement. The milkman affectionately held a calf in the ad as the smiling mother-cow looked on.
The advertisement also acknowledged the many hats Dr Kurien wore: Founder Chairman of NDDB, GCMMF, NCDFI, IRMA, among others. And the many epithets he got accustomed with: Father of the White Revolution, the Milkman of India, and Architect of Operation Flood. “Thank you for making us the largest selling milk producer in the world. Thank you for engineering the dairy cooperative movement in India. From all of us at Amul.”
For those wishing Dr Kurien a happy birthday, Amul also went all out on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, created an e-mail account, and an SMS number and a toll-free number.
A grateful R.S. Sodhi, Managing Director of Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF), who had the privilege to work with Dr Kurien for 32 years, told BusinessLine that Dr Kurien was, perhaps, the only example after Mahatma Gandhi who contributed so much for the upliftment of the rural economy in India.
No wonder, that day, Amul ran a special campaign for its creator, communicated a birthday wish to the 90-year-young boy through butter hoardings across the country.