Lovingly called the Father of the White Revolution in India, Dr Verghese Kurien was born on November 26, 1921.
Credited with architecting the Operation Flood -- the largest dairy development programme in the world -- Dr Kurien set up the Anand model of cooperative dairy development, engineered the White Revolution in India, and made India the largest milk producer in the world.
Dr Kurien graduated with Physics from Loyola College, Madras in 1940 and then did BE (Mech) from the University of Madras.
After passing out of the University, he joined the Tata Steel Technical Institute, Jamshedpur from where he graduated in 1946. He then went to USA on a government scholarship to earn his Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (with distinction) from Michigan State University.
When he came back to India, he was posted as a dairy engineer at the government creamery, Anand, in May 1949.
Around the same time, the infant cooperative dairy, Kaira District Cooperative Milk Producers' Union Limited (KDCMPUL), -- now famous as Amul -- was fighting a battle with the Polson Dairy, which was privately owned.
Young Kurien, fed up with being at the government creamery, which held no challenge, volunteered to help Shri Tribhuvandas Patel, the Chairman of KDCMPUL, to set up a processing plant. This marked the birth of AMUL.
The White Revolution
Dr Kurien has since then built this organisation into one of the largest and most successful institutions in India. The Amul pattern of cooperatives had been so successful, in 1965, then Prime Minister of India, Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri, created the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) to replicate the programme on a nationwide basis citing Dr Kurien's "extraordinary and dynamic leadership" upon naming him chairman.
Kurien also set up GCMMF (Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation) in 1973 to sell the products produced by the dairies. Today GCMMF sells AMUL brand products not only in India but also overseas.
For his contribution to the dairy industry, Dr Kurien has received top awards not only in India but also overseas.
1963 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership
1965 Padma Shri
1966 Padma Bhushan (from president Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan)
1986 Krishi Ratna Award (by the President of India)
1986 Wateler Peace Prize Award (of Carnegie Foundation )
1989 World Food Prize Laureate
1993 International Person of the Year (by the World Dairy Expo , Madison, Wisconsin, USA)
1999 Padma Vibhushan