September 9 was the death anniversary of Dr Verghese Kurien fondly known as the Milkman of India. Kurien's model is such that with every passing day the number of people joining his well-wishers’ or say followers’ list continue to rise.
GCMMF, MD, R S Sodhi puts it right, “Like a religion, the followers of Dr Kurien are just increasing. This is mainly because his value system stands out...” He said this while addressing a webinar on the launch of Dr Kurien's audiobook ‘The Man Who Made The Elephant Dance’.
Yesteryear critics have also changed their stance about the milkman today. It is rare to have critics to become followers but Kurien's model was able to achieve it.
What was the Kurien model: It was a model of togetherness governed by high values. While he built a brand like Amul, he also developed a system where the successor understands the value of Amul too. He truly believed in the value of sustainable business. Thus, his small movement today is a Rs 45,000 crore business.
Amul is a cooperative brand managed by a cooperative body, the Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd. (GCMMF). Today, it is jointly owned by 36 lakh (3.6 million) milk producers in Gujarat.
Amul, Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF), is the first Indian dairy firm to make a place in the global top 20 list released by Rabobank, a Dutch multinational banking and financial services company.
While the model is important, so is the will of any new successor that comes to the realm. This again was taken care of by the Kurien when he developed a foresight model that kept political interference away from the decision-making process.
Dilip Rath, Chairman of NDDB remembering the Father of the White Revolution said, “Dr Kurien believed in freedom. He made sure he had the freedom to carry on the mission.” The mission to feed the impoverished Indian population and most importantly to provide a livelihood to these farmers.
Many bureaucrats struggled to get India out of dark times, but there are very few that managed to create a legacy. Dr Kurien and his legacy are fondly remembered. His daughter, Nirmala Kurien, admires her father for standing for a cause and not giving up when going got tough. “His legacy and values are tough.” But she is proud that it still stands tall.
Meanwhile, Siddharth Sheth, grandson of Dr Kurien recalls some aspects of his legacy he never understood as a kid — when his grandfather was still around. But today when he looks back and mulls over it, he finds them astonishIng.