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IRMA Network Magazine dedicated to Dr. V Kurien


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  • 1. Dr. V. Kurien: Commemorative Issue FOR PRIVATE CIRCULATION December 2012Remembering the Legend The Utterly Butterly Man Decoding the King Remembering Dr. V. Kurien – the Father of White Revolution Koffee with Kurien The Spirit of Cooperation Amul is a Woman Thing Undeniably Unforgettable Institute of Rural Management Anand
  • 2. 2 Network NOTIFICATION I, Pratik Modi, Alumni Co-ordinator, have been appointed vide letter No D.O.(O.ORD)42/12 dated 28 December 2012 by the Director IRMA, as the Returning Officer for conduct of elections to the 11th Executive Committee of the IRMA Alumni Association (IAA hereafter) in accordance with the provisions of its constitution: And whereas under clause 9.0 read with clause 12.1 of the constitution, all ordinary members of the Association (as defined in clause 4.1 of the constitution) are required to elect the following Executive Committee members. 1. One post of President 2. One post of Vice-President 3. One post of Secretary 4. One representative of each zone (as defined under clause 15.0 of the constitution which includes North, South, East, West, and International Zones) And now, therefore, in exercise of my powers as the Returning Officer, call upon all ordinary members of the Association to elect the Executive Committee members as aforesaid as per the procedures laid down in Schedules 1&2 appended to this notification. December 31, 2012 Sd/- Anand Returning Officer (Pratik Modi) SCHEDULE 1 IRMA ALUMNI ASSOCIATION, ANAND SCHEDULE OF ELECTION, 2013 1. Date of issue of Election notification by the returning officer 31 December 2012 2. Last date and time for the receipt of nomination papers by the returning officer 4 February 2013 3. Scrutiny of nomination papers by the returning officer 6 February 2013 4 Last date and time of withdrawal of nominations to reach the returning officer 10 February 2013 5. Publication of voters’ list 15 February 2013 6. Post of ballot papers/voting guidelines to the electorate by the returning officer 20 February 2013 7. Last date and time for receipt of postal ballots/votes by returning officer 25 March 2013 8. Counting of votes and declaration of result by returning officer 29 March 2013 Members may send their ballot papers by ordinary post to save time. However, registered/couriered post will also be accepted. Hand delivery can also be made at the Alumni Office and acknowledgement obtained. Withdrawal of nominations can also be made by fax, email, or by telegram followed by a confirmation by post. The voters’ list would be published and exhibited prominently on a notice board at IRMA. December 31, 2012 Sd/- Anand Returning Officer (Pratik Modi) Contd. on page 47
  • 3. 3 Network Remembering the Legend CONTENTS 1. End of an Iconic Era........................................................................................... 5 – Yoginder K Alagh 2. Dr. V. Kurien: Persona and Contributions........................................................... 6 – HS Shylendra 3. IRMA: The House that Kurien Built..................................................................... 9 – Tushaar Shah 4. Remembering Dr. V. Kurien - the Father of White Revolution...........................11 – Katar Singh 5. Dr. Kurien’s Better Half..................................................................................... 13 – Indrani Talukdar 6. Up Close and Personal..................................................................................... 14 – PS Mohan 7. Amul Dairy Museum: The Milky Way to Success............................................. 16 – Anand Venkatesh 8. Down Memory Lane......................................................................................... 17 – V Mukunda Das 9. Decoding the King............................................................................................ 18 – MS Sriram 10. The Spirit of Cooperation.................................................................................. 20 – Haribandhu Panda 11. Carillon Chimes: A looming presence............................................................... 23 – Indrani Talukdar 12. The Inimitable Dr. K......................................................................................... .24 – CP Mohan 13. Koffee with Kurien............................................................................................ 27 . – Meher Gadekar 14. A Magnetic Personality..................................................................................... 30 – Anand Venkatesh 15. Itna Vaada Kar de............................................................................................. 31 – Paresh Bhatt 16. Undeniably Unforgettable................................................................................. 32 – Anshul Malik 17. The Utterly Butterly Man................................................................................... 34 – Priyam Mukherji 18. Amul is a Woman Thing................................................................................... 36 . – Devaki Jain 19. I Too Had A Dream’: Book Review.................................................................... 38 – Rishi Kesavaram Editorial Committee Editor: Anand Venkatesh Editorial Associate: Indrani Talukdar Network Secretariat: Susamma T Network is a quarterly publication of IRMA aiming to generate communication among alumni, well-wishers and present participants of IRMA. Send the materials for consideration of publicaion in Network to : Disclamer: The views and opinions expressed in articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of NETWORK, IRMA.
  • 4. 4 Network Editorial Dear Esteemed Reader, It is seldom that one has a sense of disbelief and doubt while reporting a factual event. But that is precisely the feeling one gets while writing that Dr Kurien is no longer with us, even after three months of his sad demise. It was universally felt at IRMA that the first and foremost thing IRMA can, and must do, to remember the legend is to bring out a special issue of Network dedicated to Dr Kurien. Indeed, this idea emanated from several quarters within IRMA at about the same time. The next question was, “what should this special issue contain?” Once again, the Network team felt that it should not just focus on the multitude of achievements by the great man, or for that matter, his yeoman service towards rural poverty alleviation. Rather, this issue should be about IRMA’s memories of Dr Kurien. This in turn leads to the question, who or what, is IRMA? To venture an answer: IRMA’s alumni and current participants, faculty past and present, staff members, and several well wishers of IRMA in the outside world. We felt that collating memories, views and anecdotes, from each of these would add another dimension to understanding Dr Kurien. In other words, ambitious though it may seem, one would get a chance to know Dr Kurien more as a human being transcending the vast sea of his legendary achievements. At the very outset, we realized that any effort in this direction would remain incomplete without hearing from Mrs Molly Kurien. The interview with Mrs Kurien was indeed an eye opener. It not only revealed fascinating insights about Dr Kurien the person but through Mrs Kurien’s humility and frankness we could fathom the crucial role she played in Dr Kurien’s feats which border on the unbelievable. Once again my hands tremble with disbelief when I recollect that within two months of the interview Mrs Kurien too left us to join her husband in his heavenly abode. While compiling this special issue we realized that it is limiting to think that Dr Kurien touched the lives of only those who interacted with him in some capacity or the other. Current IRMA participants who had never seen Dr Kurien in person were desirous of writing about him based on the tremendous influence he had in their decision to shape their careers and lives in a particular way. Also the history and significance of two monuments in the proximity of which the immortal presence of Dr Kurien can be strongly felt – the Carillon Chimes and the Amul Museum – are covered in this issue. As mentioned in the editorial of the previous issue of Network, we would be introducing changes which would make this lovely periodical even more reader friendly. For a start, we have brought out this special issue dedicated to Dr Kurien in colour. Also, articles are interspersed with photographs and blurbs. However, to know that we are in the right direction, your feedback is crucial for us. So please spare some time to email us your views, comments and suggestions to further improve Network. Last, but by no means the least, do not confine articles on Dr Kurien to just special issues. Rather, let us make every issue of Network special by having articles in memory of Dr Kurien. Yours Truly Anand Venkatesh (Editor)
  • 5. 5 Network Remembering the Legend End of an Iconic Era With Dr. Kurien’s death an age has come to an end but his heritage lives on. T he passing away of Verghese Kurien marks the end of an epoch. He was not only a man had to be dispensed he would make the machine. as shining examples. This is the only management school that does not feel happy when you join an MNC. And of course, Amul became the with a vision but one who could symbol of all that was India. A What now, I am asked. Actually eras fashion it to create mighty edifices. cooperative must have regular like this never come to an end. The He changed the discourse. When I elections. Its accounts must be National Dairy Development Plan went to the FAO for building its first audited annually. Kurien hated talks about cooperatives, self help global model of world agriculture crooks and charlatans. When I was groups, and producer companies. an orthodoxy prevailed that dairying asked to succeed him at IRMA I said Many NGOs have been working could only be carried out on a large “No. He is my hero.” But I agreed on these models. NABARD has scale, in ranches and large industrial been building financial products for to talk to him. It was at peak of complexes. The unemployed farmer them. Today, even corporations like summer in the Kurien enclave, one was without resources and poor. Dr. Kurien said no: If the farmers can access technology and markets on their farms they would not be a problem but an asset. Having seen the dream he wouldn’t budge. He was right and he knew it in his heart. To him the critics were all wet and worse still, either “bureaucrats or charlatans”. First India and then the world recognised him with awards and glory. He would cover the last mile. And how! In his biography there is the Amul became the symbol of all that was India. story of a crane going haywire. He jumps on it and bleeds but brings of those deliciously languorous days DCMs Harayali and Rallis’s I Shakti it under control. When I was in the in Gujarat, when he told me, “If you Pulses follow the Producer Company Planning Commission in my early are doing it Yoginder, I am happy”. model. It is another matter that the days he had a project on shrikhand Corporate Affairs Ministry has been for the Sugam dairy. Of course the A third of rural income comes from giving a cold shoulder to the Second Project Division guys wouldn’t bite. dairying and he produced the only Amendment of The Company Act Halwais would become unemployed, model that is in existence. He 2002 that mandated the Producer they said. The technology of large created a phalanx that would follow Companies. When I asked the scale was unproven. He asked me through. He realised thirty years ago that it was not just machines author if the proposal for Producer to help and I arranged a meeting. Companies came from a group I and technology but managers who They went at him and he listened chaired, he said nonchalantly, “Those would make a difference. And of to them. Then looking them straight are not companies”. Of course they course, if they are needed they in the eye he said, “You fellows are not. That’s what Kurien’s legacy have to be the best. It is a pleasure can’t milk a cow and will give me is all about. Kurien’s heritage will to listen to the women and men he lectures”. If cheese had to be made not give up. It will give all of them inspired. IRMans like Sodhi, Shiv he would reverse engineer it. If milk a good fight. Kumar and many others stand out By: Prof. Yoginder K. Alagh, Ex-Chairman of IRMA, Email-
  • 6. 6 Network Dr. V. Kurien: Persona and Contributions Operation Flood and the setting up of IRMA were just two of Dr. Kurien’s several contributions, outstanding for their merit and vision. W ith the passing away of Dr. V. Kurien a key phase in the country’s history of the Amul-inspired in Anand was the conviction he developed while working with farmers and helping them build their own Having been a manager himself while running a cooperative (Amul) effectively for nearly two decades, cooperative movement has come to institutions. This became the single Dr. Kurien knew the ingredients of an end. While it is not clear how most important mission of his life success needed for OF. Without far an individual can influence the and career, propelling him towards going into all the details, which history of any movement, the distinct his innumerable accomplishments. are widely known in any case, it role of Dr. Kurien in the propagation From such strong conviction was is worthwhile recalling a few major of the dairy cooperative movement born courage that, in turn, helped strategies bearing the hallmark of cannot be ignored. Before I go on him surmount the challenges and the ‘Kurien style of management and to highlight some of his specific adversaries he faced in life. No development’. First and foremost, contributions I would like to briefly one could trifle with him or the Dr. Kurien ensured that the National expound on certain personal institutions he created, and if he Dairy Development Board (NDDB) characteristics underpinning his had to ruffle a few feathers in the set up for the purpose remained achievements. pursuit of his goals he did so without autonomous – legally and financially turning a hair. The portrayal of Dr. – even during the heydays of state Diminutive in height Dr. Kurien had a Kurien would be incomplete without and bureaucratic control endemic to commanding presence, nonetheless. a mention of his commitment to all state-led bodies. Dr. Kurien was I realised this fact soon after simplicity, honesty and integrity, just not prepared for any kind of top- having joined IRMA in 1993. During values that he pursued in both his down bureaucratic system dictating various talks and lectures and in my personal and professional life. Dr. the implementation of a development subsequent interactions with him I Kurien ensured that the projects project. He not only succeeded in discovered in him a master orator and institutions he headed remained convincing the government that who was instantly able to recall above board when it came to issues NDDB had to be set up away from many historical facts and weave a like corruption and nepotism. Delhi, he also managed it highly wonderful story around them. His professionally. Whatever success OF speeches would leave one spell I would now like to expound on achieved was primarily attributable to bound. A colleague had remarked some of his specific contributions, this autonomy built very consciously. once that it was a blunder to make especially relating to Operation But Dr Kurien was also fully aware him read a written speech even Flood (OF) and Institute of Rural that the autonomy was to be used during a formal occasion. Oration Management Anand (IRMA), two of for the attainment of set goals and apart, he was a man of conviction his major accomplishments. not squandered for any narrow and courage. Admittedly, Dr Kurien Operation Flood (OF): OF was gains. He used the autonomy to the came to Anand as a reluctant aimed at replicating and scaling- hilt. He along with his team evolved professional. But once he decided up the Anand Pattern Co-operative many innovative strategies and to stay on there was no stopping model (or Amul model) all over India. practices while executing OF. Some him from his deep involvement with An exceptional project, it bore the cooperatives and achieving whatever distinguishing features of the OF stamp of Dr. Kurien’s acumen and he wanted. What kept him stay put include its financing by converting execution.
  • 7. 7 Network Remembering the Legend food aid into a development fund, aware of the class/caste tensions conceptual abilities of potential professional management of but could not explicitly strategise rural managers. IRMA has carved a programme implementation and for such eventualities. He did unique niche for itself in the domain the cooperatives that were created believe, however, that economic of rural management education through multi-disciplinary teams, development could surmount such bearing a deep imprint of its creator. and the development of need- contradictions in the long run. To Having realised the acute need based technology. He insisted on him dairy development was, among for professionals to help manage making farmers’ cooperatives an other things, a strategy and means farmers’ organisations Dr. Kurien integral part of OF. As far as Dr. of attaining self-reliance for the was, in a way, compelled to establish Kurien was concerned, cooperatives developing countries. He strongly IRMA with mainstream management were not merely instruments of advocated protectionism against the institutions like the IIMs refusing project implementation but ways machinations of developed countries. to see his point of view. Having of unleashing the broader process worked with farmers he was very OF was thus a unique programme of participation, democracy, and clear on the type of education that that paved the way for combining development. He went on to become needed to be imparted to potential institutions with professional the champion of the cooperative rural managers. In one of his early management to uplift disadvantaged cause. speeches delivered before IRMA’s communities in developing countries. OF relied on small farmer based Board of Governors, Dr. Kurien Dr Kurien wanted this approach to dairy development as opposed to had argued that, “…the orientation pervade other sectors of the rural the large scale mechanised dairy of these new managers will have economy. Academically speaking, husbandry of western countries. to be substantially different. They somewhere along the way, this This was a major developmental must work under the compulsions approach assumed the form of a new strategy that he consciously adopted of the farmers’ interest and therefore discipline called ‘rural management’ given the conditions of rural India. Socially, it helped broad base the participation of a large number of small and marginal farmers in dairy development while economically it helped tap low cost resources of the farming community. But OF did face challenges and limitations that eluded solutions even for a master strategist like Dr. Kurien. The replication of the Anand Pattern Cooperatives encountered many difficulties at the state level. Non conducive conditions for the promotion and working of co- IRMA – Dr. Kurien’s brainchild operatives in an autonomous way constrained the uniform success of that, in turn, led to the formation of there must be a significant variation OF. Being aware of this Dr. Kurien the Institute of Rural Management in their attitudes and character.” strongly advocated the promotion Anand (IRMA). He had expressed the hope that of autonomous cooperatives by “the IRMA Board would address Institute of Rural Management reforming archaic cooperative itself to these questions right from Anand: IRMA is another major legislations. Dairy cooperatives at the inception stage and that these outcome of the visionary effort of Dr. the village level, like most other concerns would be reflected in the Kurien. While NDDB was the field sectors, also got trapped in the selection procedures and curricula for pushing practical boundaries, mire of elitism. Dr. Kurien was well for the institute as well as all other IRMA became the base for honing
  • 8. 8 Network aspects of its functioning”. He had this. While ensuring autonomy from he was keen to replicate IRMA in been clear in his mind regarding the external forces he also advocated different regions of the country which expectations from rural managers the faculty’s need for internal somehow did not materialise during and the kind of institution that autonomy. A techno-manager to his tenure. needed to be created for them. His boot, Dr. Kurien sought the help of To conclude, while history may vision has helped IRMA evolve as a many renowned educationists and judge him more comprehensively, Dr unique rural management institution. other experts of the country and Kurien has left an indelible mark on As was the case with NDDB he abroad in shaping IRMA. He invited of the institutions he helped create. realised that IRMA should have an them to be on the Board of IRMA yet The challenge before some of these autonomous governance structure. never allowed anyone to divert or institutions- NDDB or GCMMF or for Autonomy was to be ensured in hijack IRMA from its original mission. that matter IRMA, is how to retain terms of governance and finances He was proud of the fact that while and sustain the basic purpose, and in terms of intellectual reflection. there were hundreds of management excellence and integrity which Dr. During his tenure as Chairman he schools there was only one IRMA. Kurien tried infusing in them as a tried every possible way of ensuring Given the vast needs of the country committed manager and visionary. By: Prof. H.S. Shylendra, Professor, Institute of Rural Management, Anand, Email- Chairman’s Welcome Address to the 26th batch of PRM & the 4th batch of FPRM Students June 17, 2005 Dear PRM and FPRM students, You all have joined IRMA this summer. I welcome you all to the Institute. You all will agree, I am sure, that you are very much privileged to get selected for admission here from amongst thousands who applied from all over the country. You will now have a golden opportunity to prepare yourself to work for a worthy cause i.e. for the betterment of rural India where the large mass of the deprived people live and who have been neglected for decades after Independence. IRMA has state-of-the-art facilities to facilitate your studies. It has good faculty, excellent library, comfortable hostels with internet connection, and spacious sports amenities. The whole campus is maintained as an oasis of well manicured beautiful green lawns to keep you ever fresh and revitalised for conducting your studies sincerely in a serene environment. All this is done with a purpose. IRMA is a unique institution. It is not similar to the mainstream common institutes of management education which are there in hundreds in the country – several of them running as teaching shops and some others mainly geared to meet the needs of the private corporates whose main objective is profit maximisation to further fatten the affluent classes, and the employees in such organisations commanding huge resources, may get fat salary and perks but essentially work as a cog in the gigantic corporate machine. IRMA is not meant to follow the mainstream. It has a unique and noble mission, namely, to promote equitable and sustainable development, especially rural development with a view to benefit the large rural populace. How does IRMA endeavour to fulfil this mission and vision? It is through contributing to professionalise the management of the undermanaged rural organisations, especially people’s institutions like cooperatives and also, NGOs which honestly work in line with IRMA’s mission. IRMA conducts a set of programmes and activities for the purpose of professonalisation. PRM has been the main teaching programme here since the institute was set up 25 years ago. It has emerged as pioneering programme establishing the discipline of rural management which is being replicated elsewhere in the country. Launching of the FPRM has taken the discipline of rural management to a greater height. We all have expectations in life. This is justified. But these days most people are largely after mammon worship. We need money which makes our life comfortable. Yes, money can buy you material comforts. But it cannot buy everything. One-sided pursuit of material comforts generally make us one-dimensional. Humans are not mere homo economicus (economic being). They are creative in nature and, hence, require space to innovate and create, which involves not only imagination but also confronting the existing challenges. Humans need respect and love in society. Contd... p. 15
  • 9. 9 Network Remembering the Legend IRMA: The House that Kurien Built Of all the magnificent institutions built by Dr. Kurien IRMA was, perhaps, closest to his heart. D uring his long stint as a serial institution builder Dr. Kurien emerged as a champion of farmer who referred to it as EERMA, but gave up after sometime. bovine diseases—was converted into a makeshift office and class room complex for a young IRMA. While returning from a trip to cooperatives. The National Dairy Kanvinde and Rai, who happened to Europe Dr Kurien stopped by for Development Board (NDDB) was be among the best known architects a few hours to talk to the Swiss a charitable trust and companies of the country, were asked to design Development Cooperation (SDC) like HPCL, IDMC and Mother Dairy the IRMA campus on a 65 acre plot about IRMA and returned to Anand were owned by it. At one time the adjacent to the NDDB campus. There with a commitment from the Swiss Tribhuvandas Foundation was a were opinions galore expressed to fund the construction of the leading NGO of Gujarat, which Dr. on what the campus should look entire campus, including the class Kurien helped set up along with like. Someone suggested a rustic, room complex, auditorium hostels, several other institutions. There were austere place mimicking a village. Dr faculty housing and everything else few institutions, however, on which Kurien brushed it aside saying, “You required to create an institution of he showered as much care and cannot produce kings in a pigsty.” character. The Swiss along with attention as he did on IRMA. Building an educational institution the Ford Foundation also offered to The idea of IRMA was not on fund a faculty development program. was a wholly new experience for anybody’s mental map until 1978. Everything fell into place surprisingly him. But he was soon forming his Much before that, however, a quickly. IRMA looked like the right own vision of what was required. His realisation had dawned that idea at the right time coming from the vision of IRMA was of an institution Operation Flood II would not be right man. The decision was taken that would produce young men and able to take off without a cadre of to start a one-year program in rural women who would think big, dream trained managers. Dr Kurien offered to fund a separate course at IIMA to train cooperative managers but Ravi Mathai persuaded him against the idea. This led to the setting up of a large HR division within NDDB entrusted with the responsibility of producing cooperative managers. Ravi Mathai had, by then, introduced Dr Kurien to Kamla Chowdhury, and both he and the latter convinced Dr Kurien about building an autonomous institute with a distinct culture and values of its own. Sreekant Sambrani, who had done a stint at IIMA’s Center for Management in Agriculture, was hired to head the cell. While several names for the new institution were doing the rounds Dr Kurien seldom aired his views about what rural management meant to him Sambrani helped freeze ‘Institute of management in 1980 using NDDB’s big and, in time, act big and make Rural Management, Anand’ (IRMA). hostels meant for farmers to house their alma mater proud. He wanted To dissociate it from the 1963 students. The newly constructed IRMA to reflect the significance of comedy Irma la Douce Sambrani diagnostic laboratory—which later India’s agricultural and rural economy wanted IRMA to be pronounced as did some path-breaking work on to the country’s development. He ARMA and kept correcting anyone
  • 10. 10 Network would only have the best. Later, students and society,” is what he interests. While making a difference after IRMA’s beautiful new campus would say. He was also suspicious between rural management and was ready, he would proudly say: “I of faculty members travelling abroad, public administration he was clear have built an invisible wall around especially to the West: “Why don’t that IRMA was not best suited to train IRMA. While they are here, I want we go to Bangladesh or Africa or administrators in the conventional IRMA students to be protected from China to learn and do research? Are sense of the term. Organising rural the filth and the pettiness all around the US and Europe sole repositories producers in viable organisations for and dream big for the country and of knowledge about development?” dairy, oilseeds, fruit and vegetables, themselves.” It was not easy to answer these salt, fishing, canal irrigation, health questions. He was also wary of and a range of other economic Dr. Kurien brought together a battery IRMA being overwhelmed by IIMA’s activities was, in his view, a large of some of the most experienced influence and wanted IRMA to chart and important playing field for IRMA. management thinkers and its own course. He would often He also saw the rural manager as a practitioners in the country to guide say, “Your best rural managers will man of action more than of analysis. the institute through its formative be odd-balls but your selection of Honing decision-making skills was years. These included Ravi Mathai, students based on the objective at the heart of rural management in Kamla Chowdhury, A M Khusro, written test will keep most such odd- his scheme of things. But he also Hanumantha Rao, GVK Rao and balls out of IRMA.” believed that in order to make sound several others who represented the best talent and wisdom available in It would be wrong to say that Dr decisions a rural manager must have different aspects of Indian economy. Kurien’s own management style was a good understanding of his milieu. He welcomed all of them to shape closer to Theory Y than to theory X. Dr Kurien’s ideas of management the philosophy of the new Institute. But he was an extraordinary example were based on a distinct model of But when it came to building the of an authoritarian manager who man. He abhorred treating farmers campus he appointed himself the seldom actually used authority. He and rural people as poor and helpless. Site Engineer-in-Chief. Once every inspired people like nobody else did. He never approved of treating them week he would drive around the During the 1950’s and 60’s in Amul with pity, even sympathy; instead, his campus and ask detailed questions he acquired and retained a world- constant refrain was that the farmer of the contractors and engineers. class management team that few should be respected for his innate Attention to detail was the hallmark multinational companies could boast wisdom. He believed in opening the of his management style. He never of. His managerial authority blended tired of telling us, “The Lord lies in with his personal power and charm door of opportunity for the farmer. the detail”. Few campuses in India potently to keep his colleagues and “The human machine is a wonderful remain as pretty and well-groomed co-workers in a permanently charged machine’, he used to say, ‘the more 30 years after construction as IRMA. state. The fact that he pursued a you load it, the harder it works.” This is undeniably one of Dr. Kurien’s larger-than-life goal over personal Dr Kurien always saw IRMA as lasting legacies. gain added to his magic. He took belonging to a class of its own, not pride in living in an air-conditioned to be compared with other business As IRMA came into its own and as house and moving around in an air- schools. And yet he expressed child- Dr. Kurien’s early advisors moved conditioned car paid by farmers. He like joy and pride when a survey on, there developed an interesting insisted that farmers were not bad of management institutes in India relationship between the latter and paymasters if their managers helped ranked IRMA amongst the top 10. IRMA’s faculty- which might be best them improve their lives. He thought it was a sign of IRMA described as one of creative tension, and managing this became a critical Dr Kurien seldom aired his views coming into its own. Had he been part of the Director’s responsibility. about what rural management alive today he would have been He abhorred the way he saw meant to him. The debate seemed overjoyed to see IRMA’s ranking ‘academic freedom’ being turned meaningless to him and he thought jump from 41 to 22 in a recent into licence in Indian academia and IRMA was wasting time splitting hair Business India survey. The real wanted IRMA to be spared that. on it. I strongly feel that IRMA’s aim tribute IRMA can pay to its founder “Academic freedom is the freedom should be understand the operating is to get counted amongst the top to think what you like and advance system of India’s rural economy; his five management institutes of the alternative theories, and not turn your own spin was that this understanding country, a feat that is wholly within back on your duty to your institution, should be used to further farmer’s the realm of possibility. By: Prof. Tushaar Shah, Former Director of IRMA, currently Senior Fellow: IWMI, E-mail-
  • 11. 11 Network Remembering the Legend Remembering Dr. V. Kurien - the Father of White Revolution A nostalgia-filled Tribute by one of IRMA’s Former Directors T he late Dr. Verghese Kurien, popularly known as the Milk Man of India, was born on November 26, managed includes the names like AMUL, Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF), He dreamt of an All India Rural Management Service along the lines of the Indian Administrative Service. 1921 at Kozhikode, Kerala. His father National Dairy Development Board, Part of his aspiration has been was a civil surgeon in Cochin and and IRMA. He was Founder Chairman fulfilled with several IRMA graduates his mother was a highly educated of IRMA until he relinquished his Syrian Christian lady. Dr. Kurien office in 2006. Of all the institutions Dr. Kurien built, nurtured passed away at the age of 90 in the that he founded, IRMA was closest to and managed dozens of early hours of September 9, 2012 at his heart. He founded IRMA with the a Nadiad hospital near Anand after institutions of excellence conviction that the rural managers a brief illness. He is survived by his produced by IRMA would help wife, a daughter, and a grandson. transform India’s rural sector into now heading many prestigious Although a native of Kerala by birth a vibrant, modern, and progressive organisations including AMUL, he chose Anand in Gujarat as his entity via professional management. GCMMF, and the agri-business karma bhumi, where he stayed and I remember him saying that ‘rural’ division of ITC. worked for over six decades. did not mean ‘backward’, nor did he Dr. Kurien’s contribution to rural Dr. Kurien was the architect of want rural managers produced by development, particularly to India’s modern dairy industry IRMA to live in thatched huts and cooperative dairy development, and has been rightly called the serve the rural poor while remaining has been recognised at both the Father of ‘White Revolution’. He poor themselves. He wanted IRMA national and international levels. He ingeniously designed, funded and graduates to be reasonably well garnered many prestigious awards implemented the Operation Flood paid à la their counterparts from the including the Ramon Magsaysay (OF) programme, which was the IIMs and other reputed management Award-1963, Wateler Peace Prize world’s largest dairy development schools and to serve the rural sector -1986, Krishi Ratna Puruskar -1986, programme. OF enabled India not with a missionary zeal. He would the World Food Prize-1989, Padma only to attain self sufficiency in milk often exhort the IRMA students Vibhushan -1999 and the Economic production but also to emerge as the saying that if one Kurien could make Times Life Time Achievement Award world’s largest milk producer. The such a difference to India’s dairy – 2001. Besides, he was also Amul model of dairy development sector, there was no reason why awarded honorary doctorate degrees underpinning the OF is, today, an thousands of IRMA graduates could by 11 reputed Indian and foreign internationally renowned strategy for not transform the entire rural sector, universities including his alma mater, promoting the economic and social alleviate the problems associated Michigan State University, USA. well being of small milk producers with rural poverty, and enable rural I had the pleasure and privilege including millions of landless producers to attain the economic of working closely with Dr. Kurien households, marginal and small and social status they deserved. for over 22 years till August 31, farmers. Amul brand dairy products He visualised IRMA graduates 2002 when I retired as Director, are known their quality. heading all governmental and non- IRMA. Dr. Kurien was an engineer The array of top-notch institutions governmental organisations engaged by training but a manager par that Dr. Kurien built, nurtured, and in rural development eventually. excellence by practice. He believed
  • 12. 12 Network that management was better taught approval to the proposal. Very soon and attending official functions by those who have managed thereafter, IRMA got a telegram from and meetings. organisations than by those with the Ministry stating that the IRMA Dr. Kurien was both feared and MBA degrees sans management proposal had been approved by respected by officers and staff in experience. While meeting with them. Dr. Kurien’s happiness knew the organisations that he founded IRMA’s faculty he would shoot the no bounds. and headed. His critics considered question, and I quote him, “how Dr. Kurien was my mentor from him ruthless and a dictator. Yet I many of you have managed any whom I learnt many invaluable guru was never afraid of him and had organisation?” Meeting with a mantras of management from time always an easy access to him. What negative response he would ask, to time. Some of those mantras are is more, I found him to be a great “How can you teach management?” recapitulated below: human being with a kind heart full of He was vocal in his criticism of social compassion and strong convictions. scientists, particularly economists • Attach the highest values to whom he would often deride. He was integrity and sincerity in your Dr. Kurien was a great patriot, a fond of saying that social scientists work and behaviour. visionary, and a real Bharat Ratna did not engage in any constructive • Give people more than what they in the literal sense. Farmers, development work but only wrote expect. particularly milk producers, will and criticised those who did good always remember him as their • Give adequate attention to even messiah. He had unflinching faith work for people’s benefit. the minute details of every job in producers’ cooperatives as the A great strategist he knew how assigned to you best instrument of promoting the to use politicians and bureaucrats • While writing a letter to an economic and social well being to help achieve his mission. I can important person prepare several of rural producers and pursued recall a plethora of instances when drafts, revise and improve them this philosophy single-mindedly he achieved his objectives using until you are fully satisfied. throughout his life. I don’t know of any this approach. I shall cite just one of living person who has contributed so them here. The proposal for setting • Before making a call to an much towards promoting the cause up IRMA had been pending with important person or official of agricultural and rural development the Ministry of Agriculture for over seeking his / her approval of an in India. May his high ideals and two years. The Expenditure Finance important proposal, rehearse it lofty principles guide and inspire the Committee (EFC) would raise trivial several times before you make young generation of rural managers queries which it would expect IRMA the call. to contribute their best in the service to answer. Since I was, at the time, • Be punctual and ensure of rural producers in India. IRMA’s Coordinator, Administration, punctuality from everyone else in Dr. Kurien would ask me to answer the organisation / department that the queries and put up drafts of letters you head. “The establishment of IRMA in to the EFC on his behalf. That done, 1979, with the objective of providing more queries would follow suit. As • Keep your eyes and ears open high quality management training, the cycle went on he got fed up and for knowing what is happening in research and consultancy support to came up with an ingenious solution. your organisation. cooperatives and rural development He invited the then prime Minister of • Remain accessible to even the organisations was yet another India, Mrs. Indira Gandhi as Chief lowest level employees in your creative and innovative venture Guest at IRMA’s first Convocation. organisation and act on their for which the nation would always Having known Dr. Kurien personally suggestions, if required, to both remain indebted to Dr. Kurien and Mrs. Gandhi accepted the invitation. reform the system and/ or redress his colleagues”. Word got around and the Ministry of their grievances. – Dr Manmohan Singh, Secretary, GOI Agriculture got into action, speeding 10th Annual Convocation Address, 1991 • Be courteous and follow up the process of granting its etiquettes when meeting visitors By: Dr. Katar Singh, Former Director of IRMA; currently Honorary (Founder) Chairman, India Natural Resources Economics and Management (INREM) Foundation, Anand -388 001 E-mail:
  • 13. 13 Network Remembering the Legend Dr. Kurien’s Better Half An informal tête-à-tête with Mrs. Kurien. T he staid grace of Molly Kurien appears to epitomise the oft- repeated cliché: “Behind every Waking up at the wee hours of the night had become endemic to the existence of the couple. “Every the twin rust-coloured setters she had raised since they were pups. Dr. Kurien, not overly fond of pets, successful man is a great woman.” now and then he would have to run too grew to love them. Dr. Kurien Mrs. Kurien’s greatness lies in her to Delhi with regard to work. The did not share her passion for quiet strength and fortitude. Her nearest airport being in Ahmedabad reading although he loved reading recent loss hasn’t daunted this we would have to rise at two thirty newspapers and watching TV news. indomitable woman who stood by so that he would be able to catch An ardent sports’ lover he enjoyed her legendary husband through the the early morning flight to Delhi.” a good of tennis. Chess was his vicissitudes of a life full of brilliance And so it went on for years. “One favourite among indoor sports. “Only and inspiration. The drawing room of the good things about Kurien was towards the end,” she reminisces of her house reflects the reticent that no matter how challenging the sadly, “he started withdrawing. He grandeur of its occupant. Her work at hand, he was able to switch didn’t want to play any game, not daughter Nirmala, she says, lives in off at will. He never carried his work even chess.” Chennai. She looks at us as if bracing worries into the house.” The secret Time is merciless, as they say, and for the inevitable question: what of longevity in a long-standing on September 9 it took away her part did she play in her husband’s relationship like marriage, perhaps? husband and a great soul from our revolutionary contributions? Did the originator of India’s White midst. It is a loss Mrs. Molly Kurien “It was all his doing, all the ideas, Revolution exhibit any of his by- has borne with characteristic fortitude everything,” she smiles, “I, of course, now famous traits of integrity and and grace. That day, at the Kurien’s supported him.” Did the Kuriens have punctuality at home? “He certainly tastefully appointed house we learnt a social life? “Here? In this town? did so,” she laughs. “If he set a time a little more of the man that was Do you know, when I first came to he would stick to it no matter what. Dr. Kurien. And we came away with Anand I wanted to run away!” she And he stood by the principle of deep admiration for his better half. articulates in a tone that doesn’t integrity right till the very end.” Yet betray a trace of her Keralite origin. the man, contrary to his image, was Communication was a barrier being far from formidable. Once a young unfamiliar with the language. “I still student wanted to meet with him and can’t speak Gujarati,” she sighs. “It simply hung outside, too overawed was a little difficult to have a social to enter. Dr. Kurien, on learning of life really given the hectic schedule this, invited her in. Later the student of my husband,” she admits. “By couldn’t help lauding aloud the the time he would return from work humility and friendliness of the man. it would be seven thirty (if he didn’t With her husband constantly under have a meeting, that is). Dinner the spotlight his better half devoted would soon follow and he would be herself fully to the running of the in bed by nine.” house, which she did with full In the early years, when Dr. Kurien capability at her command. During was building Amul and other his frequent absences she turned institutions, he would wake up at towards her favourite passion: two thirty in the morning, deliberate books. “I love mystery thrillers,” on what was to be done and then she enthuses, her favourite author go back to sleep to wake up later being John Grisham among other at six am. This was the routine for mystery novelists. “And I love dogs!” several years. she beams recalling with affection Mrs. Molly Kurien Indrani Talukdar, Editor, IRMA, E-mail: Mrs. Kurien was interviewed by the Network team in October 2012, prior to her sad demise
  • 14. 14 Network Up Close and Personal Being personal assistant to a legend is never easy, yet it is also an experience to be valued. T his happened one winter. November 1998, to be precise. Dr. Verghese Kurien, who had just from our boss while I would take care of all routine matters of office correspondence and coordinate Dr. Kurien’s punctuality fixation is well known. He would make a point of being present – meetings included stepped down from the Chairmanship his travel plans. Joseph, obviously, – prior to the time fixed. Those of NDDB shifted his office to IRMA. had more interactions with him were the days when, during guest I was told by the Administration than I did. Then Joseph went on programmes arranged by the NDDB, Coordinator that I would henceforth leave and I was required to interact guests would also come thronging to be working in Dr. Kurien’s with him on a one on one basis. I IRMA, AMUL, and other places. Any Secretariat. I received the news would enter Dr. Kurien’s office with delay in a guest programme or a with mixed feelings having heard trepidation telling myself, “a mouse meeting would have the programme umpteen stories about my legendary entering the lion’s den” and hear my coordinator come running to Dr. new boss who had the reputation heart thudding. In time I realised the Kurien informing him about it. for being a hard task master. I had deep humility of the man. It dawned Once, during the height of summer, long known about his strict views on on me that me that Dr. Kurien’s personality was coconut-like: hard someone from a group of visitors discipline and punctuality and was on the outside and soft inside. All questioned Dr. Kurien about the already trembling thinking of my new that he asked for was that the job on green lushness of the lawns at the assignment. hand be attended to with immediate Institute. Dr. Kurien, then IRMA On the first day I entered the office effect. He also liked to have honest Chairman, looked at the group and I was greeted by P.A. Joseph, Dr. answers sans trappings. If you did solemnly declared, “we don’t water Kurien’s Executive Assistant who laid not know something required of you, the lawns.’ As he paused for a second my considerable fears aside. Joseph it was best to admit it instead of before throwing up both hands in his would be taking work instructions humming and hawing. characteristic style everybody looked The Government of India showered him with awards; the highest Indian award, “Bharat Ratna”, kept eluding him.
  • 15. 15 Network Remembering the Legend on expectantly. “We pour milk, our from the members’ list on the draft Padma Shree, Padma Bhushan heart!” The group burst out laughing. agenda before sending it off to the and Padma Vibhushan. The highest Like his punctuality, his Chairman who immediately crossed Indian award, “Bharat Ratna”, kept meticulousness had become a out his name. When I mentioned this eluding him, however. byword in IRMA. I recall an incident to Prof. Tushaar Shah, who was then Director of the Institute, he laughed It is said that behind every successful from when I was working at the and said, “That is why Dr. Kurien man there is a woman. Inestimable Director’s office. Draft agenda items is our Chairman!” The smallest of credit goes to Mrs. Molly Kurien prior to Board meetings would be sent to Dr. Kurien who was then mistakes did not escape his sharp who stood behind her husband like Chairman. A board member from eyes. There would be no pending a solid rock. Dr. Kurien used to say: the Rural Development Ministry correspondence in Dr. Kurien’s “Integrity, Integrity and Integrity.” of the Central Government had office. All decisions would be taken That’s the stuff legends are made of. just been transferred to another immediately and all incoming letters We are all fortunate for having had government department. He had, answered with immediate effect. Dr. Kurien as our Founder Chairman as a consequence, ceased to be The Government of India showered whose vision, mission and guidance a member of the IRMA Board. I him with awards including the made what IRMA is today. had forgotten to remove his name By: P S Mohan, EA to Chairman, IRMA; Email- Contd... from p. 8 IRMA endeavours to prepare you to actualise all your human potentialities - to grow yourself but also contribute to the development of others, particularly the rural sector which has remained largely neglected and without whose development India cannot develop much. Rural India remains mired with several serious problems like poverty, illiteracy, unemployment, inequalities, discriminations and environmental degradations – all these being gigantic in magnitude. Moreover, these problems are getting further aggravated in recent years due to the negative impact of the forces of globalisation, particularly on the weaker sections of society who live in large number in rural areas, though the upper and urban middle classes have benefited from the recent changes. The challenges before the country today are manifold and very critical. IRMA is focused to contribute to resolve the challenges confronting rural India. But resolving these challenges would require not only expertise and knowledge, but more importantly conviction, commitment and sincerity. Having graduated from here and while working for the rural sector, where I wish to see you, I am sure, you will have enough to meet your material needs. Moreover, rural India would provide you ample space to be innovative and creative in your activities. You will be able to fully utilise your head - expertise and skills learnt here and elsewhere - and also heart to promote the cause of the weak and the marginalized. Very difficult challenges may come your way while doing your work in and for the rural sector. But when both head and heart are together, you will be able to withstand all adversities and emerge victorious. That has been my experience working for over 50 years for the rural sector. The rewards of even your every small success would be immense - not mere material but also social and psychological. You will certainly be able, like many IRMANs who are working in and for the rural sector despite all adversities, to bring a smile on the face of the common people, particularly the weak and the marginalised. In lieu of that, the love and respect the people would shower over you, will bring the kind of happiness in your life which even a huge pile of money can never ever buy. I hope, you all will take the institute to further heights through your studies and subsequent contributions to rural India. Your happiness will always make me ever happier in life. I am now old, but only in age. My commitment to the cause of rural India remains unshaken. In fact, in view of the hunger for power and money increasing all around these days, my resolve has got further affirmed. Like you, like other IRMANs, you are the ambassadors to carry forward the mission of the Institute. I am confident you will never falter in marching ahead and bring a smile to the lowliest in the land. I take this opportunity once again to welcome you all to IRMA. I wish you all the best.
  • 16. 16 Network Amul Dairy Museum: The Milky Way to Success A groundbreaking museum in the heart of the city showcasing Dr. Kurien’s magnificent successes in the dairy industry is definitely worth a visit. T he Amul Dairy Cooperative Museum is a major landmark of The piece de resistance is the garage where Dr Kurien spent his the house has an inspiring display of the many, many awards won by Anand city. If one desires to obtain a early days in Anand as a reluctant Dr. Kurien for his yeoman service sound understanding of the evolution apprentice. This garage, which was to the cause of rural livelihoods and of the dairy cooperative industry in located near Anand railway station, poverty alleviation in Gujarat. The Gujarat spearheaded by Dr Kurien, was literally rebuilt, brick by brick, Ramon Magsaysay and Padmashri which has uplifted multitudes of on the Amul Dairy premises. It is farmers, this is the place to visit. awards deserve special mention. indeed fascinating, yet frightening, It is located on the Amul Dairy to think that the legend spent his Dr Kurien’s penchant for perfection premises. Visitors are greeted by a initial days in such circumstances. can be gauged from the lush green, lovely fountain and a building made It is perhaps symbolic of the rapid prim and proper lawns surrounding of red stones. The pathway to the strides made by dairy cooperatives his house. gallery is adorned with a number of in Gujarat under the able leadership photographs depicting the gradual One leaves the museum in quite a of Dr. Kurien, Tribhovandas Patel, evolution of the dairy cooperative and other stalwarts. Adjacent to the bit of awe, as also with a healthy industry in Gujarat. Indeed, each garage is the house where Dr. Kurien dose of inspiration regarding the photograph contains a unique story subsequently lived, a grand structure infinite potential of the human mind, within it. Also there are photos in white. The entire ground floor of body and soul. showcasing some historic letters, a key one being that sent by Sardar Patel to Amul Dairy bemoaning the monopoly of Polson Dairy and the need to address this issue at the earliest. The Public Relations officer, Mr. Sundar, further livens it up with lots of interesting historical anecdotes. In fact, he has done immensely well by translating Sardar Patel’s letter in English. The Dairy Museum also has an Auditorium equipped with 100 seats, where movies on the history and evolution of the milk movement of India are projected. Mr. Sundar recounted Dr. Kurien’s innumerable memorable interactions with young The piece de resistance is the garage where Dr Kurien spent his students here. early days in Anand as a reluctant apprentice. By: Prof. Anand Venkatesh, Associate Professor, IRMA, Email-
  • 17. 17 Network Remembering the Legend Down Memory Lane A formidable figure who was as cutting in his speech as he was witty, Dr. Kurien was also the milk of human kindness and the epitome of fairness. T his happened in October 1979. One afternoon Dr. Kurien called all the people who had joined IRMA presentation at the Academic of Marketing Science Conference, USA in 1987. I contacted the then Director at the conference do you think I would have had the courage to come and meet you?” I told him the but working out of NDDB (there being PS Appu for travel support but was truth about how I had got the tickets no IRMA campus). These included rejected. An old friend (Venu) in and paid for them. That’s when he Tushaar Shah, VC Sood, Arvind Ahmedabad, who was running a changed his tone and tenor and Swaminathan, Prof. S Sambrani, travel agency, happened to mention said gently, “You know, these days, and Soman Nair. Soman Nair, who that he could get me a ticket from so many foreign agencies hook good had just got the Institute registered was to hand over the certificate to VC Sood. In my youthful innocence “There is an imaginary wall of excellence I am building I asked a question “Sir, how do you around this institution. Keep it up even after my death.” feel, seeing IRMA getting registered?” Dr. Kurien shot back “I am not going India to the academicians through funding and, if to study at IRMA, nor will I teach at anybody from IRMA gets into such a Conference venue and back at 50 IRMA. Therefore, you guys have to trap, bad name will ultimately come percent the market rate (around take it to better heights every year.” to the Institute. That is why I wanted Rs.7000 at the time). I borrowed He further said, “Please remember an explanation.” He concluded with: money from several sources and that there is an imaginary wall of “In any case, do give a reply to my decided to go (my first sojourn excellence I am building around this memo immediately.” I sent the reply outside India) to present my paper. institution. Keep it up even after my within one hour. Some of my well- I informed the Director’s office death.” There was subdued laughter. meaning colleagues looked happy about going to the US for a paper and the others sad. Another incident comes to mind. This presentation one day prior to my was in the early 80’s, when we had departure. On my return there was That was Dr. Kurien- a Lion who a minor conflict regarding who would a one-page letter from Dr. Kurien could roar and be as gentle as a hoist the flag on Independence (who was officiating as Director at lamb at the same time. Day and Republic Day at IRMA. A the time) asking why action should proposal went to Dr. Kurien’s office not be taken against me for going “It would call for deep commitment requesting him to hoist the flag on abroad. This letter was lying on my and a willingness to stake all, if one both days as he was the Chairman table. Some of my colleagues couldn’t is to succeed. The struggle would of IRMA. Dr. Kurien redounded with: help making sarcastic comments be daunting, but when the day is “What is the name of that fellow or indulging in sadistic laughter on seeing my woeful condition. (The won, I am sure you would find that who is the senior most employee it was well worth it. You are setting of IRMA?” When my name was letter also mentioned that I should reply within 24 hours of receiving it). out from under the guardianship of mentioned he said: “Let that fellow I did not reply to the letter instantly one of the finest victors of such a hoist the flag on Independence instead, I sought an appointment struggle, and I am sure you will find Day and Republic Day.” I had the privilege of hoisting the flag at IRMA with Dr. Kurien. Walking into his Dr. Kurien’s example a great source on both these important days till I room the following day I realised of inspiration when the going is left in 1991. he did not know that I had applied tough.” for travel support from the Institute Another Incident and been rejected. I told him, “Sir, – Shri Pranab Mukherjee (Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission) My paper on “India’s Rural had I taken money from some 11th Annual Convocation Address, 1992 Consumers” was accepted for foreign sources and participated By: Dr. V. Mukunda Das, former faculty of IRMA; currently the Director of Chandragupt Institute of Management Patna, an institution built on the lines of IIMs by the Government of Bihar. E-mail:
  • 18. 18 Network Decoding the King A rather sassy observation of the Colossus that was Dr. Kurien, with tongue firmly in cheek! I t was a Sunday morning. As the flight doors were closing with the plane about to head out of Ahmedabad I how posterity should remember him- evidence being available in the immortalisation of the garage Matthai had a sense of equity and trust imprinted on his management style. That put a greater responsibility got an SMS stating that Dr.Kurien he lived in along with the museum on individuals to deliver because it was no more. This was wholly atAmul. was a loss of honour not to do so. unanticipated as I had been in IRMA For somebody like me whose career The Kurien style was suspicion and the previous day attending a board has been shaped by the early hierarchy. The loyalty for the purpose meeting.An accidental meeting with gleanings at IRMA, Kurien was that we were to serve had to be worn Sodhi of GCMMF had given rise to certainly an inspiration. However, on the sleeve and reiterated often. an exchange of pleasantries, nothing it was always a challenge to see more. So the nation was bidding The trigger for setting up IRMA came how this inspiration could be goodbye to the grand old milkman from the realisationthat talents from internalised. Each leader comes as who had a fulfilling 90th birthday institutions like IIMA wereserving a package replete with positives and just about recently. The country said negatives. I have to say, though, corporate bodies without a “soul”; goodbye, even before they could that unless one has the complete IRMA was supposed to be an confer on him with a Bharat Ratna qualities of a personality like Kurien institution with a difference. Kurien, something that could have made the it is impossible to pull off his style. we are told, sought the inputs of nation proud. But then, we can take During our student days at fieldwork Matthai on how to get the place solace in small mercies in this slip in and during our internships I found going. Matthai was also on the the fact that even Gandhi missed the many a manager at NDDB and board of IRMA as long as he was Nobel peace prize. associated institutions behave with alive. However the first significant I learnt that Kurien was not buried the arrogance that mimicked the difference we saw in IRMA was customary to religion but cremated grand old man without the backing the way hierarchy was embedded at the Anand electric crematorium as of talent and ability. We saw many in the organisation, with several per his wishes. That was KingKurien of these celebrated managers fall by operational matters being escalated for us, having his way in life and in the wayside as they tried to emulate all the way up to the Chairman. The death. The reason for the cremation his style sans substance. IIMA Chairman was at best seen five was cited as his wish to be sent to the Kurien embodied fearlessness, to six times on the campus, largely other world in a modalitycompatible tenacity of purpose, perseverance, when there was a board meeting. with the local culture and which also integrity, and ethics.Did he embody IRMA was an institution that had respected the farmers that he had fairness? I am not sure. Deep down passion, a holier than thou body served all his life. I was somewhat he was very practical.Having seen astounded, to tell the truth, as language; it gave moral authority so much corruption and inefficiency he had never adapted himself to but was an institution of permissions he was possibly suspicious, which the local culture: living life on his and paper. The hierarchy was made him a control freak. Having terms, claiming that he never liked served at two institutions – one that unambiguous in the allotment of milk and never drank it, wearing had a quintessential Kurien mark all quarters, travel eligibility, and the non-vegetarianism on his sleeve over it (IRMA)and the other that had sense of autonomy. The conceptof and refusing to speak Gujarati. Far the personality of his cousin Ravi right and wrong was not always left stronger was the possibility that he Matthai stamped all over (IIMA) – to the conscience of the individual did not want a memorial built at an one could spot the fundamental but had to be checked with a higher inappropriate place amidst a crowd of difference in the approach of these up, that could go all the way up to tombstoneshaving already ensured two institutional builders. the Chair.
  • 19. 19 Network Remembering the Legend So, in celebrating the greatness of c) Perseverance: It is easy to have “using” our land for grand purposes the hero, his flamboyance, and his both integrity and fearlessness I chuckle at how Kurien turned the success what are the personality and still quit. Yet unless we put tables around a possible international traits we should look for from him? both these attributeson the job conspiracy. The conspiracy theorists with consistency nothing can would have insisted that by dumping a) Integrity: The basic element to be achieved. Butter Oil and Milk Powder on to carry any agenda forward. A the hapless citizens of a backward compromise was a compromise d) Being unreasonable: Kurien country the Europeans were killing and that was the first sign was the one – and possibly the our market, competitiveness, and of rot. Be it in the admission only one – who taught us that abilities. Kurien used these very process, or in spotting merit, or being unreasonable was “cool”. tools to launch Operation Flood to not succumbing to pressure at Whether it was the audacity of make India self-sufficient in milk the cost of losing; integrity is telling Prime Minister Shastri and even export dairy products what was going to hold us in that the headquarters of the proving thereby that it is not always good stead; Dairy Board should be in necessary to go through the victim Anand, that he would take a b) Fearlessness: Integrity is syndrome of being “used”. One salary only from farmers and an essential condition for can pretend to be vulnerable to be pulling off a possible conflict fearlessness but not sufficient. used while using the user! So was of interest between his position Recognising that if we do not commodity aid a EU conspiracy to of Chairman of NDDB and speak up, no one else would weaken Indian markets? Or was it Chairman of GCMMF, he could on our behalf. Fearlessness an Indian conspiracy to cock a snook do it with style. could not be delegated. And at EU? ChachaKurien(well, the next speaking up is an essential Today, as we find ourselves in the gen called him Daddu) would be feature of pushing any good thick of a raging debate on FDI having a chuckle up there with his agenda forward. and conspiracies of foreign hands mischievous and twinkling eyes. Unless one has the complete qualities of a personality like Kurien it is impossible to pull off his style. By : M S Sriram (PRM 3), Former faculty of IRMA, Board Member of IRMA, Email-
  • 20. 20 Network The Spirit of Cooperation “I chose to remain in Anand, as an employee of farmers, all my life. It was the wisest decision I have ever taken.” (I Too Had a Dream) D r. Verghese Kurien is no more. In the early morning of 8th September, Cooperation, coinciding as it does with Dr. Kurien’s death. It also appears to be the end of in case there is a perceived ‘failure’ of cooperatives”. He cautioned the common people 2012, he died at the age of an era. Even as the capitalist and protagonists of the ‘new 91 at Anand, Gujarat, his world continues to nurture and generation of cooperatives’ to adopted home of more than derive benefits from numerous be aware of ‘vested interests’. six decades, far away from cooperative institutions we His strong faith in common his place of birth in Kerala, have systematically killed the people led him to conclude: after a long and eventful latter in our country, at both “If we are serious, journey towards a ‘dream’ that operational and conceptual levels. In India, we have lost and we cannot be remained unfinished. A proud Indian, he pursued the dream confidence in the cooperative otherwise, planning, that our founding fathers and form of institutions for resource allocation mothers saw at the dawn of production, processing, and implementation of the country’s independence: marketing and service programs have to be to build a just society. His delivery. The consequences done by the people, cooperative dairy movement of centralisation: consolidation however incompetent was aimed at making India in the hands of a few entities they might be. From the the largest milk producer in – often by privatisation of experience of my life, I the world. He was driven, well-functioning public sector have seen that villagers through the institutions he units – and mass production, can manage their affairs, created, to build sustainable not production by masses, if they are allowed to competitive advantage of the are all visible in the form do so. Vested interests dairy industry. Without him it of increasing economic and would have been impossible social disparities. Dr. Kurien want to make them weak to argue that technology- was convinced “where and our policymakers led, market oriented, illiterate cooperation fails, there fails and people need to be and poor farmer-owned large the only hope of rural India”. aware of it.” scale businesses regarding He was also concerned that Lamenting the cause of perishable commodities “as far as multinationals are farmers, workers and those at was practically possible. He concerned, money always the bottom of our economic succeeded in bringing socio- was and always will be their pyramid, he believed that economic justice to those who only God”. “when the tools of development formed part of cooperative are placed in the hands of Kurien’s belief in the wisdom dairies. His dream to achieve our people and when their of ‘illiterate’ villagers and faith similar benefits in other energy and wisdom is linked in cooperatives was legendary. sectors remained unfulfilled, with the skill of committed He believed “working for the however. professionals, there is nothing cooperatives was an act of There is a poignant twist faith”. His conviction regarding they cannot achieve”. His to the fact of this being such faith led him to advise “to view was to weed out those the International Year of practice greater cooperation, institutions that do not serve
  • 21. 21 Network Remembering the Legend His cooperative dairy movement was aimed at making India the largest milk producer in the world. He was driven, through the institutions he created, to build sustainable competitive advantage of the dairy industry.
  • 22. 22 Network the purpose of uplifting the Frost’s path “less travelled by” How many of the present day marginalised and to create and make a difference in the political leaders live up to this new institutions that could lives of the underprivileged yardstick? Although we know serve them better. He did while making a difference in how difficult it is to get ethical not hesitate to question the their own lives. managers like Dr. Verghese relevance of civil service and While thinking of and working Kurien in today’s environment, judiciary in its present form. for the poor, Dr. Kurien never While making policy makers may institutions and authorities imagined them to live in a responsible for the wide please take note of the fact weak resource base. When socio-economic disparity in that working for and with the he was criticised for building our country, he said a five star facility for teaching underprivileged is a ‘marathon’ and training management not a ‘sprint’? “Because policy making is in our hands – in students at IRMA to work Dr. Kurien remained hopeful for ‘poor’ people, his the hands of the elite that India would stand among characteristic rejoinder would – and naturally, even the world’s most powerful be ‘to get educated in a place unconsciously perhaps; nations. But his doubt was, where dreaming and thinking when we make policies of reconstructing our villages “whether after attaining that that suit us, we usurp the will not be constrained by the power can we set an example resources of this land inadequacies of the physical of how it can be used to build somewhat shamelessly environment’. a better world, a world of to benefit ourselves. He would attribute the success justice and equity- justice and The most charitable of any long-term development equity not for a few but for interpretation of it is that intervention as the combination all?” we do it unconsciously.” of ethical political leadership, a close working relationship The Milkman of India and He left his imprint of secularism between political leaders, the Father of the White in all the institutions he technologists and professional Revolution, Dr. Verghese developed, never allowing the symbolic celebration of managers, integrity of top Kurien, will remain alive in religious functions officially. leadership, and long-term our minds as long as we A self-proclaimed atheist continuance and presence of have socio-economic injustice he believed in the socio- the leadership at the place of in our society along with intervention. Referring to his economic empowerment of pride in being Indians. Dr. contribution to the success the underprivileged section as Kurien embodied the spirit of AMUL and to that of Sri the greatest religion. of cooperation in India. The Tribhuvandas Patel’s, the He believed that “a person legendary political leader of last two lines of his book, “I who does not have respect Gujarat who organised the Too Had a Dream”, will be for time, and does not have a farmers under the cooperative a reminder for all of us, of sense of timing, can achieve fold, he proclaimed with the person he was and the little”. Maintaining cleanliness, characteristic insight and direction of development that discipline, and adhering to greatness, “There is no he pointed to us. “The journey processes and systems in difficulty in getting Kuriens but institutions were all sacrosanct it is rare to get Tribhuvandas I began in Anand in 1949 still to him. In many convocation Patels”. It undersored his continues. I believe it will addresses he would urge understanding of the role continue until we succeed.... students to follow Robert political leaders should play. Until India’s farmers succeed.” By: Prof. Haribandhu Panda, Former faculty (IRMA): currently Director, HDF School of Management, Bhubaneswar, Email-
  • 23. 23 Network Remembering the Legend Carillon Chimes: A looming presence The bells ringing out from the summit of the carillon tower at IRMA send out waves of hope, joy, and inspiration. T he cotton grey tower ringing out AMUL Carillon Chimes stands tall at IRMA reminding us of Dr. Kurien’s The perfect coordination of the 18 clappers to create perfect music has come to represent the harmonious along with the Dutch nobleman and musician Jacob van Eyck cast the carillon into a full-fledged musical towering vision and personality. The coordination between various instrument, which they fine-tuned to only tower of its kind in the country systems and sub-systems giving way perfection. (just like IRMA, the only institute of to perfect deliverance. Dr. Kurien firmly believed in the existence of The Amul Carillon Chimes span a its kind in India), it is more than a bells at two places- religious and series of 18 bells of various sizes monument, embodying excellence, achievement, and much more. educational. The Carillon Chimes manufactured at a Netherlands- When it was installed coinciding have anointed the landscaped beauty based company which happens to be with the Institute’s 23rd anniversary of IRMA’s campus in that sense. two centuries’ old. Fashioned out of a (December 14, 2002), the press special alloy these bells are attached The history of the carillon goes back release read, “...the sound of bells all the way to the 16th century, 1510 to compressed hammers and linked ringing from the height of carillon to be precise. This was in a townhall to a computer. The musical scores tower project hope, joy, inspiration, in Belgium where music was played out by these bells can be motivation and peace to communities performed on its bells using a baton. heard at distances over a kilometre. world-wide...” To many IRMAns the Bell towers were used to sound the They serve as a reminder of hope, tower’s soaring height is a reminder hour. The carillon’s founders were aspiration, and integrity… also the of the high level of achievement their the celebrated Hemony brothers, fact that it was Dr. Kurien’s parting institute has come to symbolise. Francois and Pierre of France. They, gift to this great institution. Carillon Chimes By: Indrani Talukdar, Editor, IRMA: Email-
  • 24. 24 Network The Inimitable Dr. K A first batch IRMAn fondly recalls the management maestro and his idiosyncrasies T he most significant events in my life have been by serendipity. Three events stand tall amongst a group discussion and an interview, I landed a seat in IRMA! The next six years and the subsequent 26 my mates taunt me even now about it- on Rural Management education and still managing to scrape through many. The first is being born to my years have been influenced in many without backlog! My wife and I must parents, my first watershed. Their culture, political leanings, value “The management education one received at IRMA system, mutual respect, optimism, was excellent. The mix of reality with theory and self-confidence, and self-respect, application was a mesmersing concoction. among many other values, have left lasting imprints on my mind. The second watershed of my life was my ways by the Maestro of Management express our sincere gratitude to education at GB Pant University at and Accomplishment-Dr. Kurien. The the silent consent of Dr. K to allow Pantnagar. A sheer quirk of fate sent Larger impact of his work is well an aberration (all others were day me there. The third, and perhaps known. I need this space to pen scholars then) and most significantly, very significant watershed, has my down some of my personal thoughts, dearest Sam (Prof. Sambrani) to exposure to IRMA and associated feelings, experiences and learning, take up my case after a particularly institutions. The enormity of virtues to synthesise in my own mind the emotional encounter (complete with influence one man has in my life. my gesticulations and a pencil flying of the institutional scaffolding that off my hand) with him in his room got created under the leadership of To begin with, the management and acquiring permission to rent a Dr. Kurien is something that I came education that I received at IRMA house to stay with my wife. It was a to appreciate more and more as I was excellent. The mix of reality great example of tolerance. I remain grew older. with theory and application was a indebted, Dr. Sam and IRMA. mesmerising concoction that impacted I did not reach IRMA by any plan or most of us in the first batch. We Trust, I believe was an important design. Neither had I heard much lived life at IRMA with abandon, and element among the virtues of Kurien. about Dr. Kurien or his work when probably a disdain for orderly life. It We soon learnt that he was the one I got a letter from my brother in was slowly discovered that the IRMA to be trusted too. IRMA decided to Delhi in early 1980 advising me to shift from a one-year programme ‘participants’ were close to the heart apply to IRMA. For me IRMA held to a two-year one. What is more: of Dr. K and that our raucous follies many virtues. Having married on the faculty consulted us! We were inside NDDB campus were painfully my own will and volition, a one- offered the choice of leaving with suffered grudgingly without dissent year management programme with a one year diploma or staying back or digestion by the disciplined lot in a 600-rupee monthly stipend and with Rs 1200 per month as stipend the campus. Kurien had chosen the an assured job with a1,200-rupee for the second year. The fair play faculty well. The learning was fairly monthly salary thereafter suited me and the fairness of the offer was painless, the faculty was friendly much more than a two-year M.Sc. something that left an indelible yet demanding, and there was a in Agriculture with a 300-rupee per sense of collaboration all round. All mark. A word given had to be kept, month ICAR Junior Fellowship and of us felt included. I am, in a way, whatever the cost. no job assurance at the end, which a testimony to their individual and The NDDB campus, built much was my other option. So, after collective accomplishment – imagine before we had reached the Farmers’ crossing the hurdles of a written test a fellow on his honeymoon – some of Hostel was a marveland, a testimony of the objective/multi choice variety,
  • 25. 25 Network Remembering the Legend to the brilliance of the mind behind it. reason for his expulsion. He had probably his way of opposing some All the houses had cable network to misrepresented facts and breached diktat that forced him to buy those which a TV could be plugged; it also trust. What it amounted to was lack cars. At IRMA, once, the entire batch had telephone conduits. The BOHO of integrity. He looked at the girls and was transported to Ahmedabad club ran afternoon movies through said, “Pardon me ladies, but integrity to attend a meeting of the Indian the cable network and those at home is like virginity; it is either there, or Dairy Association. He came a little could relax when their spouses and it isn’t”. While I was studying at late to the conference and said, parents were away at work; there IRMA my father who used to be a “My apologies for being late; I was was also a place for car wash, a journalist and the President of the on time, my mistake was I did not petrol bunk. Anandalaya was started Ernakulam Press Club met ‘K’ on factor in Indian Airlines.” He went on subsequently so that the wards of one of his visits to Kerala. He told K to demolish many criticisms during those who worked at Anand could get that his son was studying at IRMA. his hour-long, wonderful oration. I quality schooling. The NDDB building Dr. K is said to have told my father, recall his saying that the Peugeot had a maintenance free exterior with “You must be proud to breed one was a better car than Ambassador moss proof finish. The water would like him”. and that if it came cheaper as a gift jump over and not flow! One had to from a donor, “it makes it even more As is often said, IRMans were his marvel at the foresight. Today, as I comfortable.” This was his response Princes. Going by the virtues of the walk into IRMA, the sprawling lawns, to his critics who denounced him for gentleman, it is a sobriquet I was, the space available for expansion, travelling in luxury cars. His speech am, and will be proud of forever. the AMUL carillon chimes rendering met with loud applause on several One day, a GCMMF milk refer- a unique charismatic character to occasions from us IRMans, who filled tanker got involved in an accident the splendid campus among other half the hall. In retrospect, I suspect and it was found that the road tax things, I can’t help revering the man that was perhaps the purpose of had not been paid. In those days whose normal sight was foresight. taking us there! Once, while at tax had to be paid in cash and I now wish to touch on some GCMMF, I saw a two-page note in the officer responsible had taken anecdotal experiences pertinent English that had come back from the money and decided to “roll” it to my six years in the institutional him with a cryptic remark, “Please for a while. He was promptly fired. framework that Dr. K had created. write in English”! Everybody knew, however, that the After having graduated from IRMA guy was smart, efficient, a go-getter, After I had left GCMMF in 1986 I joined GCMMF. A few months into and helpful: he had a two-wheeler and joined NABARD I wrote to the job and we heard one ‘IRMan’ of with a boat-like attachment in which him requesting his help regarding the junior batch had been thrown out he would offer his lady colleagues starting a spastic society. He wrote of the course for some reason or the a lift to the office and back. So, he back personally expressing NDDB’s other. Apparently he had got ‘one’ had friends. The friends went to Dr. inability to help, explaining why, and mark less than the minimum eligibility K and pleaded leniency citing the wishing me luck. I had not expected mark in his qualifying degree. We guy’s virtues of being smart and a personally signed letter from him. ‘IRMans’, in and around Anand, got brilliant. Dr. K dismissed them with a It was his regard for IRMans that he together and protested the injustice one liner: “All crooks are smart; else had signed it himself. I have kept to a fellow musketeer. A few days they could not be crooks”. that letter as a treasure with me. later Chairman “K” summoned us. During my GCMMF tenure I had I remember having seen a letter he Amidst much curiosity expressed heard about an incident in which wrote to the chairman of Hindustan by the non-IRMANs around us, K overheard inside the lift of the Motors in 1983 or 84. He had six or seven first batchers, a few GCMMF office in Mumbai (where he written: “I had an occasion to travel boys and a couple of girls landed had a guesthouse) two wholesale in one of the Contessa cars you in his chamber. Dr. K painstakingly dealers conversing about the unfair make. It rattles a lot. Please send explained to us that the boy being supply of AMUL stocks in Mumbai. me three white well-fitted Contessa short by one mark was not the Saying nothing to the gentlemen Dr. Cars.” The scathing message was
  • 26. 26 Network K quietly set an enquiry in place. and his ability to think of the bigger theories, application, and practices It was soon discovered that the picture continue to influence me. and became a multi-specialist in stocks were first supplied to a few In fact, Dr. K helps me to remain all management faculties. The dealers who would send them to the grounded, rooted to a cause. The delivery of that education had to Crawford market, a re-distribution relevance of the institutions he built have significant relevance to the hub, and these stocks would reach continues to amaze and excite me; rural context and realities. This other areas before the dealers in particularly when I see that the was necessary as those ending up those areas could get them. I had bulk of India’s producers, be it in in rural institutions would not have also heard that K would send for the agriculture, non-farm or the services’ the luxury of specialists in each reject list of candidates and demand sector, cannot prosper unless management faculty supporting them. an explanation on why they were their outputs are aggregated and Dr. K also saw rural management rejected in any promotion exercise institutions built for their marketing. as a means of bringing modern in NDDB rather than asking who I look at the amazing institutional education to the benefit of the poor got selected. These are hearsay. scaffolding he was instrumental in and disadvantaged sections. His But there are several lessons I building to make such aggregation work resulted in massive poverty learnt from these anecdotes. Dr. and impact possible in the dairy reduction, yet he did not target K’s personality is never complete sector. Such arrangements are poverty; he improved livelihoods in without the exhibition of tinges of woefully inadequate or absent in any a sustainable way that has lasted arrogance. Once he visited the other commodity or sector. I realise many decades. In that sense, and computer center and the person in every day that Dr. K is relevant considering the continuing relevance charge offered him a sofa. He was, today and will remain relevant so of rural institutions in India, rural it is said, flabbergasted at the retort, long as there are small producers management must be treated as a “I own this place”! To my mind, the in this world. Finally a word about public good and there must be policy arrogance and the firmness of his rural management. Irrespective of focus and space about it. approach, among many other virtues claimants and claims that others may My last meeting with Dr. Kurien was insulated the framework he had built have, I firmly believe that K is the in February 2012. I had visited him from several incursions that would father of modern rural management with a bouquet of 101 roses- 101 have spoiled its success. education. As a first batcher, I being a number associated with understood rural management As I lead and manage my present divinity and God. May I end this, Dr. education as one where you organisation, his spirit, his values, his K, with a tear in my eye and resolve learned the best of management perspective, analysing, his foresight, in my heart! By: C P Mohan (PRM01), Managing Director, NABARD Financial Services, Bangalore, Email-
  • 27. 27 Network Remembering the Legend Koffee with Kurien A brilliant, verbatim account of a conversation with the Dairy King I n 2003, I was working with an institution called the Centre for Development Studies and Activities Prof M J Arul, to whom I was close. Prof. Arul (who taught IGB at IRMA) asked me what my problem was. I admission to IRMA, the beautiful girls and the handsome young men who were my batch-mates and (CDSA), located in Pune. Affiliated told him of my sense of unease. He seniors…….. to the University of Pune, CDSA asked me what my thoughts/views I opted to stay at the hostel, to offers a Master’s Programme of Dr K. were. I told him I was an connect with my past. The ETDC in Development Planning and admirer, a fan. Prof. Arul told me was not for me. The appointment Administration. I was teaching that in that case there was nothing was scheduled for the next day at courses on Research Methodology, to worry about. He asked me to go 4 pm. Statistics and also a Laboratory on ahead without any hesitation. Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA). I reached the Chairman’s Office at It was the summer of 2003 and the Besides this, I was in the midst of 3.50 pm, not wanting to be late. summer vacations had started. I was registering an NGO called SPROUT In spite of all the counselling there unable to get a confirmed reservation – Society for Participatory Rural or were butterflies in my stomach. I met for the date of my meeting but Urban Governance. Joseph (Dr K’s PA), who welcomed decided to proceed nonetheless. me and made me comfortable. I While speaking with the Executive Taking a rickshaw from the Anand enquired about the tall structure that Director, Prof. Aneeta Gokhale- Railway Station I reached the IRMA made music at periodic intervals Benninger (AGB) one morning, I gates. I was visiting my alma mater and was told that it was a “carillon”. mentioned my intention to set up after a gap of 15 years, having Carillons are found in Europe at an NGO. AGB suggested that I visited it last in 2008. As I walked institutions of excellence and their should meet Dr Kurien and seek down the boulevard leading to the sound/music is heard far and wide. his support for this initiative. I was Institute buildings I felt goose-pimples Dr K wanted one for IRMA and a apprehensive of this suggestion all over. Myriad memories flashed special set of people had created it. but when it was repeated a second through my mind about my stay there The chimes were computer controlled time I realised it was sound. I sent from 1984-86. Batch-mates, faculty, and the lighting was done by Philips. off a letter to Dr K, requesting an surprise quizzes, assignments, Field Joseph also made a mention of the appointment and forgot about the Work, MTS, the Mess, tea @ 4pm, “fight/altercation” between Dr K and matter. Within a week I received a volley-ball, the letter from the VC of Amrita Patel. It used to appear in the letter informing me the date and time the Gujarat Agricultural University national newspapers occasionally. of the appointment. That is when I (Anand Agricultural University was Joseph asked me to knock the got nervous. It is one thing to meet Gujarat Agricultural University then) door at 4 exactly pm and enter Dr Dr K in a group or a crowd and complaining about the empty booze Kurien’s office. quite another to do it one-on-one. I bottles being tossed over the wall by wasn’t sure if I wanted to do that. my batch-mates/seniors, friendships The following conversation took I shared this sense of unease with and heart-breaks, grades, TAU, the place between Meher Gadekar and AGB, who asked me to get in touch IRMA written test, the drowning of Dr Kurien (VK) in the summer of with someone who knew both me my batch-mate during a picnic, the 2003 (~April) at Chairman’s Office, and Dr K. So, I got in touch with interview which I cleared to get an IRMA.
  • 28. 28 Network MG: Good afternoon Sir! competent group of people who preference lies….. have agreed to support this initiative. VK: Good afternoon, young man. MG: Yes, I do, Sir. Nevertheless, Please take a seat. VK: OK, so what do you want from we’d like it to be an NGO. MG: Thank you. I’m Meher Gadekar me? VK: Good luck to you, Mr Gadekar. from PRM 5. I live and work in Pune. MG: I’d like IRMA to support such MG: Sir, besides your good wishes, VK: Umm. Pune is a beautiful city. ventures through their early days. I also want your support. We have ideas and we have MG: It used to be more beautiful but gathered a competent group of VK: Let me see what I can do. with the current problems it faces, its people who are willing to lend their (presses the bell, and Joseph beauty is diminishing rapidly. time, expertise and energy. But we appears). Connect him to Bharat don’t have money. If we could have Nirman…. (I don’t remember the VK: I’m sure you and the citizens of some financial assistance in the first exact name). Joseph will help you Pune will deal with the issues that few years we would be able to roll to do so. you mention. So what brings you to Anand? along comfortably thereafter. MG: Thank you Sir. That is very kind VK: Ummm. You have good ideas. of you. MG: I’ve come to meet you But why do you want to set up an VK: Of course not. You are my VK: And what can I do for you? NGO? Why not a Cooperative? Princes (and Princesses). You have MG: Sir, I’m in the process of setting a right to the best education and MG: I think it is the most appropriate up an NGO called SPROUT, short infrastructure in the world. And you form of organisation for the type of for Society for Participatory Rural or have a right to meet me and seek work that we wish to do. Urban Transformation. I’ve come to my support, as long as you support seek your blessings and also to find VK: But that’s not true. Any NGO the cause of farmers and the rural out in what ways IRMA can support can be superseded by the Charity populace. That is why IRMA was me in this venture. Commissioner. Besides, this form created. does not further the principles of VK: Good. What do you plan to do? MG: Sure Sir. I am aware of that. democracy, ownership, equality and MG: We propose to empower equity as well as a cooperative does. VK: So what do you think is wrong vulnerable, marginalised, and with India? MG: I agree but most initiatives of disadvantaged people in Rural and MG: Economically we seem to be the type that I want to undertake Urban areas through participatory doing well in some sectors. But are registered as NGOs. Besides, it capacity building processes. This agriculture is suffering. The terms of is easier to attract financial support, would lead to their socio-economic trade are adverse. In Maharashtra, when you’re registered as an NGO. development over a period of farmers are committing suicide. time. As a result there would be VK: I agree. But as a form of Development is neither even, nor a transformation of the persistent/ organisation an NGO do not inclusive. Many groups like the SCs, chronic pockets of poverty in the match the strength, flexibility and STs, and minorities have not yet rural and urban areas. Once these robustness of a cooperative. enjoyed the fruits of development last bastions of under-development MG: True, I am aware of the in spite of over 50 years of are developed then India would be advantages. But we’ve decided to Independence. firmly on the road to inclusive all- register SPROUT as an NGO. I’ve round development. VK: Ummm. Who is responsible for got the necessary forms from the this state of affairs? VK: Sounds good. Are there any Charity Commissioner’s Office in people supporting you in this Pune. I’ve also drafted the Trust Deed MG: The government is not venture? comprising of the Aims & Objectives, responsive to the people’s needs MG: Yes, I’ve been able to bring Memorandum of Association, etc. VK: Who runs the government? together a small but fairly good and VK: OK, but you know where my MG: The IAS
  • 29. 29 Network Remembering the Legend VK: And what do you think of the MG: Umm. (feels proud and strong, VK: I know Nitya. Her father (Dr. M IAS? but also uneasy. Disbanding the IAS S Swaminathan) is a very respected and replacing it by Irmans is easier Agricultural Scientist of India. MG: I consider them to be Brown Sahibs. They want to rule the people, said than done). MG: (glances down at his watch, the citizens, whereas they should be VK: Who were your batch-mates? which shows that ~75 minutes have elapsed, since the meeting with Dr involved in developing them. MG: Bhanot, Manjul Bajaj, Daman K started) Sir, I have taken a lot of VK: But aren’t they Public Servants? Singh… (names the most famous) your valuable time, and would like to Civil Servants? take your leave. You have been very VK: Oh yes, I know Daman (daughter kind to meet me. MG: They are, but they behave like of Dr Manmohan Singh). She comes VK: Not at all. All of you have Masters, like Kings from a good family. There was access to me. Do feel free to get in VK: So what can be done? never a problem when she was at touch whenever you wish to. IRMA. The family respected all our MG: Sir, I have brought some MG: I don’t know, in specific terms rules and regulations and did not mangoes for you (puts a polythene VK: I do. Disband the IAS (shocked ask for any concessions or special bag of mangoes on the table) silence) privileges. VK: Are they Alphonso mangoes? MG: (taken aback) What? Then who MG: I had the good fortune of doing MG: I’m afraid not sir. I was not able will run the country? Field Work with Daman in Bikaner. to get a confirmed train reservation VK: A different cadre which, besides Field Work was the best and most for the journey to Anand from Pune. intense learning experience that I’ve Hence I came in an un-reserved being professionally trained, is also compartment. I have got these empathetic to the rural areas, to had in my life. Especially considering mangoes from the local market at farmers. that I had never visited a village in Anand. my life, prior to joining IRMA. MG: OK. But where do we find this VK: Thank you very much. All my cadre? VK: (smiles) That is what it was very best wishes to you in your designed to be. And who are in your endeavours VK: (smiles) We are creating it. That’s why IRMA was created (looks senior batch? MG: Thank you so much, sir. It has been a privilege to meet you triumphant). You should be running MG: Nitya Swaminathan, Sudhir and I will cherish memories of this and administering the country. That Rao, Apoorva Oza…. meeting. is IRMA’s mandate. I depart from the room and join Joseph in his office. Joseph asks me how it went and I say that it went off well. A bell buzzes and Joseph is summoned by Dr K. He emerges after some time and gives me the contact details of the NGO mentioned by Dr K. Dr APJ Abdul Kalam is associated with this NGO. As we’re talking Dr K emerges and starts walking towards the elevator. Since we’re through with our conversation Joseph nudges me towards it (the elevator). I am reluctant, but with Joseph’s prodding, follow Dr K and enter the lift. It carries us to the ground floor, where his car is waiting. Dr K walks towards the setting sun, towards his waiting car. I look towards him as he departs and then walk towards the hostel, which has been my home since I arrived at IRMA last evening. Did I see a halo around His head, when he was walking towards His car? By: Meher Gadekar (PRM 5), currently advisor to the NGO-SDRI; Founder Director o the Social Enterprise, Sustainable Future. Email- “Dr. Kurien has pioneered the way by both pointing ‘to the need for professionalism in the management of agriculture and, more significantly, by doing something about it in the shape of this Institute. But the scale of our requirements strongly suggests that we need more IRMAs, or at any rate more institutions that are similarly structured and motivated”. – Shri R Venkataraman, The President of India 7th Annual Convocation Address, 1988
  • 30. 30 Network A Magnetic Personality A free-wheeling interview with Dr. KD Balchandani, IRMA’s resident doctor, who was a personal friend of Dr. Kurien’s. A s a young doctor I first met Dr Kurien at the Tribhuvandas foundation. As Dr Kurien was busy turned out to be unfounded when Mr. Haldipur conveyed Dr. Kurien’s instruction regarding taking Mr Pillai, always quipped, “So how are you, Doctor?” He had virtually stopped eating. Since both of us shared with a ministerial delegate I was who’d been highly impressed with diabetes I would jocularly remark, granted an audience with him for only fifteen minutes. However, the Since both of us shared diabetes I would jocularly remark, meeting extended for a good 45 “Do you want rabdi, or kulfi?” to which he would nod minutes or so. Dr Kurien listened slowly in the affirmative. to my views on rural development with rapt attention, interjecting only sporadically. Later on I got to the visit, for another more trip on “Do you want rabdi, or kulfi?” to know from the then IRMA Director, which he wished me to accompany which he would nod slowly implying Mr. Haldipur, that Dr Kurien had him yet again. an affirmative response. I would rush recounted the “interesting views of a out and purchase a sugar free kulfi Circumstances forced me to young doctor on rural development” which I would carry inside a thermos. make an unceremonious exit from during a meeting held at the Aga His wife later remarked, “These days Vidyanagar Municipal hospital which Khan Foundation. It was indeed a he wants to eat only kulfi!” put me in a low state of mind. I was great morale booster for me. During called by Dr. Kurien who asked me Quite often his eyes said it all, the several occasions I interacted what I intended to do next. I replied even more than his words. He was with him, he came across as an avid “possibly something on my own”. committed to honesty, sincerity and listener. Dr. Kurien then asked, “How much integrity. He was truly a magnetic money would you need for this?” I personality. IRMA was undoubtedly Dr Kurien’s said, “I do not need any money”. baby. During IRMA’s early days Dr. Kurien, however, was insistent. “When this Board was established, I remember his making weekend He called his secretary Joseph and no doubt I had great expectations sojourns to IRMA with guests, asked him to release Rs 10 lakh. from this Board but this has gone both from India and abroad. One Though I did eventually convince such guest was Mr. Romi Pillai, a beyond all my expectations. That him that I did not need the money magistrate in London associated with is mainly due if I may say so, all I realised that here was a fatherly several social and developmental of you would agree, because of the figure who would always stand by activities. I was instructed by Dr. leadership provided by the visionary, me. Kurien to show Mr. Pillai the rural Dr. V. Kurien. This Institution hinterland of Anand District and the He would engage me in several has now a global recognition for developmental work being carried out lengthy conversations, so much so excellence in the field of dairy therein. I drove Mr. Pillai to the rural that his wife often gently chided him, development, and not only the areas and tried to present an honest “Let him go, he has to work!” Institution has won recognition, picture of rural development, or lack Even after Dr Kurien left IRMA I the architect of that Institution, Dr. of it, and the work done by us in the continued to regularly visit him at his Kurien also received world wide villages. That very evening, I found, home. During the fag end of his life recognition”. to my utter surprise, Mr. Haldipur in he had stopped recognising a lot of – Shir C. Subramaniam, my house. I was sure that it was people, but I am happy to say that Secretary, GOI related to the morning visit and felt he continued to recognise me till the 6th Annual Convocation Address, 1987 quite apprehensive. But my concerns very end. Whenever I visited him he By: Prof. Anand Venkatesh, Associate Professor, IRMA, Email-
  • 31. 31 Network Remembering the Legend ‘§¼Ý¢ ±¢Î¢ ÜUÚ Îï’ “Make a Promise” ¼é Ýãèæ ¼¢ï ç…‹Îx¢è }¢ïæ Who will fill the void ¥¢ñÚ v²¢ Úã …¢²x¢¢, Now that you have gone? ç…„Ýï ¼éÛ¢ÜU¢ï çÎH „ï ™¢ã¢ Your loved ones cannot help but ask: v²¢ ±¢ï ²ï „ã Т²x¢¢ J How will the void be borne? çÜU¼Ýï Ï¢Ú„¢ïæ ¼ïÚè ™¢ã¼ So many years have rolled by ÜUï Ý…¢Úï Îï¶ï ãñæ, Basking in adoring veneration v²¢ ±¢ï ™¢ã¼ ÜU¢ „}¢‹ÎÚ Will that sea of ardour now }¢éz¼ }¢ïæ Ï¢ã …¢²x¢¢ J Wash up wasted, sans recognition? The brilliant lamp that you were »ÜU ÎèÐÜU „ï ²ã¢æ ÐÚ Who ignited a million others ÎèÐ}¢¢H¢ Ï¢Ý x¢§ü, ¥¢¡ç{²¢ïæ ÜUè Ú¢ã }¢ïæ In the eye of the storm, however, v²¢ ±¢ï ÎèÐ …H Т²x¢¢ J Who else could have that power? This world has been able to witness §„ …㢡 Ýï Îﶢ ãñ Dreams turning into tangible substance w±¢Ï¢ ãÜUèÜU¼ }¢ïæ Ï¢ÎH¼ï, What dream will these eyes hold; „êÝè ¥¢¶¢ïæ }¢ïæ ÜU㢡 Forlorn for want of sustenance? ÜU¢ï§ü w±¢Ï¢ ¥Ï¢ ÐH Т²x¢¢ J Make a promise oh ‘Verghese’! §¼Ý¢ ±¢Î¢ ÜUÚÎï ±x¢èü„ To this son of the earth §„ {Ú¢ ÜUï Ðê¼ „ï, That it is here you will return »ÜU ¥±„Ú ç}¢H x¢²¢ ¼¢ï Unfailingly, in your next birth. H¢ñÅ ÜUÚ çÈUÚ ¥¢²x¢¢ J Paresh J. Bhatt ÐÚïࢠ…. |¢^ * (Translated by Indrani Talukdar) *Associate Professor, Institute of Rural Management, Anand
  • 32. 32 Network Undeniably Unforgettable A moving homage to the late Dr. Kurien by a student I had my first brush with Dr. Kurien’s name in my fifth grade. It was the day my class teacher to my ten-year-old brain. The next morning I managed to miss the cut- off for the GK test by half a mark all was IRMA. Going into its website I came across these words: “IRMA is founded with the belief, announced a forthcoming General because I had failed to commit the borne out by Dr. Kurien’s work Knowledge test. Buying a GK book name of the great man to memory. in the dairy co-operatives which from the neighbourhood store was That was my first encounter with revolutionized the dairy industry in the next step, after which I began the name “Dr. Verghese Kurien.” the country, that the key for effective swotting in earnest. Guided (or Undeniably unforgettable. rural development is professional perhaps misguided) by the notion management...” that Indian names were easier to Eleven long years passed in a commit to memory - Father of the state of blissful ignorance, without I was reading that esteemed name Indian Green Revolution-Dr M.S. my ever having bothered to find after so many years! That very Swaminathan, now that was pretty out much about this extraordinary instant I developed an affinity with easy – that’s where I began. Then man. Till my last undergraduate the institute and wanted it to be my eye fell upon an entry: Father of year when I began preparing for B part of my destiny. I followed up the White Revolution-Dr Verghese school examinations after having my intuition by net surfing every Kurien. Now, how on earth was I relentlessly scrutinised the best bit of information I could find on supposed to remember that? The business schools in the country. the Milkman of India only to be name sounded so alien, so foreign One of the schools I checked out astounded with his never-ending The ‘K’ factor
  • 33. 33 Network Remembering the Legend list of achievements and accolades. of IRMA. To me, the chimes signified Today, I am not only a proud IRMan I learned how the creator of the one of his most significant values- but a proud denizen of Anand, the Amul brand had been motivated to punctuality. I learnt more about Dr. city where AMUL (Anand Milk Union build an institute dedicated to rural Kurien and his dream. Waiting for Limited) originated. To most people management and development. I my results I filled up my time reading who are unaware of Anand I take was determined to be part of the I Too Had a Dream and watching the the pains of telling them, “I live in the IRMA legacy. film Manthan which, I thought, could place created by the great milkman On November 13, 2011 I took the easily have portrayed Dr. Kurien of India.” entrance test for IRMA with all the in the lead role. Each passing day All good things come to an end. I enthusiasm of a fifth grader that brought in fresh bouts of anxiety- realised this with a shock when, on I once was sitting for a much- anxiety to become part of the great September 9, 2012, my eyes froze sought GK test. I knew in my gut man’s legacy. over the mess notice board that that my chances were brighter this Come March 21, 2012 and the read: “On the sad demise of Dr time round. I hadn’t miscalculated. results were out. When I read Kurien, we all will be meeting @10 I got called for the final interview “Congratulations” against my name I and will all head to Amul”. I, like most on February 3, 2012. What I felt yelled out to my mother that I had of PRM 33, felt orphaned, desolate. stepping inside the campus cannot made it to IRMA. I had other options Our father figure, whom we’d never be described in mere words. As my – equally great – but my mind was eyes took in the chic edifice and met, had left us. As the entire made up. The very next morning I IRMA fraternity gathered around the the sylvan surroundings they saw mailed a DD with my first-term fee more... They saw the values of that chimes the following evening paying and confirmation letter, being the homage to him I realised that though great visionary; values that were first in my batch to do so. the void will never get filled his on display right at the main gate. The warmth of the guards and their On joining IRMA I could sense the values and aspirations will always attentiveness served as indicators “Kurien factor” seeping through remain in place. IRMA is not just a B regarding what to expect inside. I via the loyalty, integrity, and spirit school; it is a temple of values. We, noticed the Carillon Chimes a little inspired by the institute. Everybody i.e. PRM 33 and subsequent batches later. A clutch of students standing in my batch, not just me, believed it of students may have missed Dr. next to them told me the story to be part of the legacy and vision of Kurien’s awesome presence but not of the chimes and how much Dr. the past 32 years. Nobody had the his values of integrity, punctuality, Kurien had wanted them to be part heart to break it. and passion. We salute him. By: Anshul Malik (PRM 33): Email- Dr. Kurien with Family
  • 34. 34 Network The Utterly Butterly Man ‘Again and again in history, some special people in the crowd wake up. They have no ground in the crowd and they emerge accordingly to much broader laws; they carry strange customs with them, and demand room for bold actions. The future ruthlessly speaks through them. They save the world.’ – (Rainer Maria Rilke) P erhaps there is no better way to describe a man with such an iconic personality. To turn a barren Gujarati and a bachelor to boot, no one was ready to keep him as a paying guest. He was staying in a National Dairy Development Board in 1965 to replicate its success across the country. land into a land overflowing with garage, which is now part of the Amul Dr Kurien was of the view that milk, to empower millions of farmers museum. Not happy with his job he professionals should come forward to across the country to form a co- would send out letters demanding lead and to work for rural India before operative with an annual turnover his own resignation. Whenever he they started looking for greener of over 13,000 crores, to turn an got bored he would make an exit to pastures. He was on the board of ordinary farmer into the owner of Bombay (now Mumbai). IIM, Ahmedabad when he once tried the biggest co-operative... Dr. Kurien Finally, when his resignation was to make students understand the had all those qualities and more. approved and he was about to need to fill the gap and work for This was the man who gave us the leave Anand, Tribhubhandas Patel, rural India. A fellow board member, ‘Taste of India’ the man who brought the farmers who was puffing away at a cigar, His entry into the dairy sector was together to start the co-operative quipped whether he wanted students accidental and not very pleasant. movement stopped him. “Don’t to milk cows. Dr Kurien, who was He was forced to study dairy go Kurien, Anand needs you”, known for his sense of humour, technology as the Government of that’s what he said. These were replied that they should continue India would only allow scholarships the words that later changed the smoking cigars while “we milked the for the discipline. Yet he managed course of history. They were – in a cows”. To address this gap he set up to study metallurgical and nuclear way – responsible for a billion-litre the Institute of Rural Management, engineering at the Michigan State idea popularly known as ‘Operation Anand in 1979 to train professionals University. Later on he was sent to Flood’. to work for the rural sector. He once New Zealand for training on dairy said, ‘Students of IRMA should lead. Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru who technology. Ironically enough, the Of course, when you lead you have visited Anand to inaugurate the Amul man who sold milk to billions of plant, embraced him. Dr. Kurien, to walk with others. You cannot people regularly across the globe together with a dairy technologist, lead unless you work with others.’ himself disliked drinking milk being HM Dallaya, made history by creating Under his guidance this institute lactose intolerant. milk powder from buffalo milk. gained momentum to become one Amul started weaving its success of the country’s best management Dr. Kurien was born on 26th story and India, from being a milk institutes, of course the best in its November, 1921 to a Syrian Christian importing nation, surpassed USA to league. This is probably the only family in Kozhikode, Kerala. But this become the largest producer of milk management institute with chimes Keralite developed a new identity, in the world. The success of Amul present in the campus. Dr. Kurien much to his dislike initially, with a was so intriguing that the then Prime firmly believed in the significance dusty, sleepy city, Anand, on 13th Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri spent of bells at two places- religious and May, 1949, when he was sent by one night at a village to understand educational. the Government of India to work at a creamery in Kheda. Being a beef- the recipe of its success. Later on, ”Co-operatives was an act of faith eating Christian who did not know at his request, Dr Kurien set up the for me, it continues to be so.
  • 35. 35 Network Remembering the Legend As I see it, faith is belief without Later on its success encouraged On 9th September, 2012 the milkman reason. For those who believe Benegal to release it nationwide in of India left us. But he remains an no explanation is necessary, for Hindi. This was probably the first immortal flame burning in the hearts those who don’t no explanation is time that farmers were producers of possible. My unfinished dream will of millions and a source of inspiration a movie and people were eager to only be accomplished when the watch it as they themselves were its for generations to come. He once farmers of India have a level playing producers. said, “The journey I began in Anand field to compete with other forms in 1949 still continues. I believe it During his lifetime Dr Kurien had of business. People may call me been showered with many accolades- will continue until we succeed, until cold blooded, but I am very firm Padma Bibhushan, the Ramón India’s farmers succeed.’ And this in setting precedence....” were his Magsaysay award, and the World will echo in our minds forever. words. Dr Kurien was a bitter critic Food Prize to name a few. Yet there of liberalisation and globalisation are people like N.R.Narayanmurthy Mero gaam Katha Pareey as he felt that it would be unfair for Indian companies to compete who aver that no one deserved the Jahaan dudh ki nadiya baahe with multinationals. However, that Bharat Ratna more than Dr Kurien. He had 17 honorary doctorates to Jahaan koyal kooh kooh gaye did not mean that he was afraid of competition. Once when Nestle his name. Mahre ghar angna na bhulo na suggested to him that they work together he replied that they were already working together and they could only meet at competition. Such was the confidence of the man. In 2006 he had had to quit the post of chairman of GCMMF. He hinted at a political conspiracy coupled embroiled with former friends turning foes, which led him to take such a decision. He was a man ‘of the farmer, for the farmer, by the farmer.’ He would say, “We must build on the resources represented by our young professionals and by our nation’s farmers, without their involvement we cannot succeed, with their involvement we cannot fail.” The success story of the co-operative movement attracted Shyam Benegal and he was eager to make a film on it but lacked the money for it. Approximately 10 lakhs were required to make the film at the time. When Dr Kurien came to know he collected Rs 2 from half a million farmers and helped him to make the film. The film The man who sold milk to billions of people regularly across Manthan was first made in Gujarati. the globe himself disliked drinking milk. By: Priyam Mukherji (PRM 33): Email-
  • 36. 36 Network Amul is a Woman Thing The significance of Woman Power dawned on the Milkman of India when he heard some “hard working village women” from the Kaira District villages. M any decades ago in the late 70’s, we at  ISST were looking for and building up case studies of they are ‘just hardworking village women’.  I said to him: “Wait and see”. by the fact that these were the ‘workers’ on whom his brilliant White Revolution was built.  He immediately successful endeavours by women in put his entire organisation at our Standing Mikes were placed in the large numbers. Our belief at the time service.   Our research staff moved hall, and after an introduction, the was that success stories could not to the villages, given a ride on the conference opened, and within a only lead to some self confidence milk vans, interviewed women milk minute, without so much as a by- but point the way on ‘how to’.  Then producers; his technical staff gave us your-leave, the women, all rearers of we saw the ideas and critiques the details of production, sales, and buffaloes and milk “maids” queued from Manthan and thanks to that rewards.  We learnt about the Anand up to speak describing the work, exposure we decided to look at pattern of building cooperatives and benefits, and issues that needed the Amul project.  Another famous wrote about them and the women to be addressed.  We could not patron of the democratic cooperative in a book called Women’s Quest for stop them.   This was the first time movement of India, Lakshmi Jain, Power calling them our Milkmaids of they actually saw/met the Malik, the a long time close friend and ally of Kaira district.  Sahab. It has to be said to the credit Verghese Kurien, introduced me to of my dear brother and later a very Our study essay, field work, Dr. Kurien and arranged a visit to close associate, Verghese Kurien, interviews with the milk producers Anand.   that though initially stunned, he was revealed that adding a buffalo to While Dr. Kurien connected us to exhilarated later. He was excited the household of a landless farmer his colleagues in the management of the cooperative dairy activities he himself did not try to meet us. The ‘woman thing’ had not hit him, yet.  However, in collaboration with another great builder of democratic institutions, Ela Bhatt, and supported by a UN agency we decided to hold a rural women’s conference at Anand and requested that we be allowed to use a hall in the main office building.   For the conference we invited some 20-30 women members of the cooperatives in Anand who were the milk producers, who in fact, were the base of Operation Flood   We also had some SEWA cadres and my own colleagues from the ISST.   We invited Dr. Kurien to inaugurate the conference to which he came reluctantly to sit with us, While Dr. Kurien introduced us to his colleagues in the management of the cooperative dairy saying to me, “They cannot speak, activities he himself did not try to meet us. The ‘woman thing’ had not hit him, yet.
  • 37. 37 Network Remembering the Legend added about 3-4 hours more work other collective activities, to use the and the world get their products. for a woman in the family. This had collective mode. Surely, here is a farm gate to the serious effects on her health and Over the decades Dr. Kurien and consumers’ door model?   Surely we longevity – as the figures revealed. I worked together -  notably with could do this for our tomatoes and We brought this to the attention of the National Foundation of India potatoes if not for our chillies and Dr Kurien and his colleagues and which he helped to found; our orbits other farm products?   A democratic soon the Tribhovan Foundation set intersected at many other public cooperative structure at the product up a health service for the villages spaces due to the work he did along base, and the other elements that and took particular note of this with my husband L C Jain to revive Prof. Alagh, the outgoing Chairman phenomenon of increased burden on genuine cooperation. Some decades of IRMA, an academic centre that a woman’s time of additional income later and with that inimitable twinkle in was also enabled by Dr Kurien, has generating activities which, in fact, his eye he told me “Devaki you must so well described could, in fact, lead is universal amongst acute poverty come back and visit us.  We have a to fantastic rural product success households. feminist now in the family”.  This was stories.   Dr. Kurien later affirmed that what his daughter Nirmala who, coming Maybe there is another became known as the White back from college, was exhibiting the Verghese Kurien in the scenario, Revolution, Operation Flood, the characteristics of a strong feminist, which delighted him.  somewhere, who would like to battle greatest and most successful it out for bringing the Anand pattern cooperative endeavour in the Since we have projects like Amul into other agricultural products- and world, was almost entirely due to and since we have accolades being he/she may get the Bharat Ratna the commitment of women who given to Dr. Kurien in the obituaries for overpowering the Walmart model not only work most dedicatedly to why are we still seeking Walmart with our own home grown model - for augment their family incomes but to help us organise for production, another operation flood, but a flood are also able to work together. It is transport and sales?   The women of other food products .This would a phenomenon that gets repeated producers of Kaira live and work from be the most appropriate way to again and again when we see how their homes, own their buffaloes, honour the memory of Dr Verghese women come together, struggle yet live on their land, get regular Kurien, the milk man of India. try as in self help groups, apart from incomes while the rest of us in India By:  Dr. Devaki Jain (Economist and development activist, and the founder of the Institute of Social Studies Trust), Email-
  • 38. 38 Network ‘I Too Had A Dream’: Book Review I offer this review as a tribute to the ‘father of the white revolution’. Dr. Verghese Kurien was born in Calicut, important to optimise one’s talents and contribute to the common good. Failure is all about doing it to the cooperative confirmed Dr. Kurien’s ideology - “When you work for your own profit, the pleasure is transitory; Kerala, graduated in Science from contrary. but if you work for others there is a Madras University and Engineering deeper sense of fulfilment”. Another Being brave enough to love from Michigan State University, innovation was the introduction of and strong enough to rejoice in USA. He began his career at the baby food formula that led to others’ happiness gives way to the Anand, Gujarat as a manager in designing the inimitable Amul mascot, realisation that there is enough for government’s creamery, and soon the chubby little girl in pony tail. all. The book commences with Dr joined the Kaira District Cooperative Kurien receiving a scholarship under The formation of the National Dairy Milk Producers’ Union Limited the ‘Colombo Plan’ in 1952 to go to Development Board (NDDB), India’s (now ‘Amul’). Later, he became New Zealand. This sowed the kernel largest employment scheme, was the chairman of National Dairy for the future launch of Asia’s first another landmark. As was the revival Development Board (NDDB). Among largest dairy, also the first plant to of the Delhi Milk Scheme (DMS) the numerous awards, the Padma produce milk powder from buffalo within 42 days employing 92 experts Vibhushan (1999) was the last to be milk- a humongous innovation in on a shift basis. Inherent within received by him. In this book ‘I Too the dairy industry. Bringing all the every challenge exists an opportunity Had a Dream’, his life events are milk producers together, tapping highlighting the significance of wonderfully unravelled out by the their resources to own and run the immediate corrective action. Mumbai-based freelance journalist, Gouri Salvi. Gouri Salvi has worked with magazines like Onlooker and Sunday, among others. ‘I Too Had a Dream’, while narrating Dr. Kurien’s role in shaping the dairy industry, illustrates the concept of institutional building and social entrepreneurship. It elaborates on how an individual with personal integrity along with commitment, dedication, and national spirit can bring about social change. It clearly explains how being honest to oneself is basic to being honest with others which, in turn, helps one face the challenge of bringing people together on board and managing them in the form of cooperatives as opposed to corporations. A few driving principles in the life of Dr. Kurien may be observed as follows: Viewing life as a privilege and to waste it would be wrong. While Being brave enough to love and strong enough to rejoice in others’ accepting any responsibility it is happiness gives way to the realisation that there is enough for all.
  • 39. 39 Network Remembering the Legend The book presents how vested year over a period of 10 years. has been proved in the creation interests and bureaucracy tried Marketing of ‘Dhara’ by NDDB of cooperatives. The Government to dog Dr. Kurien’s every step of underscored the importance of can learn from this concept to the way yet the man marched on, building ownership and participative replicate it for jute, cotton, and food undeterred, converting his billion- management while incentivising corporations, which may be managed litre idea into a reality called producers to produce more was a by the producers themselves. ‘Amul’, the dairy run and owned by win-win strategy for both farmers The book carves out the image farmers, also known as ‘Operation and consumers. Dr. Kurien’s legacy of Dr. Kurien as one who follows Flood’. The principle underlying was upheld with his prestigious appointments of Vice Chancellor faith as belief without reason in the the latter lay in creating a national of Gujarat Agricultural Union and dictum “For those who believe, no milk grid connecting producers with Chairman of Gujarat Electricity explanation is required; for those consumers. Board (GEC). who do not, no explanation is The fact of corporate and cooperative possible”. This complete trust is seen worlds being intrinsically different Dr. Kurien tried replicating the in the ‘Anand pattern’ of producing, gets highlighted while describing cooperative model in Pakistan processing, and marketing... all Dr. Kurien’s experience with the and Sri Lanka with scant success. of which is in the hands of milk house of Tatas, more specifically Allowances for risk-taking must producers. It is an illusion to presume his inability to recruit six managers be made to accommodate that all resources are in the hands of for upgrading baby food factories in disappointment. Dr. Kurien’s the government. Karnataka. introspection on refinement in public life compelled him to consider While the book narrates chronological Despite these irritants high accolades seriously education and literacy. This events in an unorganized way it poured in for Operation Flood by no spurred the birth of Institute of Rural nevertheless motivates readers to less an organisation than the World Management, Anand (IRMA), in contribute to their mother land. ‘I Bank which, in its report of 1998, 1979 with the purpose of producing Too Had a Dream’ is a testimony to praised it for its “unmatchable input- future leaders of rural management Dr. Kurien’s belief in Indian farmers’ output ratio” highlighting the Rs. and development. The concept that success through the cooperatives 200-crore investment that realised a true democracy emerges only when way, etching a mark in the dairy net return of Rs. 24,000 crore each the people are allowed to manage industry. By V. Rishi Kesavaram, Faculty, Healthcare Management, TAPMI, Manipal : Email- ( “I have witnessed the birth and growth of this unique institution, even since the idea emanated from the fertile brain of your Chairman, Dr V Kurien over 12 years ago”. “IRMA is playing an important role in generating widespread awareness of the critical role of management in helping the men and women working in the un-organised sector in our villages to derive economic benefit from their toil and skills.” – Dr M S Swaminathan, Father of Green Revolution, 8th Annual Convocation Address, 1989 • • • • “It would call for deep commitment and a willingness to stake all, if one is to succeed. The struggle would be daunting, but when the day is won, I am sure you would find that it was well worth it. You are setting out from under the guardianship of one of the finest victors of such a struggle, and I am sure you will find Dr. Kurien’s example a great source of inspiration when the going is tough.” – Shri Pranab Mukherjee, The Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission, 11th Annual Convocation Address, 1992 • • • • “Now it can be seen as whatever important technological or scientific or industrial event took place in the country we were always 3rd to 5th in the global scale. Whenever I met young, I used to ask them to work for coming out of the 5th country syndrome. When I am with you, today, in Anand, with Dr. V. Kurien and the pioneering team, I am happy that you are breaking fifth country syndrome because India is No-1 in Milk production”. – Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, Professor, Anna University, 21st Annual Convocation Address, 2002
  • 40. 40 Network IRMA Convocations: Down Memory Lane (1983) Mr. Giani Zail Singh, Presi dent of India Prime Minister of India(1982) Mrs. Indira Gandhi, (1984) Mr. Moh ammad Hidayat ullah, Vice-Presi dent of India (1985) Mrs. Pupul Jaykar, Secretary, GoI
  • 41. 41 Network Remembering the Legend ter of India dhi, Prime Minis ry, GoI (198 6) Mr. Rajiv Gan maniam, Secreta (198 7) Mr. C. Subra (1988) Mr. R Venkataraman, Vice-President of India an, egde, Dy Chairm ecretary, GoI (1990) Mr. Ramakrishna H Swaminathan, S sion, GoI (1989) Mr. MS Planning Cimmis
  • 42. 42 Network retary, GoI ohan Singh, Sec (1991) Dr. Manm (1992) M r. Pranab M Planning ukherjee, Dy Cha Commiss irman, ion, GoI of India , Vice President (1993) M r. KR Narayanan (1994) Mr. IG Patel, Ex-Governor, RBI
  • 43. 43 Network Remembering the Legend l Worker astri, Socia Pan duranga Sh (1995) Mr. (1996) M r. AM Ku shro, Ex-M inister, GoI MA ember, IR a Rao , Board M Hanumanth (199 7) Mr. CH (1998) Mr. C Ramac handran, Board Mem ber, IRMA
  • 44. 44 Network s ited Nation Catley-C arlson, Un t . Margare (1999) Mrs (2000) Mr. Atal Beha ri Vajpaye e, Prime M inister of In dia (2002) Dr. APJ A bdul Kalam , Professo r, Anna Univ ersity, Ma dras(2001) Ms. Mieko Nishimizu, Vice President - South Asia Region, World Bank
  • 45. 45 Network Remembering the Legend UK irman, World-Tel, (2004) Mr. LC Jain roda, Cha Planning C , Former Member, (2003) M r. Sam Pit ommission , GoI , GoI Planning Commission eda Hameed, Member, (2005) Dr. (Mrs.) Sy GoI CSIR & Secretary, (2006) Dr RA Mashelkar, DG,
  • 46. 46 Network Dr K remarked, “Even the full moon has appeared to appreciate our Carillon Chimes” (During the inauguration of Carillon Chimes on Dec 14th, 2002)
  • 47. 47 Network Remembering the Legend Contd. from page 2 SCHEDULE 2 GENERAL PROCEDURE FOR THE CONDUCT OF ELECTION OF 11TH EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OF IRMA ALUMNI ASSOCIATION AS LAID DOWN BY THE RETURNING OFFICER 1. Following general procedure has been laid down by the returning officer, keeping in view the principles of natural justice, the constitution and election rules of the association and the Societies Registration Act and Rules. This schedule, therefore, covers a recapitulation of some of the above rules and also lays down rules of practical procedure to harmoniously implement these rules and constitutional provisions. 2. All eligible voters shall have one vote each for the post of President, Vice-President, Secretary and Representative of the respective Zone to which the member belongs as per article 15.0 of the constitution. The address of the voters for limiting their general membership would be decided by the address as available with the association on the date of opening of the postal ballot as laid down in Schedule 1. 3. The nomination for each of the above posts shall be proposed by any ordinary member other than the nominee himself/herself. The nomination letter must contain the following details: (a) Proposer’s name, batch number and complete address and telephone/fax/mobile number, e-mail Id (b) the nominee’s name and batch number and preferably, the complete address, telephone/fax/mobile number, e-mail Id and (c) Post for which nominated. Provided that no person shall be nominated for more than one post by the same proposer. Provided further that for the post of zonal representative, the person so nominated and the person proposing shall belong to the zone, for which representation is sought. 4. On the scheduled date, the nominations received by the returning officer will be scrutinized by him. If a person has been nominated for more than one post, the nominee shall have the option to choose his/her nomination for any ONE post, and his/her nomination(s) for all other post(s) shall be considered as invalid. 5. The candidates with valid nominations will have the option to withdraw their nomination. The letter of withdrawal may be typed/written on plain paper and sent to the returning officer so as to reach him on or before the scheduled date and time. Withdrawal of nominations can also be made by fax or e-mail followed by a confirmation by post. 6. The returning officer will publish the voters’ list as per Schedule 1 7. If there are no valid nominations for any post(s), the returning officer will call for fresh nominations and will suitably postpone the schedule of elections for the particular post(s) only. The election schedule in respect to other post(s) shall not be affected by such postponement. 8. Ballot papers will be pre-numbered and mailed to each voter under the signature of the returning officer. The voter will send the completed ballot paper in a sealed envelope to the returning officer, addressed to him by name, so as to reach him by the scheduled date and time, at the institute’s postal address. The ballot papers shall be opened at such place within the campus of the institute as decided by the returning officer. Any member may witness the opening and counting of votes. 9. In case of any dispute or in any residuary matter, not covered by the procedures, the decision of the returning officer will be final. He may also relax/modify any or all of these rules of procedure, and all such relaxations/ modifications shall be valid as long as they are not inconsistent with normal prudence, natural justice, the constitution and election rules of the association and the Societies Registration Act, 1860 December 31, 2012 Sd/- Anand Returning Officer (Pratik Modi)
  • 48. ANAND PRESS, Anand • anandpress@gmail.comInstitute of Rural Management Post Box No. 60, Anand – 388 001, Gujarat, IndiaPhone : (02692) 260177, 260181, 260186, 260391, 260264, 261502 Fax : (02692) 260188 • Gram : IRMA E-mail : • Website :