I too had a dream. — Dr. Verghese Kurien

I think there is nobody, who don’t know Amul Dairy, the taste of India, Dr. Verghese Kurien is

Verghese Kurien

the man behind the success of Amul. Kurien is called as the “father of the white revolution” in India. He is also known as the Milkman of India. Kurien, set up the Anand model of cooperative dairy development, engineered the White Revolution in India, and made India the largest milk producer in the world.

i too had dream book cover

i too had dream book cover




Verghese Kurien’s autobiography: I Too Had Dream

The Man Who Made the Elephant Dance (Audio Book)


With a background in mechanical engineering – his education included a Master of Science with distinction – Dr. Kurien began work as a dairy engineer in Anand in 1949. At the time, private dairies, middlemen, and inefficient collection and distribution systems resulted in milk of varying quality being erratically available across the country, often at high prices to consumers but with little profit for the producers. Dr. Kurien used his experience to work with the manager of the local Kaira District Cooperative Milk Producers’ Union to build an in-house processing plant and organize the cooperative to handle its own marketing directly to consumers.

After years of initial struggle, the cooperative began to produce dramatic results, involving over two million farmers. Based on its successes, Prime Minister Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri created the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) in 1965 to replicate the model nationally.The Prime Minister cited Dr. Kurien’s “extraordinary and dynamic leadership” upon naming him chairman.

When Operation Flood began in 1970, total annual milk procurement was only 190,000 tons, with 278,000 farmers involved in the program. By 1998, at the time of Dr Kurien’s retirement as chairman, the NDDB’s programs involved more than ten million dairy producers in 81,000 cooperatives, supplying almost five million tons of milk annually to over 1000 cities and towns throughout that country. Reaching nearly 250 million people, Operation Flood was the largest agricultural development program in the world. India has also emerged as the largest producer of milk in the world, surpassing the United States.

During the last 40 years, India’s annual milk production has increased from 23.3 million tons (1968-69) to 107 million tons (2005-06) and to a projected 110.2 million tons in 2006-2007. Daily per capita milk consumption in India has more than doubled from a low of 107 grams in 1970 to over 230 grams; the country’s dairy supply continues to grow 3.8 percent annually, while population only grows 2 percent, thus increasing the per capita availability of dietary proteins, especially in areas identified as suffering from nutritional deficits. Domestic milk prices have stabilized, India’s towns and cities receive an adequate supply of hygienic milk, and the 12 million small farmers and landless laborers who make up the majority of dairy cooperative membership now have a regular source of income. In addition, 95 percent of the equipment used in NDDB cooperatives is domestically produced.

Despite these achievements, perhaps Dr. Kurien’s greatest contribution with Operation Flood was to put the farmer in command as the owner of her or his own cooperative – a pivotal factor in the program’s success. “These cooperatives created a grassroots foundation underpinning India’s democracy,” said Lalit Mansingh, Charge d’Affaires for the Embassy of India in the United States. Endowed with decision-making capacities, some leaders in cooperative-member communities have built facilities like libraries and healthcare centers with their profits. The success of the Operation Flood management model led to its application to other commodities. Fruits and vegetables are now produced and marketed through a cooperative system involving a network of over 250 farmer-owned retail stores in Delhi.

Dr. Kurien remained an active member of the international community, holding positions ranging from the Chancellor of the University of Allahabad since April of 2006 to a member of the Advisory Committee of the South Asian Network on Fermented Foods, and chairman of the Viksit Bharat Foundation. His honors and awards are numerous, but most notable are the Carnegie Foundation’s Wateler Peace Prize in 1986, International Person of the Year Award by the World Dairy Expo in 1993, Ordre du Merite Agricole by the Government of France in 1997, the 1999 Padma Vibhushan Award- India’s second highest civilian honor, and the 2000Regional Award from the Asian Productivity Organization in Japan. Known as the Father of the White Revolution and also as the Milkman of India, Dr. Kurien has received over 15 honorary degrees from universities in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and India.

“Innovation cannot be mandated or forced on people,” Dr. Kurien has said. “It is everywhere, a function of the quality of the people and the environment. We need to have enough skilled people working in a self-actuating environment to produce innovation.” To this end, Dr. Kurien was instrumental in establishing and continues to chair the Institute of Rural Management in 1979, which has trained over 8300 specialists in the management and development of rural cooperatives, non-governmental organizations, and civic groups.

“Without effective methods of distribution, food has no way of reaching the tables of the world’s population,” Dr. Borlaug said upon conferring the 1989 World Food Prize on Dr. Kurien. With almost 60 years of ongoing dedication to improving the practice and teaching of effective food distribution, Dr. Kurien continues to educate and inspire food producers around the world.

Dr. Verghese Kurien passed away in the wee hours of Sunday, September 9, 2012, at Nadiad near Anand in Gujarat at the age of 90,

The Amul tribute to its great leader, Dr Kurien...

The Amul tribute to its great leader, Dr Kurien…

Some useful Links


For his contribution to the dairy industry, Kurien has received top awards not only in India but also overseas.

  • 1963 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership
  • 1965 Padma Shri
  • 1966 Padma Bhushan (from president Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan)
  • 1986 Krishi Ratna Award (by the President of India)
  • 1986 Wateler Peace Prize Award (of Carnegie Foundation )
  • 1989 World Food Prize Laureate
  • 1993 International Person of the Year (by the World Dairy Expo, Madison, Wisconsin, USA)
  • 1999 Padma Vibhushan
  • [not known] [godfrey philips bravery award]


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28 thoughts on “I too had a dream. — Dr. Verghese Kurien

  1. i am a great admirer of sir kurian……………utmost respect for him for all his contributions and achievments.

    I am a student of the institute if technology -BHU……………………meeting Mr. kurian once is my dream.
    anyone who could help me wit that…………..give me his mail id or contact………….i will be highly obliged

  2. Amol,
    I just finished reading the book and came across your post while writing a little review of my own.
    You have summed up Dr Kurian’s biograhy very well. I also realized that there’s no wikipdia entry for Dr Kurian. You may want to consider creating a wikipedia entry?
    BTW, your blog post are very interesting indeed. I’ll certainly keep following it.

  3. Pingback: I Too Had a Dream by Verghese Kurien « Views & Reviews

  4. Pingback: Book Review: “I Too Had A Dream” by Verghese Kurien « View from the Pinhole

  5. Having worked with Dr Kurien as his Personal Assistant, Private Secretary and Executive Assistant between 1991-2006, I am proud to read the comments on Dr. Kurien. Despite his life-long work having positively affected the livelihood of millions of poor dairy farmers of India, the Government is yet to realize its folly in not awarding him with the BHARAT RATNA. Dr Kurien is 88, and it would be nice to see him receive the highest civilian award, soon.

    • @joseph sir
      Dear Sir,
      Its really great to see your comment on my blog, I completely agree with you about awarding Dr. Kurien with BHARAT RATNA. Unfortunately he is becoming unsung hero in the mind of coming generations and after reading his book “I too had a dream” I realized the need to spread awareness about his work and contribution towards our country. his life story should reach every family and every school. I would like to hear from you if young people like us can do anything about it.

      Thank you for your valuable comment and attention.


      • Dear Amol, the best way to let the young generation know about what Dr Kurien stood for, to my mind, will be to make his biography’ I Too Had a Dream’ a teaching material in education institutions.

    • Government of India is working on giving Bharat Ratna to Sachin Tendulkar! Once they are done with that and if they still have time and interest Varghese Kurien may be considered for Bharat Ratna!
      My friend…Bharat Ratna is so small an award for Dr.Kurien especially if it is from our rotten politicians and defunct government of india! I wouldn’t worry about it for Dr.Kurien!

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  8. Sir… I read ur book i am inspired by reading this book. After reading i have serched on net abt DR. Kurian there is very few information ….and many people in our country doesnt know who is DR.kurian….who has done the white revoltion …& who is behind amul group …. But ur book is giving so much information . So plez put that information on net …plez becz i had also the dream that every indian knows about DR kurian and white revolution…….

  9. Amazing work leaves me me awestruck how he could achieve so much in a country like India and at a time like 60s and 70s where the odds against success were so great. I definitely need to read this book of his. What a remarkable genius and a social entrepreneur!! May he RIP.

    • Thanks Dinesh for your comment. May you receive real inspiration from Dr. Kurien’s life and may all your dreams come true. Let me know how you feel after finishing the book.

  10. Hi Amol
    I accidentally stumbled upon this blog post while searching for I too had a dream. I’m yet to read the book. your write up is so wonderful. The Legen of Dr.Kurien will live for ever! May his soul rest in peace!

  11. Good News to share – ‘The Man Who Made The Elephant Dance’ the authorized audio book of Dr. Kurien’s ‘I too had a dream’ was released at the hands of Narayana Murthy on 5th Sept. 2012, is now available on flipkart at 15% discount & with Cash on Delivery option, apart from at various stores, across India.

    The audio book starts with audio foreword by Mr. Ratan Tata in his own voice.

    The audio book is also embellished with ‘sound bytes’, placed at various intervals, of few Special Guests that include Mr. Shyam Benegal, Roger Pereira, Sylvester da Cunha, Dr. Shashi Tharoor, R.S. Sodhi (MD of GCMMF-AMUL), Raju Narisetti (Editor, Wall Street Journal), Dr. Katar Singh (Ex Director IRMA) and Dr. Bruce Scholten (US Scholar & Hon Research Fellow at Durham University, UK) who have shared their views about Dr. Kurien & his mammoth work.

    It consists of two compact discs & a photo booklet. The total recording time is aprox. 7.5 hours in 44 tracks. The well known cine & theater artist Tom Alter has lend his voice for this prestigious audio book.

    Its a boon not just for all those who do not find time to read books but for all the senior citizens & visually challenged to enjoy & get inspired from the life of this legend,
    Dr. Verghese Kurien.

    • Thanks Atul for this info. I will include link to this audiobook in main blog content. Wish you all the best for your new venture OM Audio Books.

  12. i have read this book and i like much. I am much inspired by this book. But pls tell me that this is an autobiography or biography?

    • Hi Pooja
      IMO this is autobiography as all facts are told by Dr. Verghese Kurien though it is compiled/edited by Gouri Salvi i.e. she is ghostwriter of the book.

  13. Dear admin, I felt very happy as a Indian & as a employee of amul. We should remember great people like Dr.kurien ji, when I visit the all amul dairies, village farmers I really salute to milk man of India. 80% of amul profites receiving poor farmers. Really he is most eligible for bharat ratna

    • Thanks Mr. Saiprasad for your reply.
      Congratulations for being a part of such great culture. Rather you should read Dr. Kuriens autobiography and pass on the great wisdom he left for us.
      Best wishes.

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