Thank you Dr Kurian for sharing with us your experiences. Worth reading for every one of us who have turned into armchair critics of everything. Some people might find it too one-sided. But if he does not present his point of view, there will be millions out there who will talk for him , so even if it is his view, I still welcomed it.
There are enough controversies surrounding Dr Kurien. But Gandhi too had his share of distractors. “When you stand above the crowd, you must be ready to have stones thrown at you” – Vikram Sarabhai. That summarizes it well. This is especially true, when the said person is successful at the task. The amount of criticism will be directly proportional to the success of the task. By any standard, Operation Flood was a success.
There were many things which stuck a chord with me in the book – some of them are :
Though there is enough criticism of the system in the book, what touched me was specific examples of integrity within the politicians and bureaucrats. It is because of these few that the system is still functional. The support he had from the politicians to the secretary demonstrates that the system comes along when we have the will to get things done.
The number of times that Dr. Kurien reiterated that he is what he is because of “accidents”. Another way of looking at it is “being in the right place at the right time”. This explains why he ended up in Anand, though being a native of Kerala and a US returned. For me this demonstrates the concept of “destiny”.
I have personally seen the impact of Operation Flood on the rural families. Even families with meager income could have a buffalo/cow to supplement their income. And unlike the west, the cost of maintaining the animals is minimal. Fodder is straw from rice plantations. And when we were small(about 25-30 years back), we would give all the water that the rice/dal was washed in to the animal for drinking. Things like banana peels etc also went into them. Oil cake, which is a by product from the oil mills was also fed to the animals. All these costed almost nothing as they were by products. I am not sure how things are now. All said and done – milk production has definitely help rural households in supplementing income.
Operation Flood and Amul are testimonials to the power of cooperatives. This is the true spirit of democracy. And in a country like India, the top-down approach of few people managing does not work effectively. It is only with participation that we can ensure success of these consumer oriented initiatives.
Amul has now diversified into many products. And the best part is that they are able to maintain the same standard. Thanks to Dr Kurien and his efforts, India is now at the top of the pyramid of Milk production.