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Raju Ganapathy



Raju Ganapathy


Rainbow Revolution

Rainbow Revolution

3 mins

“The hands that get soiled

Belong to the farmers who toiled

Their plight that made a ghastly sight

Many tried with their might but none got it right.”

Perhaps with one exception and the story was being retold in a slightly different way. The champion of this story was none but Dr. Verghese Kurien, also known as the “milkman” and the father of the white revolution. The accidental social entrepreneur.

By his own account, he was cooling his heels off in a remote town called Anand but far from being in a state of “Anand.” Having done a mechanical engineering degree with a Government of India scholarship he was asked to report in this town and work for a dairy division. It was then accidentally he met the farmer leader Tribuvandhas Patel who sought his help in fixing some dairy equipment. Unlike the ‘repair and go’ model of the modern times, Tribuvandhas exhorted Kurien to run the dairy plant as well. The dairy belonged to the first of the milk farmers’ cooperative in Kheda district.

When great minds came together, great things happen. At the behest of the Sardar Patel, Morarji Desai had asked the farmers to form a cooperative. He said

‘single handed you cannot fight

Join hands that you might’

The farmers did join hands, did a milk strike and it was

‘milk, milk everywhere and

Not a drop to pour for the Polson Dairy’

Instead, the farmers poured the milk to the soil instead of water. The first experiment in making Panchagavya also thus began.

As they say, the first step was the beginning of a great journey. Anand Milk Union Limited ‘AMUL’ became vastly successful. It went on to become the ‘taste of India’ and soon to become the taste of Afghanistan too considering the fact that AMUL was the sponsor of the Afghanistan Cricket Team for the forthcoming World Cup Cricket.

Nandini, Aavin, became a copy and paste models of AMUL in the south but the spirit was missing. You could at best say these models also-ran. As the models became too many ones needed a manager to run them.

Therefore, the Institute of Rural Management, Anand was founded by Kurien in the 1980s. He thought these IIM guys preferred to sell soaps and biscuits and not work for the farmers’ cooperative. Kurien by then had become ‘God’ of sorts in the milk circles. So, when he proposed, IRMA was founded. Another copycat of the hallowed ‘Harvard” but with a rural bias. As you get older the vision gets blurred. So, it was the case with IRMA as well. Thus, you found IRMANs worked for A-Ambani's, B-Birla’s, C-corporates all that IIMs discarded. Of- course, the odd IRMAN still worked for D-Development, M-milk federations and sometimes became a W-Writer of amateurish gibberish like me.

So, the land of farmers remained the same, come what may, did the policy framers. Revolutions of the white and green came and went, but the plight of the farmers never saw any amend.

Seed technology,


agri-business clinic,

Portals at a click

Jargons galore

Farmers’ income, never more.

Farmers as a community in spite of being a majority were still searching for the ‘NYAY’ in this democratic polity. Perhaps a rainbow revolution was what was required.

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