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Tilak Rishi, born in India, has been working as a career corporate executive, after doing his MBA. Passionately pursuing his hobby for writing, he also remained a regular contributor to newspapers in India and the U.S. Many true happenings and characters he came across in life, including interaction with former president Bill Clinton, inspired Paradise Lost and Found, his first novel. A family saga, it starts from Kashmir, when this paradise on earth is lost for the tourists who thronged in thousands every year to enjoy its scenic splendor. Terrorists have turned it into one of the most dangerous places in the world. The family is not only a witness to the loss of this paradise, but also to another tragedy of much bigger magnitude. In the aftermath of the partition of India, along with millions uprooted from their homes in Pakistan, the family leaves behind all that it has in Lahore. Starting from a scratch on the difficult path to progress, it still has many joyful moments when along the way it makes a difference in many a life. The survival-to-success story climaxes in California where the family finds the paradise that was lost in Kashmir.

Saturday, July 06, 2013

White Revolution of India

Today, Saturday July 6, 2013, is the International Day of Co-operatives. Under the auspices of the United Nations, the Day is observed on the first Saturday of July each year. The day is of special significance for our country because it is commemorative of India's White Revolution of the sixties.
Operation flood, also referred to as “White Revolution”, was a gigantic project propounded by Government of India for developing dairy industry in the country. The United Nations has commended India's "White Revolution," saying a sharp increase in the production of milk has achieved twin goals of raising incomes of rural poor families and nutrition status of the people. The report forecasts that India's dairy production will triple by 2020. With government policies that facilitate rural credit and provide essential support services to promote milk production, the White Revolution will continue to play a significant role in reducing poverty and hunger. Gujarat-based Amul (Anand Milk Union Limited) was the engine behind the success of Operation Flood and in turn became the biggest company based on the cooperative approach. The story of Amul began with just two dairy cooperatives and 250 liters of milk per day. This led to the formation of the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation which now has the capacity to collect and process over six million liters of milk a day. This milk is marketed as cheese, butter, yoghurt, ice-cream and chocolates under the brand-name ‘Amul’. Amul is Asia's largest dairy brand. Verghese Kurien (chairman of NDDB at that time), gave the professional management skills and necessary thrust to the cooperative, and is considered the architect of India's 'White Revolution'. His work has been recognized by the award of a Padma Bhushan, the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership, the Carnegie-Wateler World Peace Prize, and the World Food Prize. Success of dairy cooperatives make India the world's largest milk producer.

In many ways, Karnataka follows in the footsteps of Gujarat, which, under Verghese Kurien, put the country on course for the White Revolution. But Karnataka' story stands out because the state is less fortunate than Gujarat in industrial development and economic growth. Just 100 km from Bangalore, Kolar-Chikkaballapur remains untouched by the big city's industrial and corporate glitz. It has 2,919 villages, none of which has anything in the name of irrigation. Except rains, which are erratic. The region was declared drought-hit year after year. But, the 1,674 milk cooperatives in the area pick up no less than 925,000 litres every day. About 24,000 litres of this is consumed locally, and the rest sent to Bangalore, and places in Andhra Pradesh and Kerala. The dairies of Karnataka - there are 12,000 of them - defy the hardships to keep the wheels of the state's rural economy turning and have made Karnataka the second-largest milk producer among states after Gujarat.

Patna Sahib MP and film actor Shatrughan Sinha praised the success story of milk cooperative in Bihar under the brand name of Sudha while addressing the General Assembly of United Nations (UN) in New York at the session being held to mark 2012 as the International Year of Cooperatives. In capacity as Indian delegate, Sinha in his speech said that India's experience with cooperatives has been singularly successful. " Our national priority for poverty eradication, inclusive growth, women empowerment and promoting self-reliance underpins the fundamentals of the Indian cooperative movement. Milk cooperatives have been most successful in the dry parts of India, not the most ideal setting for dairy, making cooperative action even more noteworthy. A milk cooperative, Amul, is a household name in India with its products available throughout the length and breadth of the country. Milk cooperative under the brand name Sudha has contributed significantly to ensuring healthy, nutritive and affordable food to the people in Bihar," he said. Sinha thanked the UN for taking leadership to raise awareness about cooperatives as a progressive model of socio-economic advancement. Considering the role that cooperatives have played the world over in bringing about social change, rural development and raising economic productivity, this global recognition has been long overdue, he noted.
The International Day of Cooperatives, while drawing our attention to the internationally applauded White Revolution of India, also reminds of the beautiful Hindi film on the subject:
Manthan (Shyam Benegal, 1976): Manthan is an extraordinarily powerful and intense depiction of social change. Set against the backdrop of Gujarat's fledging dairy industry, Benegal addressed the viewer in a strict cinematic language. The earnest youngman (Girish Karnad), prodding the local farmers into resistance, finds them overcoming their fatalism and fear because first, that it is possible, and second, thatthere is direct and gettable economic benefit to be obtained by putting up this resistance. In the end the forces for change may be defeated but you see that the society is changing and sooner or later, the oppressed will fight their own battles. Half a million farmers in the state, each of whom contributed Rs. 2, raised the then princely sum of rupees one million to produce the film. They came in truckloads to see 'their film' once released, thereby making it extremely successful at the box-office. Is there a parallel for this anywhere in the world?


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