Few years ago, a friend shared with me a story about Verghese Kurien, the visionary behind India's white revolution.
Verghese, a young and ambitious man, was granted a scholarship by the Indian Government to pursue Dairy Engineering in the United States. After immersing himself in the American way of life, he returned to his homeland, India, ready to apply his newfound knowledge. Fate led him to a quaint village named Anand in Gujarat, where he was to fulfill a five-year bond as an officer in the dairy division of a government creamery.
Picture this: a young man accustomed to the fast-paced life of the United States suddenly finding himself in a remote Indian village in 1949, just after the country had gained its independence. The transition was undoubtedly challenging, considering the lack of modern amenities in rural India at that time.
Verghese, yearning for the cosmopolitan lifestyle he left behind, found solace in weekend escapes to Mumbai, the bustling metropolis. The villagers, on the other hand, began to witness a transformation in their lives orchestrated by the determined dairy engineer.
During his tenure, Verghese Kurien introduced groundbreaking changes to the region by establishing a cooperative that facilitated the purchase of milk from neighboring villages. Little did he know that his actions would not only impact the dairy industry but also forge a lasting bond with the people of Anand.
As the clock ticked away, marking the end of his bond period, Verghese prepared to bid farewell to Anand. However, the villagers, grateful for the positive changes he had brought to their lives, approached him with a heartfelt request—they asked if he could extend his stay, even though he was no longer obligated to do so.
Touched by their sincerity, Verghese Kurien made a life-altering decision. Instead of returning to the comforts of a cosmopolitan existence, he chose to remain in Anand, dedicating his entire life to the community that had become his home.
I find myself revisiting this story more often than I'd like to admit. For many, it's a tale of how fortunate the village of Anand was to have found a remarkable man like Verghese Kurien. Yet, I prefer to ponder on how fortunate Verghese Kurien was to discover a greater purpose, a sense of duty, and most importantly, a place he could genuinely call home.
Needlessly to say, I am still searching for my Anand.