‘Mr. Khurody, buffaloes give double the milk in winter and I don’t know how to plug their udders. You have to take all the milk’ pleaded the young manager. ‘But the people of Bombay don’t drink 1 bottle of milk in summer and 2 in winter. It’s your problem, not mine’. Mr Khurody was the head of Bombay Milk Scheme buying milk from a small co-operative.
A conversation that turned out to be a watershed moment in Indian co-operative movement.
The young man was frustrated. It was a job he hated but had no choice as he was bound by a govt contract. And now this crisis of managing a flood of milk. They had to convert the milk into powder.
You see, buffalo’s milk has high viscosity and 15% more protein. Dairy scientists had stated that it was impossible to convert. The world drank cow’s milk and experts were interested only there. Unlike in India.
As one last ditch attempt, the young man got in touch with his batch mate, HM Dalaya, a dairy scientist. They bought a second hand L&T factory and slogged on the biggest challenge. And finally cracked the breakthrough technology in 1954 of converting buffalo’s milk into powder.
Verghese Kurien never looked back.
It was a chemist in that factory who suggested the Sanskrit word ‘Amulya’ that later became Amul.