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A webinar held on 29th January 2022 at VKCoE, IRMA, Anand

Verghese Kurien Centre of Excellence (VKCoE), IRMA and Gujarat Chapter of Indian Dairy Association organized a webinar on ‘Shri Tribhuvandas Patel – the Father of Milk Cooperatives in India’ on 29 January, 2022. The chief guest of the webinar was Shri Parshottam Rupala, Union Minister of Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Government of India . The panelists of the webinar were Shri Meenesh Shah, Chairman, National Dairy Development Board, Shri Ramsinh Parmar, Chairman, GCMMF, Dr. R S Sodhi, Managing Director, GCMMF, Shri Amit Vyas, Managing Director, Amul Dairy, Dr. Nikhil Kharod, CEO, Tribhuvandas Foundation, Dr. G S Rajhoria, President, Indian Dairy Association, Dr. Manjula Patel, Retired Professor, Sardar Patel University and Shri Emil Patel, the grandson of Shri Tribhuvandas Patel

The welcome address was given by Prof. Umakant Dash, Director, IRMA. Shri Ramsinh Parmar, Chairman, Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation Limited (GCMMF) in hisinaugural speech revealed the significant rise in milk procurement by Amul from 250 litres milk to 35 lakh litres per day from 1200 dairy cooperative societies (DCS) today. Amul is expected to procure 50 lakh litres milk per day by next year. Today Amul products are popular among the consumers worldwide. He highlighted how Shri Tribhuvandas Patel worked for the women and children of dairy farmers. Tribhuvandas Foundation provided excellent services during the pandemic. He appreciated how each household of dairy farmers in Anand worships Shri Patel and garlands his photo each day even today.

Addressing him ‘Tribhuvan Kaka’, the Hon’ble Union Minister Shri Parshottam Rupala said how it filled their hearts with pride that a man like him belonged to their region. He had a visionary outlook as he saw how the villages of Gujarat and India could be transformed with the idea of dairy cooperatives. Together as a team he had to work hard to bring the younger generation to the cooperative sector. He said that Shri Patel had a magnetic personality that attracted the professionals like Dr. Verghese Kurien and others which ultimately led to the birth of a brand we proudly call “Taste of India”. Drawing a parallel between Mahatma Gandhi and Shri Tribhuvadas Patel, Shri Rupala said while Gandhiji set up an ashram in South Africa to help the needy, Tribhuvandas Foundation in Anand helps the poor women with healthcare. He proposed Tribhuvandas Foundation to extend its activities to the entire state of Gujarat for mother and child care and to eliminate mal-nutrition. The honourable minister stressed the need for bringing the youth of India into the cooperative movement so that they can appreciate the “Sahakaar se Samridhi” concept which will be a real tribute to him. He urged IRMA to devise a strategy, involving some activities which would attract your to participate and decide to adopt the cooperative movement. He proposed establishing a national institute of Dairy Technology at Anand. Shri Mitesh Rameshbhai Patel, the member of Parliament (Lok Sabha) from Anand said that it was Shri Tribhuvandas Patel who started the cooperative movement and brought millions of dairy farmers together for their own common good. He supported the idea of Hon. Minister to establish an institute of national importance at Anand.

Dr. Nikhil Kharod, a paediatrician and CEO, Tribhuvandas Foundation shared about his karmic relationship with Karmayogi Shri Tribhuvankaka. He spoke about the genesis and operations of Tribhuvandas Foundation, a cooperative linked human health care programme focussed on health of mothers and children. He highlighted Tribhuvandas Foundation as a correct model for rural development. Learning from the Amul experience, Tribhuvandas Foundation is designed as community based primary health care programme with greater emphasis on Maternal and Child health. He added that during the current pandemic, need for more of such primary health care community based programmes has also been realized by many. He shared the attributes of Shri Patel and said that he accepted modern science and technology as much as necessary for the rural development. But at same time he was very particular about our culture. If we consider Dr. Kurien ‘The Brain’ behind the white revolution, Shri Patel may aptly be described as ‘The Soul’. Theirs was a truly synergistic partnership which provided dynamic force for the cooperatives to succeed.

Speaking on the occasion Shri Meenesh Shah, Chairman, NDDB said that leaders are not judged by their intentions but by their contribution to the society. Shri Patel embodied this. The real tribute to him would be to imbibe his actions in our lives. Shri Shah said that it was Patel who saw immense potentialities of cooperation and cooperatives way back in 1946, nurtured it selflessly and he was right about power of farmers’ movement from very beginning. Dr. R S Sodhi, Managing Director, GCMMF regarded Shri Tribhuvandas Patel as the ‘Bhismapita’ of the dairy revolution. While remembering the anecdotes of Shri Patel, he suggested how today’s generation should learn values of humility, perseverance and utmost honesty from him. He suggested reading the book ‘Lok kalyan ni .Gangotri’ for political and professional leaders at the webinar. Shri Amit Vyas, Managing Director, Amul Dairy highlighted the dairy cooperatives initiated by Shri Tribhuvandas Patel as a self-sufficient model and that cooperatives is a new ministry in the government now.

Dr. Emil Patel, grandson of Shri Tribhuvandas Patel said that the common goals for all the institutions set up by Shri Tribhuvandas Patel were to facilitate improvement in the quality of life of farmers. By many measures, these institutions that were formed under the leadership and vision of Shri Tribhuvandas Patel have far exceeded the expectations laid out at their formation and have continued to excel over the years. He expressed how none of Patel’s distinguished family members were not in any organization set up by him to avoid nepotism. The social status or organizational positions (including his) mattered little to him. In closing, the stories illustrating Kaka’s character, vision and leadership qualities tells us that there should not be anything to deter us from accomplishing our dreams but while we fulfill our dreams, we should never lose sight of moral, ethical and equality values when leading the organizations, as a leader stay humble and be inclusive. Remember it is not about one person but the team.

Dr. Manjula Patel read out excerpts from her book written on Shri Tribhuvandas Patel and how there was Sans Tribhuvan, Sans Kurien. She shared her last memories with Shri Patel. Dr. G S Rajhoria, President, Indian Dairy Association highlighted the character sketch of Shri Patel and spoke about the various dairy institutes in India. He talked about  shri Patel’s moral character and leadership qualities. The webinar was moderated by Dr. J.B Prajapati, Chairperson, VKCoE. In conclusion he said that we should try to replicate Tribhuvandas Foundations based on the successful model of Anand to take care of mother and child health. The webinar was co-hosted by Dr. Smruti Smita Mohapatra and Shri Darshan Kumar Patel from VKCoE.

Source: Event report issued by VKCOE IRMA Anand.