23 June, 2021

Utterly Butterly

The man who milked a drab opportunity to make it a success story like no other

Utterly Butterly
A favourite game some of my close friends and I indulge in periodically is to draw up lists of men and women who should have got, or deserve today, the Bharat Ratna. Names on our lists vary from the late H.D. Shourie and Satyajit Ray to Baba Amte, Anna Hazare, Atal Behari Vajpayee, Ela Bhatt, Mahasweta Devi and a few others. One name that appears on everyone’s list is that of Verghese Kurien. He has already got a Padma Shri (1965), Padma Bhushan (1966), Padma Vibhushan (1999), the Magasaysay Award (1963), Wateler Peace Prize (1986), the World Food Prize (1989) and honorary doctorates from many universities. He is now 84 years old. He has told his life story and how he turned his dreams into reality to Gouri Salvi, a freelance journalist of Mumbai. She has done a very good job in piecing it together.

Kurien was born in 1921 to a well-to-do Syrian Christian family of Calicut. A bright student, he was with the Tatas after graduating in science and engineering from Madras University. He applied for a government scholarship for higher studies abroad, hoping to return to his job...

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