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My Father Was an Atheist, Says Verghese Kurien's Daughter on Conversion Allegations

Former Gujarat minister Dileep Sanghani had alleged that Kurien diverted dairy cooperative Amul’s profit to fund religious conversions in the country.


Updated:November 26, 2018, 11:52 PM IST
My Father Was an Atheist, Says Verghese Kurien's Daughter on Conversion Allegations
File photo of Dr Kurien, India's father of white revolution.

Anand: The daughter of India's "milkman" Dr Verghese Kurien on Monday rubbished former Gujarat minister Dileep Sanghani's claim that he diverted dairy cooperative Amul’s profit to fund religious conversions in the country.

Sanghani had alleged that the late founder-chairman of the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) and the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation funded religious conversions by Christian missionaries from Amul's profits.

"We should ignore such statements and focus on work done by Verghese Kurien in building institutions that ushered India’s White Revolution," Nirmala Kurien said. "My father was an atheist and (despite being a Christian) was cremated as per his wishes. So was my mother after her death," Nirmala told PTI after an event to mark Dr Kurien's birth anniversary. Born on November 26, 1921, Kurien died on September 9, 2012.

"We should also focus on things like the change he made in the life of cattle rearing farmers," she said. "Lal Bahudur Shastri, who was then prime minister, had requested my father to replicate the success of the 'Amul model' in the country. He undertook Operation Flood which took India from a milk deficient country to the world's largest milk producer," she said, addressing a gathering at the NDDB.

"My father believed that India would one day be among the most powerful nations but worried that 70 per cent of India's population comprises mostly small and marginal farmers and labourers. He wished that they be given more opportunity to earn so that the gap between the haves and have nots reduces," she said.

Responding to Sanghani's charge, the managing director of Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation, Dr RS Sodhi had said Dr Kurien's religion was that of each farmer of the country. Sanghani had said Tribhuvandas Patel was the founder of Amul but farmers' money was donated for tribals' religious conversions in south Gujarat by Dr Kurien.

Sodhi recalled a call he received in the wee hours when Dr Kurien passed away at a hospital in Nadiad. "Me and my colleague went there and asked Nirmala and Mrs Kurien as to where he should be buried (since he was a Christian)," he had said. "They told us that his wish was that he be cremated. He was cremated at the same place as Tribhuvandas Patel. After three months when Mrs. Kurien died in Mumbai, she was also cremated," Sodhi had said.

Meanwhile, a bike rally from Jammu to spread awareness about Dr Kurien reached Anand on Monday morning.

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