In the predominantly vegetarian diet of South India, milk provides protein and cooking fat called ghee. For centuries families kept their own milk cattle, usually buffalo. In Greater Bombay, as the population expanded beyond the island city to over three million, the cattle became a major problem. Crowded into unsanitary stables in congested residential areas, many animals died for lack of grazing or other feed. Producers began to overcharge for milk which was often contaminated and adulterated and in ever shorter supply.
D. N. KHURODY began, in the early 1940s, to evolve the scheme that today is revolutionizing the processing and marketing of milk in Bombay. Now Dairy Commissioner and Joint Secretary to Maharashtra State, he was then Milk Commissioner of Bombay City. In that capacity he argued persuasively for government support and carried to implementation in 1949 the Aarey Milk Colony. Located 20 miles north of Bombay City, this largest dairy establishment in Asia is a combination of model dairy farms and milk pasteurization plant. It distributes clean milk of controlled quality and price to about one and one-half million city dwellers and over 300 hospitals and institutions. Also purchased from Aarey by the Bombay Municipality is the milk issued free daily to some 72,000 undernourished school children.
At the Aarey Colony cattle owners pay rent for farms and the plant buys the milk. Over 20,000 cattle have been removed from Bombay city and suburbs by this means. With proper care, milk yield per animal has increased from 18 to 20 per cent and thousands of calves and buffaloes have been saved from starvation or slaughter. A second plant at nearby Worli which began operation in 1962, is designed to service similarly the other one-half of the city population.
Bombay's growing demand for milk also has provided the basis for a new rural way of life around Anand, some 200 miles inland. Here TRIBHUVANDAS K. PATEL and VERGHESE KURIEN developed the Kaira District Cooperative Milk Producers? Union. It was organized in 1948 by combining two village milk producers' societies and a dairy processing 500 pounds of milk daily. Now President of the Union, Mr. PATEL was the organizing genius in building this cooperative effort. As Manager, Mr. KURIEN provided the necessary administrative and scientific direction to a hardworking staff of specialists, laborers and villager-aides. Rapid expansion, by 1962, had brought into the Milk Producers' Union 219 farmer societies with 46,400 members. Milk processed in that year grossed over US$6 million.
The Kaira Union was encouraged by the then Bombay State Government, which contracted for its entire supply of pasteurized milk at stable, premium prices. Veterinary and technical aid was extended to villagers and the Public Works Department built new roads to facilitate collection of milk from outlying villages. Providing repasteurizing and distribution facilities for the milk from Anand was the Aarey Milk Colony near Bombay.
A substantial increase in dry season milk production at Anand was stimulated by year-round requirements of the Aarey Colony. To absorb the surplus thus created during the more productive winter months the Kaira Union ventured into milk processing. Generous financial assistance came from the Bombay Government and other help from UNICEF, New Zealand under the Colombo Plan and several foreign countries. The new plant was the first in India to produce milk powder, condensed milk and special powdered milk for babies. It is the first in the world to convert buffalo milk into powdered milk. Now marketing these products under the trade name of AMUL through their own all-India sales organization, the Union's concern is further expansion to meet mounting orders.
These advances have raised the quality of the dairy industry in Anand as farmer-owners under tutelage of their Union leaders gradually accept new ideas of feeding and caring for cattle and handling milk.
As evidence of their pioneering leadership, DARA N. KHURODY, TRIBHUVANDAS K. PATEL and VERGHESE KURIEN today are asked to help initiate similar agencies elsewhere in India. Their efforts have become a model of accomplishment by patient but determined joining of government concern with the capabilities and aspirations of ordinary farmers.
In electing these three men to receive the 1963 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership, the Board of Trustees recognizes their creative coordination of government and private enterprise to improve the supply of an essential food and sanitation in one of Asia's largest and most crowded urban complexes and to raise living standards among village producers.
It gives me great pleasure, of a personal and lasting nature, to be able to be present here to receive the Ramon Magsaysay Award. I feel that my country is being honored here even more than I myself: that is a measure of the excellence of the Award and of the excellence of the aims that inspired it. Many of you will perhaps remember that the very first recipient of the Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership was a distinguished countryman of mine, Acharya Vinoba Bhave. That great soul continues, in his own unique and unobtrusive way, to represent real India in his humility, simplicity, and service qualities which characterized your own great President Ramon Magsaysay.
President Magsaysay was a simple, humble and great man, a symbol of the hopes of poor men, a thoroughgoing democrat, an Asian with vision. Your late great President strove hard to build a nation which was freshly launched into responsibility and full freedom, to build out of it a nation in which freedom would belong to everybody, in name and in spirit, and in which man could live with man in amity, peace and dignity. These are noble qualities, noble aspirations, eternally uplifting the stature of all mankind.
We, too, in our country had been blessed with one of the greatest of men, whose very name is a venerated watchword in every Indian hamlet and on every Indian?s lips. Mahatma Gandhi, whose humanity has already become an inspiring legend throughout the world, taught us to be proud of our heritage, to cast off the shackles of the body and the mind, so that we may mold ourselves in a pattern of thought and action in which the poor are the salt of the earth and the common man is the most important person in the world.
Today there is an additional awareness, a new bond, which binds all Asians together. We go deep into the very basis of life when we examine the humanitarian concepts and principles that inspired Mahatma Gandhi and Ramon Magsaysay alike. The bond that unites us, as fellow humans, as people working hard for a better morrow, and as fellow Asians, is a bond that cannot ever be broken. I am happy that a little additional strength has been now given to that bond of amity and understanding by the Ramon Magsaysay Award, with which I have been honored today.