The milkmen of Kaira (now Kheda) were revolting, refusing to send milk to Mumbai. India had attained Independence, but rumblings of discontent rocked the region. It was during those turbulent times that Verghese Kurien reached Anand reluctantly, as a young dairy engineer.
Kurien was soon drawn into a movement that was to change the course of his life. And, with it, the lives of thousands of milkmen in Anand and almost the whole Indian countryside.
For the young man, it was difficult not to be drawn into the struggle as trouble was brewing nearby, with the first cooperative union Kaira District Cooperative Milk Producers' Union Limited now famous as Amul, inspired by Sardar Patel and led by Tribhuvandas Patel, being formed.
Kurien then revived an old dairy and there began a great association of Kurien and Patel.
While the fledgling cooperative union took on the might of Polson Dairy, it worked wonders, spawning the White Revolution that changed the face of dairying in India. It also gave cooperatives the power they never thought they could have.
For, it was Operation Flood the largest dairy development programme in the world designed by Kurien that was replicated across the country as the Anand Model. It also propelled India towards sufficiency in milk-production and made it the largest producer of milk in the world.
Along with creating the Amul pattern, he began the work of institution building, establishing one great organisation after another National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF) and Institute of Rural Management (IRMA).
It was then prime minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, impressed by the success of the Amul pattern of co-operatives, who ordered the creation of NDDB in 1965 to replicate this nationwide and made Kurien its chairman. Kurien then set up GCMMF in 1973 to sell products produced by the dairies.
He created Amul at a time when brands were hardly known and not only turned it into the 'Taste of India' but its 'utterly, butterly, delicious' force gave multinationals and private Indian brands a run for its money.
Recognitions that have come his way are aplenty, from the Ramon Magsaysay Award for community leadership to the Padma Vibhushan and the World Food Prize, the Nobel equivalent in the food sector.
But nothing perhaps touched him more than the museum that Anand created in his name when he turned 80 in 2001. The house he stayed in for 36 years since he came to Anand in 1949 was converted into a museum to pay a unique tribute to the man's contribution.
And, he doesn't forget to show visitors to Anand the road named after him Verghese Kurien Enclave. And, when they spoke of yet another rebellion on Monday, the wheel had turned a full circle for India's milkman.
Verghese Kurien, Father of India's White Revolution, was compelled to resign from AMUL at Anand on March 24, 2006. Since then there has been widespread condemnation in the media about the shabby manner in which he was sacked by the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) and treated by the Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF), both institutions created and fostered by him for over 30 years against heavy odds.
While his work has been universally admired by a grateful world, some detractors have justified his ouster and argued that his stubborn resistance to new ideas and the authoritarian manner in which he ran his institutions had rendered his ouster inevitable.
The noise of the current media controversy about the manner of Dr. Kurien's dethronement should not however prevent the country from listening to his anguished warning that vested interests are threatening to dismantle the edifice of a unique production and marketing strategy he created in which the consumer gets value for his money and the maximum part of what the consumer pays flows back to the millions of small milk producers in India without being channelled to the faceless but politically powerful purveyors of capital and brokers of influence.