National Milk Day 2023 in India: Why is it celebrated? history and significance - Pankaj Baruah


Milk, often referred to as "nature's perfect food," has been an integral part of human nutrition for centuries. Loaded with essential nutrients such as calcium, phosphorus, vitamins, and proteins, milk contributes significantly to the overall well-being of individuals. Recognizing the immense nutritional value of milk and its impact on health, National Milk Day is celebrated in India every year. This day holds historical significance as it commemorates the birth anniversary of Dr. Verghese Kurien, the visionary behind India's White Revolution.


History of National Milk Day:

The history of National Milk Day is intricately linked to the life and contributions of Dr. Verghese Kurien. Born on November 26, 1921, in Kozhikode, Kerala, Dr. Kurien played a pivotal role in transforming the dairy industry in India. After completing his education in the United States, Dr. Kurien returned to India and embarked on a journey that would revolutionize the dairy sector.

Dr. Verghese Kurien's notable contribution began with the establishment of the Kaira District Cooperative Milk Producers Union Ltd, which later evolved into the renowned brand Amul. Under his leadership, Amul became a symbol of success, cooperative farming, and sustainable dairy practices. Dr. Kurien's vision went beyond the success of Amul; he aimed to bring about a comprehensive transformation in the dairy landscape of the country.

The White Revolution, spearheaded by Dr. Verghese Kurien, was a groundbreaking initiative aimed at increasing milk production, establishing a nationwide milk grid, and ensuring fair prices for dairy farmers. Operation Flood, implemented in three phases, played a crucial role in achieving these objectives. This revolution not only elevated India to one of the largest milk-producing nations globally but also empowered millions of farmers across the country.

In 2014, recognizing the profound impact of Dr. Kurien's contributions, the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), the Indian Dairy Association (IDA), and 22 state-level milk federations collectively decided to celebrate National Milk Day on November 26 each year. This day serves as a tribute to the visionary leader who transformed the Indian dairy sector and left an indelible mark on the nation's agricultural landscape.


Significance of National Milk Day:

National Milk Day holds multifaceted significance in the context of health, economy, and agricultural practices in India. It serves as a platform to raise awareness about the nutritional benefits of milk and its role in maintaining good health. The day encourages individuals to incorporate milk and dairy products into their daily diet to ensure the intake of essential nutrients vital for bone health, cognitive function, and overall well-being.


Furthermore, National Milk Day pays homage to Dr. Verghese Kurien and his pioneering efforts in establishing a cooperative model that empowered dairy farmers. The cooperative movement initiated by Dr. Kurien not only ensured fair remuneration for farmers but also created a sustainable and inclusive dairy ecosystem. The success of Amul and the White Revolution remains a testament to the transformative potential of visionary leadership and collaborative efforts in the agricultural sector.


The economic significance of milk cannot be overstated. In India, dairy farming provides livelihoods to millions of people, especially in rural areas. National Milk Day serves as a reminder of the critical role played by dairy farming in the country's economy. The growth of the dairy sector not only contributes to the income of farmers but also fosters economic development at the grassroots level.


Celebrations and Activities:


National Milk Day is marked by various celebrations and activities across the country. Educational institutions, government agencies, dairy cooperatives, and NGOs organize events to highlight the importance of milk in nutrition and commemorate Dr. Verghese Kurien's legacy. Seminars, workshops, and awareness campaigns are conducted to disseminate information about the nutritional benefits of milk and promote dairy farming practices that are sustainable and ethical.


Schools and colleges often organize competitions, including essay writing, elocution, and drawing contests, to engage students in understanding the significance of milk in their diet and the contributions of Dr. Kurien to the dairy sector. Dairy cooperatives may showcase their achievements, share success stories, and conduct farmer interactions to strengthen the sense of community in the dairy farming ecosystem.


In addition to educational initiatives, National Milk Day is an occasion for stakeholders in the dairy industry to reflect on challenges and opportunities. Discussions on technology adoption, value addition in dairy products, and market linkages for farmers are common themes during these celebrations. The goal is not only to celebrate past achievements but also to strategize for the future sustainability and growth of the dairy sector.


Conclusion:


National Milk Day in India serves as a poignant reminder of the transformative power of visionary leadership and collective efforts in the agricultural sector. Dr. Verghese Kurien's legacy continues to inspire generations, emphasizing the importance of cooperative models, sustainable practices, and inclusive development. As the nation commemorates this day, it is an opportunity for individuals, policymakers, and stakeholders to reiterate their commitment to the well-being of farmers, the growth of the dairy sector, and the promotion of a healthy and nutritionally secure society.


In celebrating National Milk Day, it is not just about acknowledging the past but also about envisioning a future where dairy farming remains a cornerstone of rural prosperity, nutritional security, and economic development. The legacy of Dr. Verghese Kurien lives on, reminding us of the enduring impact that a singular vision can have on an entire industry and the lives of millions. As we raise a glass of milk in celebration, let it be a toast to the past, present, and future of India's dairy revolution.