The utterly-butterly delicious story of Amul
Over the years, Amul truly has become the taste of India, as the tagline claims. The jingles of its many dairy products are on the tongues of people who have grown up with them. And the Amul girl, the brand’s mascot in the polka-dotted dress, has become a nostalgia-evoking symbol. Amul has truly come a long way since its founding in 1964.
Its story from where it started to where it has come today is, to quote Amul, utterly-butterly delicious.
Amul was formed as a part of a cooperative movement against Polson Dairy in Anand, Gujarat, which procured milk from local farmers of Kaira District at very low rates and sold it to the then Bombay government- everyone benefitted in the process except the farmers, who took forward their plea to Sardar Patel. The result was the formation of the Kaira District Co-operative Milk Producers’ Union Limited in Anand, which started with pasteurizing milk produced by a handful of farmers for the Bombay Milk Scheme, but grew to 432 farmers by the end of 1948. This rapid growth resulted in excess production of milk and to solve this issue, a plant was set up to process all that extra milk into products such as milk powder and butter.
Then Amul happened.
The late Dr Verghese Kurien, rightly called the Milkman of India, was Amul’s true architect.
After arriving in the city of Anand in 1949 to manage a dairy as a government employee, went from helping farmers repair machinery to revolutionising India’s dairy industry with the White Revolution (or Operation Flood), the largest dairy development programme in the world.
The new dairy with the milk processing plant was ready for operation in October 1955, the year that also saw a breakthrough in dairy technology —buffalo milk was processed to make products for the first time in the world. The word ‘Amul’, derived from ‘Amulya’, which means ‘precious’ or ‘priceless’ in Sanskrit, was used to market the range of milk products developed by the Kaira Union. In a striking case of coincidence, it was also an acronym for Anand Milk Union Ltd.
Dr. Verghese Kurien had a vision- he wanted to offer small-scale dairy farmers quality-control units and centralized marketing, which were missing at the time in the dairy economy. With a list of accolades to its name, Amul has established a global presence.
Even today, the Utterly-Butterly girl continues to win hearts wherever she is, whether on a billboard or on the packet of butter. Amul is not just a brand; it is also a movement that represents farmers’ economic freedom. The name is now a household term that is here to stay, and the chubby-cheeked Amul girl will continue to cast a spell on the public.