Remember this ad starring Malayalam actor Sreenivasan?
Unless you were one of those unfortunate lactose intolerant kids, you would have had your share of Milma milk growing up. As kids, we all believed that Milma milk packets contained milk directly sourced from cows. Dipping Hide&Seek or Parle-G biscuits in milk, because Oreo did not exist back then, was a pastime all of us looked forward to. In fact, it was the only time our parents could keep us quiet. It was almost like the alcohol for kids, metaphorically speaking of course. Ask any Malayali, and they would tell you that not drinking a glass of Milma paal every day would get them blacklisted from their own house.
Milma is to Malayalis what Amul is to Mumbaikars. It provides the required calcium we need in our bodies and strength to our bones. Where do you think Suresh Gobi got the energy to dance to the tune of his election campaign in Kerala? Where do you think Sharan Nair gets the enthusiasm to do bizarre things in full power? Milma, of course. This talk of Milma has got us craving for some hot milk with ammade kaipunyam. But, have you wondered how a household name became as famous as Mammooty or Mohanlal in Kerala?
Milma, or the Kerala Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (KCMMF), was part of the second phase of the Operation Flood programme of the National Dairy Development Board. For those who’re unaware, Operation Flood was the world’s biggest dairy development program, launched in 1970. It made India the largest milk producer in the world. While it sustained India’s dairy production, it also helped poor farmers retain their livelihood. With its head office in Thiruvananthapuram, the KCMMF is a Federation of Regional three Regional Milk Unions – ERCMPU ( Ernakulam region), TRCMPU (Thiruvananthapuram region) and MRCMPU (Malabar region). Ever since it started in the 1980s, Milma has been distributing pasteurized Vitamin A enriched milk along with other milk-based products. Kerala was apparently one of the few states that managed to make Operation Flood a success.
We should thank the ‘Father of the White Revolution’ in India, Verghese Kurien for igniting our love affair with Milma. He was a man who made dairy farming and production India’s largest self-sustaining industry and rural employment contributor with developmental schemes through Operation Flood.
Where there is Milma, there’s a Malayali consuming it in its various forms. Our mothers introduced Milma to our lives and the White Revolution introduced it to Kerala. The next time you sip on a glass of fresh milk from Milma, don’t forget to appreciate the hard work that went into the making of Milma.