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Tribhuvandas Kishibhai Patel (22 October 1903 – 3 June 1994) was the founder of the Kaira District Co-operative Milk Producers’ Union in 1946, and later the Amul co-operative movement in Anand, Gujarat, India.

Born on 22 October 1903, in Anand, Gujarat, to Kishibhai Patel, Tribhuvadas became a follower of Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel during the Indian independence movement, and especially the civil disobedience movements, which led to his repeated imprisonment in 1930, 1935 and 1942.

He is known as the father of the cooperative movement in India and also known as the father of white revolution in India.

By the late 1940s, he started working with farmers in Kheda district, with the guidance of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, and after setting it the Union, he hired a young manager named Verghese Kurien in 1950, who has since become synonymous with Amul, for his leadership of the co-operative movement, till 2005.

Tribhovandas Patel was awarded the 1963 Ramon Magsaysay Award for ‘Community Leadership’, together with Dara Nusserwanji Khurody, and Verghese Kurien., and the Padma Bhushan from the Govt. of India in 1964.

He remained Secretary/President of the Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC), Indian National Congress (Congress I), and also a member of Rajya Sabha twice, 1967–1968 and 1968 -1974 from the party.

When he voluntarily retired from the Chairmanship of AMUL, in the early 1970s, he was presented with a purse of six hundred thousand rupees, by the grateful members of the village cooperatives — one rupee per member being the contribution. He used this fund to start a charitable trust, named the Tribhuvandas Foundation – an NGO to work on women and child health in Kheda district. He was the first Chairman of Tribhuvandas Foundation. He handed over the chairmanship to Verghese Kurien, when the organisation started to grow quickly, after receiving funds from foreign grants.

The Chairperson of the National Dairy Development Board, Dr.(Ms) Amrita Patel assessed Tribhuvandas Foundation thus in an international workshop ” Tribhuvandas Foundation, which is Asia’s largest NGO, works in over 600 villages in the State in the field of maternal and infant care. What is unique about the programme of the Foundation is that it rides on the back of milk. It is the village milk co-operative that appoints a village health worker and pays an honorarium to the village health worker to undertake the work. So it is milk paying for health.”

  • 1963: Ramon Magsaysay Award for ‘Community Leadership’
  • 1964: Padma Bhushan