Eating is an agricultural act - Wendell Berry

Friday, June 25, 2010

the legendary bhaskar save

जहाँ ज्ञान का अभाव है, वहां अज्ञान खुद को विज्ञान कहलाता है। (jahan gyaan ka abhaav hai, wahan agyaan khudko vigyaan kehlata hai), i.,e., where knowledge is scarce, ignorance masquerades as science.

and more such delectable quotes from our interaction with the legendary bhaskar save - the main objective of the 4 day trip. and needless to say, my stand out experience from gujarat.
he became a internet phenom and the darling of activists, with his open letter castigating MS Swaminathan on his lead role in destroying the country's agriculture.
in person, he indicates that Nehru was just as culpable.

after 3 years of conventional (chemical intensive) farming in the early 50s, bhaskarbhai quickly comprehended the loss-inducing economics and soil damaging characteristics of this method.
after coming across gandhiji's 4 principles of farming, he transformed his farm using the natural farming approach. the 4 principles:
1. ahimsa - all living beings have an equal right on earth.
2. everything that nature allows to grow is useful.
3. खेती धंदा नहीं, धर्म है - kheti dhanda nahin, dharm hai (agriculture is not a business, but one's duty/religion).
4. we (humans) only have the rights over fruits and seeds. the rest belongs to nature/soil.
gandhiji's remarkable writings on a whole host of topics are easily available here.
gandhiji was one of the earliest environmentalists and his insight and foresight is amazing.

back to bhaskarbhai then.
the shift to natural farming methods quickly made him and his farm - kalpavruksh, an agricultural shrine.
the list of organic farmers in gujarat runs to over 100 pages and the credit rests lightly on his shoulders.
later day natural/organic farming evangelists - palekar, dabholkar, suchde, etc., have learnt at this gurukul.

kalpavruksh was visited in 1997 by the god-awesome fukuoka.
his entries in the visitors' book are captured below.

a forest of a variety of fruit and other trees thickly populate the farm.

trees are vital for agriculture. it is tragic that this simple concept is such an absent sight in today's farmlands.

he grows (along with 2 sons and a grandson), tons of coconuts (a record breaking 300-400 nuts per tree) - which he mostly sells as saplings, chikoos (sapotas), betelnet, custard apple, papayas, bananas, aloe vera, rice, wheat, moong dal and an assortment of herbs and seasonal vegetables.
this list is populated by short life grains/legumes/vegetables, medium life trees and long life trees.
this is the diversity that is critical for each farm.

in each patch, there is a croton, which is a groundwater indicator (its roots reaches down only till 8 inches and if it looks dull, then the top 8 inches lacks necessary moisture). simple and elegant, eh.

here is our group - siddharth, csm, bhaskarbhai and ananthu and karpagam behind the camera.

we had flooded him with a lot of questions over a 3 hour session on day 2 of the visit. he fielded them with the aplomb that azhar displayed against klusener.
bhaskarbhai summarises, "it is all in shraddha (श्रद्धा), saboori (सबूरी) and prayog (प्रयोग) (dedication, patience and experimentation)."


Moina.Memon said...

very informative!!!

Kishore said...

It is individual and groups working incessantly towards the betterment of the nation and society that keeps us all moving forward.

In their own ways, they change the world for the better and I feel that we, as individuals, should do whatever we can to keep the work going forward and growing. It is for us to be inspired, look within ourselves and see where we can be of help and not a hindrance to society.

RT Kaushik said...

It would be very interesting if you have a transcription of your 3 hour conversation ! I guess it is asking for the impossible, but any summary under various heads of discussion..if possible.

You must have seen his famous platform irrigation method ? Are you going to try it out at pR ?

csm said...

kaushik - check this blog post by ananthu who was one of the crew.

we learnt about the tiered system of planting. he drew it for us.

also we bought his book with the letter to MSS and the detailed annexures. the book practically covered all the things he said.
we did have some questions based on our 6 months of trials and he shared his thoughts which was summarised in the last line of my post.

Jayadeep(JDP) said...

Ahimsa sounds a bit odd to me - himsa is part of parcel of nature IMO. It is one way of keeping the whole thing in balance. As long as you kill to eat, all is fair in nature!

csm said...

jdp - the core reference is to the behaviour of humans while using pesticides and insecticides...

Jayadeep(JDP) said...

got that part after reading a bit more on that. Never imagined crotons can be used for the water levels - I always thought it was a useless plant. But then everything is useful in nature, only thing is, we have forgotten the uses!