Thursday, January 11, 2007

India poised?

A small news item in the national daily went unnoticed. The Nithari carnage and election fever takes up all real estate in print these days. The news in that item was worth a headline. I could not let it pass without giving it thought or a mention in these columns.

A farmer in a tiny WB village, yes, the very state simmering with discontent over land acquisitions and anti- SEZ sentiments, has found a simple way to spray fertilizers on this newly sowed crops. It’s very simple, really. But the convenience it has brought the inventor and his family can only be imagined.

It began when he ran out of ‘means’ and ways to fertilize his fields. He hitched three bicycle wheels together (like a rikshaw’s three wheels) and mounted a tank on top. The tank had shower like outlets on both sides. At the backend he attached a bicycle handle with to be able to maneuver the mobile tank. The handle also had brake like devices. And guess what powered this contraption? The wheel movement and pressing of those brake like devices from which sprung the small air pumps. Easy? Simple? For you and me, maybe. For mister poor farmer from WB…….very very ingenious!!

The reporter was good enough to further state how this clever man sings contently everytime he uses his invention to care for his crop.

This is that India straining at the leash to spring forth and grow. Let us urbanites, all techno-savy and worldwise, not be lenient on ourselves nor let us be fooled that we are the ones on the cutting edge waiting for that next big wave. Let us not dominate the stage and dictate how the world sees us. Let us make way for what happens behind that wall of statistics. Let the people behind the news come forward. What may come to us with ease comes to others after a trial by fire. And this is what makes their little victories all the more important and noteworthy.

On a trek in the Himalayas a few years ago, I saw how villagers had diverted a fast flowing stream through a man made channel and used the hydel power thus generated to operate their corn grinding machine. It was an ‘Aha!’ moment. There will, I am sure, be thousands of such souls, looking inward for help than anywhere else. There will be many success charted by India Inc, there will be the pride of acquisitions in foreign lands, there will be sunrise industries and careers. When they are all long gone, and the sun has set, it is these pockets of brilliance that will sustain……and show the way.

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