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Saturday, 2 August 2008

A Philanthropic Genius

A philanthropic genius
Sunit Dhawan
Tribune News Service

Garhi Balb (Rohtak), March 13
Most of us would be confident of knowing tables till 20 or 25. Some having a sound mathematical acumen may remember the tables till 50, while those of us who dreaded the subject might know only till 10 or 15. Meet Surender, a class IX student of Garhi Balb village in Rohtak district, who knows tables till - hold your breath - 11,000.

Ask him any from between and he'll come up with the correct answer in a jiffy. Many a time, he is even faster than calculator. And on knowing the circumstances in which he lives and studies, one feels likes saluting the laborious lad.

Surender's father was an alcoholic and died when the boy was quite young. His mother is not well and is unable to care of Surender and his elder brother. His grandfather somehow tries to make both ends meet with his limited means. Their house is in a shambles.

However, despite all odds, this brave young boy never lost hope and devoted himself to his studies. The depth of his character can be gauged from the fact that Surender teaches younger children of his village in his free time and does not charge any fee from them.

"He teaches our children but refuses to accept any money in return," says an elderly woman of his neighbourhood.

Seeing Surender's sincerity amidst trying circumstances, Rohtak-based Sristi Gyan Kendra, a voluntary organisation, came forward and arranged a monthly scholarship for him.

"Mathematics and English are my favorite subjects and I want to become a teacher when I grow up," he says on being asked about his likes and ambition.

No wonder, this 15-year-old boy is becoming a role model for other children of his village. Having learnt to face adversities with his steel-like will at a tender age, this altruistic genius can be our role model as well.

Friday, 1 August 2008

Rajasthan farmers meet Haryana innovators

Rajasthan farmers meet Haryana innovators
Sunit Dhawan
Tribune News Service

Rohtak, December 23
It was an assimilation of a novel kind - and quite a unique one. Fifty-odd farmers from the Nauhar area of Rajasthan met a group of progressive farmers of Haryana; and exchanged their views and ideas on the farming practices and techniques prevalent in their respective regions.

The Haryanavi farmers present on the occasion, most of whom were innovators and inventors of useful agricultural techniques, told about these to their Rajasthani counterparts. For instance, a local innovator, Tejvir, explained the functioning of an energy-saving pump developed by him which could lift water using less power.

The farmers from Rajasthan evinced keen interest in the techniques and shared their views and ideas with the Haryanavi farmers. They also told the local farmers about various effective agricultural practices used by them.

The Rajasthan delegation was led by Balbir Singh, deputy director (agriculture), Government of Rajasthan, while the assimilation programme was organised by HAFED, in collaboration with a local NGO, Srishti Gyan Kendra.

Local district manager of HAFED V.K. Sangwan took the visiting farmers on a visit to the cattle feed plant and informed them about different schemes and programmes being run by the Haryana government for the welfare of farmers.

The executive officer of the NGO, Kamaljeet, said the visiting farmers were shown a presentation depicting various path-breaking and efficient innovations made by agriculturists and others all over the country.

The Rajasthan farmers appreciated the painstaking efforts made by the volunteers of the kendra and invited them to their place so that they could get acquainted with the traditional wisdom and inventions as well.

UP farmer’s crop varieties a rage in Haryana

UP farmer’s crop varieties a rage in Haryana
Sunit Dhawan
Tribune News Service

Farmer Prakash Singh Raghuvanshi shows a wheat variety, developed by him, in Rohtak on Saturday.
Farmer Prakash Singh Raghuvanshi shows a wheat variety, developed by him, in Rohtak on Saturday. — Photo Manoj Dhaka

Rohtak, January 19
Despite being visually impaired, Prakash Singh Raghuvanshi, a small-time farmer of Banaras, has shown way to lakhs of agriculturists across the country. Several wheat, paddy and mustard crop varieties developed by him have become a rage in many areas of Haryana.

On a mission to free the farming sector from market-dependence, he has distributed scores of self-developed high-yielding crop varieties among about 10 lakh farmers of many states.

Raghuvanshi’s efforts were acknowledged at the highest level last year when he was honoured by the then President Dr A.P.J.Abdul Kalam, with a national award under the National Innovation Foundation.

“The farmers should adopt self-developed seeds and manure instead of depending upon external agencies like private companies for the basic farm inputs,” observed Raghuvanshi while talking to The Tribune here today.

“Seeds are produced in farmer’s field and not in any factory or laboratory,” asserted the visionary farmer, who has himself developed as many as 100 varieties of wheat, 10 each of paddy and arhar, besides those of several other fruit and vegetables. These crop varieties are getting increasingly popular in Haryana as well, with a number of farmers coming forward to adopt them.

“These crops are a class apart from the ones we had been using in our fields for long,” said Dinesh Kumar, a farmer from Manoli village in Sonepat district.

“Raghuvanshi’s crop varieties are also popular in Kaithal, Kurukshetra, Rohtak and many other parts of the state,” claims Kamal Jeet, executive officer, Sristi Gyan Kendra, Rohtak, which had invited the progressive farmer to the town.

The good results are now being authenticated, with agencies like the Indian Institute of Pulses Research, Banaras Hindu University and Kanpur University.

A Philanthropic Genius

Monday, 18 February 2008

Getting innovators their due

Sunit Dhawan
Tribune News Service

Rohtak, February резрек

Sudda Khan, an illiterate ironsmith of Mandola village in Mahendragarh district, developed a working model in which he operates 10 water-sprinkler nozzles with the help of a camel. This model is a big energy-saver, as even the electric-powered engine normally used for the purpose can run seven nozzles.

Chander Bhan, an illiterate farm labourer of Ballam village in Rohtak district, has designed a compact and hygienic well with the help of common plastic pipes all by himself.

Baba Bhundu Ram, an elderly resident of Katesra village in Rohtak, has spent his entire life growing and protecting trees in and around the village. He used novel methods such as covering the lower trunks of the trees with thorny bushes to save them from stray animals.

The examples can be multiplied. However, the sad part was that the innovators hardly get any support or recognition from the society. Neither their innovations were popularised nor did they get any financial benefit from these.

It was with the thought of identifying such innovators and promoting their talent that Rohtak-based Srishti Gyan Kendra has launched a campaign. The voluntary organisation works as part of Honeybee Network under the aegis of the National Innovation Foundation (NIF).

The centre recently rolled out its vehicle, SAKSHAM-II, for the scouting and documentation of innovators, popularising their innovative techniques throughout the state and looking out for business linkages for the innovators.

It may be pertinent to mention here that several innovators identified by the Honeybee network have been awarded and honoured by the President of India.

“We work with a two-pronged strategy of identifying patentable innovations and referring the same to the NIF; and publicising the innovations which cannot be patented, but have great social relevance,” says Kamal Jeet, chief executive officer of the Srishti Gyan Kendra.

He says the vehicle would tour the entire state during which new innovators would be identified and their innovations popularised. Regarding the nomenclature of the vehicle, he maintains that SAKSHAM stands for the “System for Augmenting Knowledge among Society and Hunting Un-Acknowledged Minds” and since they had launched their first such vehicle in 2002, the new one has been christened SAKSHAM-II. The vehicle was brought before the people on the occasion of the Republic Day celebrations.

“The innovators are doing great work in the state. The volunteers of the Srishti Gyan Kendra are also putting in tremendous efforts in identifying and promoting them,” says Beena Sengar, a senior fellow-cum-innovation officer from Ahemdabad, who recently visited Haryana.While a number of people have been developing innovative techniques in their quest of doing something different, this is perhaps for the first time that such a concerted attempt has been made to acknowledge and promote their talent. To put it in Beena’s words, “You have to see it to believe it.”

Monday, 28 January 2008