1st ( Gir to Gadhada, Gujarat )

A journey for exploring local creativity

‚ÄčThis shodh yatra has been completed.

1st ( Gir to Gadhada, Gujarat ) Shodhyatra Report

The marchers of SRISTI, in search of local creative talent walked for (250 Kms) in scorching heat of 43oC temperature and went around 47 villages. They gathered priceless knowledge and lifelong memories. The prime-movers of this Shodh Yatra were workers of SRISTI, Shri Paresh Shah, Chimanbhai Parmar, Sameer Parmar, Pravin, Rohit and the students of J.C. Kumarappa Gram Vidyapith, Shambhu Rangpara and Suresh Kambad of Gadhada. The marchers share their experiences and memories in this report here.

Conception of the thought of Shodh Yatra

On 7th and 8th March 1998, Jethabhai Gajera of Divrana, organized a meeting of Sodhsankal at Vallabhbhai Sojitras orchard at Titodi of Junagarh district. The farmer friends present felt that it was important and necessary to encourage organic farming. Moreover there are many honourable people from nearby villages who have found the solutions of their own problems through their inborn ability and presence of mind. There is no information in the society about such people and their activities. There is a need to contact such honourable people and spread their knowledge to other people through Shodh Yatra (a journey of exploration).

A workshop was held on 29th March1998 at Ahmedabad on the subject, "How to make interaction between experimenting farmers and Scientists?", under the project, Management of Natural Resources. This workshop was also attended by the farmers of SRISTI, and Sodhsankal Network. A farmer Gafarbhai Kureshi from Junagarh district, Talala Talukas Village Ramdechi (Gir) gave invitation to start the Shodh Yatra from his place. For this purpose many farmers gave different suggestions about how to conduct Shodh Yatra and finally it was decided to start the Shodh Yatra on foot.

Aims of Shodh Yatra

  1. To learn about the experiences of the farmers engaged in organic farming and inform other farmers about the same.

  2. Encourage the curiosity of the children about variety in organic farming.

  3. To meet the people who solve their problems through their presence of mind and inborn ability, store their knowledge and felicitate them.

  4. To compile the knowledge, which is fast disappearing and establish a dialogue between the old generation and future generation

Organisation of Shodh Yatra

Having decided on the Shodh Yatra, a discussion, on the various activities that need to be carried out during the yatra also took place. It was decided to start the Shodh Yatra from Gafarbhai Kureshi's orchard at Ramdechi (Gir) of Junagarh district and end it at Shri J.C. Kumarappa Gram Vidyapith at Gadhada of Bhavnagar district.

A discussion was held with the principal Chelbhai Shukal of Shri J.C.Kumarappa Gram Vidyapith and Gafarbhai to decide the route of the Shodh Yatra. It was decided to start the Shodh Yatra on 15th May and end it on 23rdMay. This Shodh Yatra aimed at covering 3 districts, 5 talukas,and 47 villages. When the route of the Shodh Yatra was decided, 2 workers of SRISTI visited the villages falling in the route of the Shodh Yatra and met the local leaders, teachers and farmers organisations and talked to them about the objectives of the Shodh Yatra and asked them to extend their support. Night halts and other facilities were organised. On completion of the schedule of the Shodh Yatra, 164 members of SRISTI Honeybee were invited to join the march. In reply to the invitations 12 members replied and showed their willingness to join the Shodh Yatra.

The First Step of the Shodh Yatra

On 15th May 1998, the Shodh Yatra started at sharp 10.00 A.M. from the orchard of Gafarbhai Kureshi of Ramdechi (Gir), district Junagarh with, 18 marchers and many villagers and officials. The representative of Junagarh Agricultural University, Shri. Ustedyabhai, The Taluka Development Officer of Talala Taluka, The President Shri. Vajubhai Cholera of Akshayghad and the Police Inspector of Talala Taluka attended the start of the Shodh Yatra and encouraged the marchers. Prof. Anil Gupta talked about the objectives and the activities of SRISTI giving different examples to give the understanding of the institute and appealed to the farmers to experiment with organic farming in a small part of their farms. Shri. Thakershibhai Bhadabhai Savaliya talked about a new variety of Groundnut discovered by him and gave information about it. Shri. Vajubhai Cholera who had come down from Akshaygadh talked about his experiences of indigenous methods of protecting ones crops. The Aruni gada fame Shri. Amrutbhai Agravat gave information about the various agricultural implements and their specialties. Gafarbhai narrated how he set up a nursery and what he earned at present from it and described his experiences.

Shri. Utsedyabhai described his experiences relating to the indigenous methods of protecting crops and answered the queries of the farmers.

Taluka development officer Shri. Vasudevbhai voiced his opinions about the ill effects of chemical fertilizers pesticides used to increase the production, and about their side effects on the environment and stressed upon the need of retreating from such methods of cultivation.

The Taluka President Shri. Karsanbhai said that the farmers are exploited as they are not organised and appealed to them to organise themselves.

In order to inform the farmers about the activities and objectives of SRISTI an exhibition was held and publications of Honey Bee network, pamphlets etc. were distributed. Moreover the agricultural implements invented by Amrutbhai Agravat, and a three wheeled tractor developed by Bhanjibhai Mathukia were also displayed. This tractor was also utilized to carry the luggage of the marchers, and the Audio- Visual equipment during the entire Shodh Yatra.

An advance party of three members of Shodh Yatra were sent to the concerned villages before rest of the Marchers to inform the villagers in advance so that they could manage time to take part in the various activities of Shodh Yatra. Those passerbys and villagers who did not know about us watched us with curiosity. In Nana Ankadia village a crowd of ladies stopped us to enquire as to what are being sold? To remove their confussion, we started our meeting on the spot thus experiencing the sweet reception and hospitality of the village people as we marched ahead.

Programme and Activities during the Shodh Yatra

Night Meets

Night meetings were arranged in the villages where we had to take night halts. In these Gramsabhas the villagers were informed about the objectives of SRISTI I.I.M.A.) Gram Vidyapeeth and Honey Bee Network. Moreover they were also informed about the objectives and programmes of the Shodh Yatra. The farmer members of Honey Bee network participating in the Shodh Yatra like Amrutbhai Agravat, Badribhai Patel, Thakersibhai Savaliya, Bhanjibhai Mathukiya and Gafarbhai Kureshi informed the villagers about their innovations and experiments.

Thakershibhai talked about a new variety of Groundnut Morla, developed by him. Amrutbhai Agravat talked about the new implements invented by him and the Aruni Gada to the villagers. Bhanjibhai Mathukia talked about the special type of tractor, developed by him and satisfied the curiosity of the villagers. Gafarbhai talked about his Nursery and the various plants, trees and herbs nurtured by him.

Thus the villagers learnt many new things from the members of the Shodh Yatra. The local villagers also talked about their own developments through their inborn ability. Merabhai Tapubhai Makwana of Hiranvel village talked about the special hook developed by him to retrieve the submersible motor trapped in the tube well. Thus villagers of each village narrated their experiences.

Competition on Biodiversities

During the Shodh Yatra, competitions on biodiversities were held at Kalavad, Khijadiya, Prempara and Vdera. In these competitions the students and other children of the village were asked to identify and stick the samples of vegetation found in their village on a cardboard and list down their various usage. Each student was orally tested regarding the samples they had brought along and the students making the best impact were given certificates to encourage them. Many villagers also joined in the programme.

Cooking Competition

A cooking competition was organised for the ladies of Shaikhpiperiya village and the person who cooked the most nutritious variety from local ingredients was encouraged by giving a prize and a certificate. The first prize went to Labhuben Ramjibhai Kumbhani who prepare the leafy vegetable of Tandalja.

Embroidery Competition

Embroidery competitions were organised at Prempara, Khijadiya, Ghoghasamdy and Sheikhpipadiya. Those ladies who do embroidery in their free time were asked to produce their samples. Those who were selected, for their work, were presented with prize and certificate.

Co-ordination of Methods Developed by Inborn Ability and Ingenuity

While marching ahead during the Shodh Yatra we came across many villagers with innovative ideas. Also Gramsabha discussions revealed many informations. Such ideas and informations were documented.

Felicitation of Creative Villagers

During the Shodh Yatra the farmers active in organic farming, those who had developed new methods through their creative abilities and ingenuity, the villagers who had helped in publicity of the aims and objectives of the Shodh Yatra and the oldest person of the village were felicitated and presented with a set of the volumes of Madhubindu; "Samvad thi Sanshodhan Sudhi" and various issues of Loksarvani.

The Last Stoppage of Shodh Yatra

The last night halt of the Shodh Yatra was at Ghoghasamadi 13 Kms away from Gadhada. The marchers decided that they should walk further for a certain distance after the end of the Gramsabha.They started walking at midnight and via Raniyana village, reached Gadhada at 6 AM on 22nd May where the Shodh Yatra was to end.

The Conclusion

The concluding ceremony of the Shodh Yatra was held at Shri. J.C.Kumarappa Gram Vidhyapeeth, Gadhada.Shri. Chelbhai Shukla welcomed the marchers and thanked them for such an adventurous venture. Prof. Anil Gupta talked about the conception and thought behind the Shodh Yatra and provided information about the various activities of SRISTI Network and the reason for going back to organic farming. He provided many examples to explain his thoughts to the people. Prof. Gupta said that we had started two types of yatra, one on the foot and the other a yatra of the mind. The yatra on the foot had ended but the yatra of the mind will continue forever. Highlights of the Shodh YatraDuring the Shodh Yatra the marchers walked for 16 Kms to 40 Kms per day. At Thordi, near Babapur village in Amreli district, there is Budhanath Mahadev, where we saw a 225 years old Neem tree. Shri. Ramjibhai Sankadiya of Sheikhpipadiya village of Amreli district is trying to invent an engine which can work on water. Two first year students of Shri. J.C.Kumarappa Gram Vidhyapeeth, Shambhu and Suresh accompanied Prof. Anil Gupta throughout the journey.During the Shodh Yatra, night meetings (in eight villages), cooking competition (13 ladies), biodiversity competition in three villages (12 students) were held.The Shodh Yatra passed through 43 villages, 3 districts and 5 talukas and covered a distance of 250Kms.There were 18 marchers at the start of the Shodh Yatra while on the last day there were 12 marchers. Five members had joined the march in between.During the Shodh Yatra 12 methods of crop protection, 10 methods of cattle rearing, 9 technical upgradations and 13 general innovations were discussed and documented.7 farmers were encouraged on organic farming and experiments with them were agreed to continue.There were 8 day halts and 8 night halts during the period of Shodh Yatra between 15th May to 23rd May.The center of attraction during the Shodh Yatra was a small computer. The database information when exhibited to the villagers created ripple of surprise among them. Moreover overhead projectors were used to show them various new methods and all of these activities were recorded on the video.We were excited as the Shodh Yatra passed through the Gir Forest. The Maldharis of Gir said that if you want to save the Gir Lion you will have to protect the Maldharis as by law of nature birds and animals live where man lives.The night halt of the Shodh Yatra in the Gir forest was at Alawani Nes and all the marchers decided to sleep out in the open. When the marchers smelt the presence of some wild animal three marchers woke up and sat by the campfire throughout the night.Maldhari Ismaiyl Miyan Sayeed of Lakkadpura Nes showed us a Tamarind tree which was 200 years old.At Prempara village in Junagadh district, we met Jivraj Bapa who is 104 years old, who has the ability to work for 18 hours a day and has a large store of experiences and had an enjoyable dialogue with the marchers. The SRISTI is preparing a life sketch of Jivraj Bapa.In Prempara village of Junagadh district there is an Rayantree which still stands intact even after 180 years.We did not get a proper guidance of the road leading from Satadhar to Kalavad. So the Shodh Yatra was diverted to a different road and walked for 2Kms only to be re-routed to the correct road.While travelling from Mandvada to Babapur village, we met two farmers who insisted upon paying a token sum to purchase the issues of Loksarvani. The marchers praised the villagers attitude of not accepting the magazine without paying for it.Prof. Anil Gupta asked Ismaiyl Miyan Sayeed of Lakkadpura Nes, "Dose the Lion come here?" to which Ismaiyl Miyan gave a very subtle answer "the Lion lives here but very few people like you come here to learn about our troubles."

Novel Ideas

During the Shodh Yatra while travelling from one village to another, we met villagers, farmers and learnt new methods of crop protection, cattle rearing and improved implements which were developed by them. We referred them to the readers of Loksarvani.

Hook to retrieve the motor trapped in a tube well

Jerambhai Tapubhai Makwana, Hiranvel, Ta. Talala; Dis.Junagadh.

If a motor has fallen in a well or a tube well it is difficult to take it out. To take out such motors from the well , Jerambhai has developed a special type of hook. This hook has a lock which has two parts. At Hiranvel a farmers motor was trapped in a 190 feet deep bore well which was retrieved by the special hook developed by Jerambhai.

Some veterinary experiences of Ukabhai Vashram Rabari at Mota Mandvada, Ta. Amreli; Dis. Amreli.

If a goat is suffering from diaroheea then it can be cured by giving 50 g of castor oil. If any animal is hurt and have formed rashes and worms have developed in the wound than the extract of Karen (Nerium) seeds should be applied so that the worms would die.

If a she goat finds difficulty in delivering she should be fed with the leaves of Karen (Nerium) so that her pain can be eased. If any animal is not coming out in heat than she should be fed 500g of carrot seeds mixed with its normal fodder.

Insects in wheat and treatment of animals which are hurt

Jivrajbhai Rayani, Po.Prempura,Ta. Visavadar; Dis. Junagarh.

If the Wheat is harvested after the full moon ( krishnapaksh) it would not be affected by insects but if harvested after the New moon (shuklapaksha) it would be affected by insects.

If a bullock is hurt and bleeding than apply a cotton pad with Ankda milk on it which would immediately stop oozing. If an animal is hurt and the bleeding cannot be controlled then knead in Gypto which would control the bleeding.

Method to control a pest in cotton

Hansrajbhai Thakershibhai.Vaghasiya Po.Aankadiya, Ta.& Dis.Amreli

If pest, by the name Talkidi, has developed in cotton, the same can be treated by sprinkling 100 gms of liquid made of 2Kg Bajara flour mixed in 10 litres of water and kept for 20 days.

If an animal has developed a gastro problem

Labhuben Manjibhai Vanada, Po.Khijadiya, Ta.Amreli; Dis Amreli.

Take black salt, Dill seeds, Sauf seeds, old Jaggery in equal quantity and boil it in an earthen pot. Allow it to cool and then feed the sick animal through narrow tube or pipe twice or thrice a day.

A cart with dispensing fertilizers in a furrow

Vashrambhai Gokadbhai Rabari, Po.Rangpur, Ta, Dis. Amreli

The farmers add chemical fertilizer to the farm before the monsoon. Traditionally the fertilizer is heaped in the field at different places and is than spread on the furrows which is a very laborious job. So to reduce workload, a cart has been developed with a square outlet at the end of the cart fitted with two pipes through which the fertilizer can be spread over the furrows directly. There is a lid to close and open this outlet. When the fertilizer is loaded in the cart the lid is closed and then opened in the field. This method requires only two people to complete the work. There are about 50 such carts in Rangpur village.