Sunday, July 7, 2013

A journey to Badoli(Gujrat)

 It is easy plan a hundred ideas, but very difficult to implement atleast one . I dedicate this blog to Dr. Varghese Kurien, who had changed the life of thousands of people in Gujrat. He was the REAL MAN OF TWENTIETH CENTURY... 

Our journey to Sabarkantha district started on 18th june 2013.There were 14 people in our group,who were further sub divided into 7 groups and would be send to various villages in Sabarkantha. My teammate was Shailesh Kumar Tiwary from Gorakhpur. Though I had met him on last day, we never got much chance to talk or plan about the journey.We all were supposed to leave by 6 am from college ,then to reach the Sabar diary by noon.But as we all know , a college is a college and we proved that in terms of punctuality. All participants reached near vehicle by 7.15 am and our journey began. We were going in 3 vehicles, 5 each including faculty(Asmita Vyas Madam).The beginning of a great trip…

 The journey to Sabar Diary was a short, sweet one.Sidhardh from Odisa , Sanjay from Gujrat, Shailesh from Uttar Pradesh , Amit from Bihar and I, from Kerala. So a perfect mix was set in our vehicle to have a great discussion on various customs and beliefs of people in various parts of our country.We started discussions with ‘NaMo’ wave in Gujrat to Communist party in Kerala, Odisha to Malayalam,various beliefs across different states etc. We reached Sabar diary by 10 am. 

Sabar diary is one of the biggest diaries of AMUL with an average collection of 12.2 lakh litres of milk per day. On last february it had shown a record of 16.07 lakh litres. One thing that influenced me in the diary is the prayer before work. Everyone stood up and sang prayer before the work. In a nation, where culture is degrading , the Sabar Diary office stands different. I think, all co operative diaries in Gujrat starts work with prayer and this give them power to reach greater heights. The officers in the plant first took a session on how the co operative society works, how they collect milk from various units, CSR work of co operative units and so on. After this , we were taken to processing  centre where the milk collected from farmers is processed to various products like packet milk for sales,  ghee, milk powder etc. It was really amazing to see 8 huge tanks standing one after other , each having a capacity of 1 lakh litres to collect milk. It was a totally different experience for me, as I have seen only one industry in my life  - the IT Industry.
Harvesting Machine
After having lunch from Sabar diary, we started our journey to Badoli, which is a village in North Gujrat, around hundred kilometres away from Rajasthan. After dropping Santhosh and Siddharth at Narsipura ( a village in Sabarkantha district , 7 km from Badoli) and Amith and Sanjay at Godhamji, we all reached at Badoli around 5.30 pm. I think, our Madam, Asmita Vyas was very doubtful whether Shailesh and me,  will stay patiently in a village for 3 days.So, before leaving she reminded us the same thing that she said before the journey began. "You are not supposed to leave village before 21st June." Our stay was arranged in Doodh Mandli (Milk Co operative Diary) in Badoli.

 After the vehicles left to drop other participants in other villages, the first thing I did was, I checked whether we have toilets. (there was a reason behind this search as we had some wrong idea about some villages here). I was surprized to see a brand new toilet. It was so new, that they have not even fitted tap!!!!! In the mean time, Shailesh had gone to check the hotel where our food had been arranged for next 3 days. After a few minutes a person came to check the facilites for us . I had tried to explain them the facilities that we needed to stay. It was then, I realized that truth.None of the villagers knew English. It was my mistake that I thought there will be atleast someone who might know English. But to be honest that turned out to be a bliss for me, as at the end on 4th day, muje sirf hindi hi nahi gujrathi bhi aati di!!!  I just managed to tell him what all we need for stay. I must say that villagers are really efficient. Within 15 minutes we got 2 beds, 2 buckets and a tap, which was fitted in toilet!!! We got the room where the Vetnary doctor used to sit in Cooperative society. So he was not able to sit there and perform his normal duties till Friday. ( I hope, all cows and buffaloes in village will not be angry on us) . By 6.30pm , two people in the village, Raju Bhai and Kalpesh Patel came to meet the two outsiders at dooth mandli.
The real story will begin from here!!!

Raju Bhai and Kalpesh Patel in Chilly field
Kalpesh bhai had taken degree in Rural Management .He was very happy to know that we came there to study their village. Kalpesh and Raju Bhai have some agricultural land in village. I felt like they were send by god at correct time to help us. We, Shailesh and I, went to their land on their bikes. Kalpesh bhai told us that they are really lucky people as they get ground water around 140-150 feet depth. I was really surprised to hear those words , as people in kerala are always sad if we didn’t find water at a depth of 25-30 feet.If we have no water at 30 feet, it is the end of world for us!!! They took a class to us on drip irrigation, how it had helped them to reduce wastage of water and how it helped to increase profit. They had planted groundnut ,guar and chilly in their fields now, which will be replaced by wheat and bajra by the end of monsoon.As monsoon had came a little earlier their production had decreased, but still they were happy as they know this will ultimately help to increase production on next season.

After spending almost one and half hours in field, they took us to a cattle farm – Goshaala . It was a big farm with more than 15 cows ,two oxen and around 7 calves. Those who owned agriculture land had cattle farm also as they complemented each other. The plants in field after cultivation will be given to cattle as their food. So they usually do not have to spend much money for cattle food. And the cow dung was put in the field as fertilizer for next round of cultivation. So they can reduce the money they spend on purchasing chemical fertilizers. (What an idea sirji!!!). By 8.30 pm we reached back . 

Thus , by the end of first day evening , we had had an idea about the cultivation and cattle farming at Badoli.If we had not met Kalpesh bhai and Raju bhai, we can’t imagine how our days in Badoli would  be. But the story didn’t end here. By evening Kalpesh bhai’s brother, parimal Patel also came to see us. He is a teacher in government school in nearby village. They took us to Idar City , and we had a dinner party there!! While rest of my friends in other villages were worrying about food, we had Jeera Rice, Roti and Paneer butter masala!!! 

While having the dinner, they gave us an idea about the social structure of village there. Patel community are the common farmers in the village. All of them own medium to large area of land and have cattle farm also . A few years back , when there was drought , it was difficult to get profit from agriculture. Then, they had started cooperative tile factory!! All patel families have 1-2% share in factory. A total of 20 factories were made and they have a turnover of above 100 crores!!! They also own a cooperative mineral water plant which was made by all members of patel community. But people from all communities can purchase water from the plant.
After dinner , they took us to a small shop in the village where  all of them usually sit and talk till midnight. We too sat there till midnight and then we went to co operative to sleep. 

to be continued ......

click here to read part 2 

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