A bird watcher to a land reformer


The Bird Watcher

As a young girl struck with polio , Revathy , spent most of her early years watching the birds. Before she realized, this soon grew into a serious hobby and at one point Revathy was able to identify almost 100 birds just by their voice or even sometimes by the shadow. It was natural that Revathy turned this hobby into a profession and since her father was a headmaster, teaching came naturally to her.

Introduction to Agriculture

Revathy, along with the help of Center for Environmental Education, went on to build the bird watching clubs , the Eco clubs at the school level. This became very popular not only with the kids, but also with the parents. During this time she along with her students took up a research project which was basically to analyse the reason for the increase in the number of bird deaths. It didn’t take much time for her team to figure out that there was a direct co-relation between the  shocking decline in the bird population and the ever increasing dependence on the fertilizers, pesticides and other chemicals.

It was then, Revathy had decided to step into agriculture to understand the

  1. reason for the dependence on chemical farming.
  2. reason for the increase in the number of farmer suicides.

Taking matters into her own hands

Luckily for her , since she didn’t have any pre conceived notions of agriculture, she turned out to be a very good student and soon understood the fundamentals of agricultures. The school had vast acres of land which gave her a perfect platform to experiment and subsequently prove that organic farming or nature farming is the best way of agriculture. The near by villages stared visiting the farm lands to see the  results of organic farming and since then Revathy never looked back. She grew every single day and along with the invaluable support from both her husband and her son, the trio have developed themselves into a team of researchers, reformers, counselors, advisors, basically everything the farmer needed from the time of sowing the seed to reaping the benefits of his harvest.

Land Reclamation

Soon this knowledge and expertise was put to greater test , when the Tsunami struck and made 100’s of acres of land unusable. The Tsunami increased the salinity the soil  to great almost 22 and  huge sands from the bottom of the sea were deposited on the farm lands. Revathy and her husband made the Tsunami affected villages their temporary home and worked with great dedication and with a never say die attitude helped reclaimed a significant portion of the land. The reclamation , by the way, was ruled out by the scientific community which included all the bignames, the big institutions, the big ministers.

The Take Aways

I was lucky enough to have had  almost 5 hours of interaction and to have gotten a glimpse of her journey thus far.

  • The fundamental principle of agriculture is leave the bottom part of the crop to the soil, the middle part to the animals ( i.e. cattle ) and the top part for the humans.
  • There is no need for ploughing the fields. Leave it to the experts i.e. the earthworms. No machinery, no technology can replace what nature has provided.
  • Don’t leave the land ( also referred as our mother )  naked. Cover it with mulch.
  • Use cow dung and cow’s urine as the main ingredients for manure for the crop.
  • Stay away from mono cropping.
  • Don’t kill the insects by using the pesticides, instead let them the do their job. Not all the insects attack the crops, as a matter of fact, they are part of the army that protect the crops.
  • Basically spend more time in farm designing and less time in growing the crop. Let the Mother nature take care of growing the crop.
  • And last but not the least , DON’T MESS WITH NATURE .

So Revathy , thank you for everything !! Hopefully, I can take inspiration from you and at least be of any help in turning your of school of thought  into an institution so that the results can be replicated and be more far reaching.

To learn more about Revathy and her work

  1. http://aidindia.org/main/content/view/697/219/
  2. http://www.tsunami-india.org/what_we_do/field_update/organic.htm
  3. http://publications.aidindia.org/content/view/737/130/
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One thought on “A bird watcher to a land reformer

Add yours

  1. Dear Suresh, Thanks a lot for this useful report. Thanks to Aid India and Revathy for they have done and doing. I am fortunate to meet Revathy and other like minded people at Princeton. Need to start organic farming in Revathy’s way in AP. Will follow up.

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