This septuagenarian 'Green-Revolutionary' leads way with sustainable model farming

Anusha N Bhat | coastaldigest.com
February 2, 2019

At 73-years of age, Mahalinga Naik breaks into a smile, when residents of Amai village at Bantwal taluk point towards him as the local 'Green-Revolutionary'. For a man who never received formal education, Naik has been solely credited for creating a sustainable eco-friendly farmland, which once was barren land and could not even bear a sapling.

At a hillock farmland in Adyanadka, approximately 52 kilometre from the Mangalore city, a two-acre land boasts of 200 banana trees, 300 areca nut trees, 75 coconut palm trees, along with different types of cocoa, pepper vines. The layout of the farmland is not only systematic but does not leave any loose end for wastage. "From mini-irrigational system, conservation of water, to harvesting organic manure, the farmland is equipped to look into each aspect of traditional farm land," says famed Editor of Adike Patrike Shree Padre.

While today the agricultural revolution at Adyanadka has awed several agriculturists, in fact it has even fetched Mahalinga Naik with awards including ‘Krushi Panditha’ conferred by the Karnataka government in 2010. Recently, he was honoured with ‘Mangalore Press Club Award 2018’. Shree Padre has also released a small booklet on Naik by the title ‘Guddada Melina Ekvyakti Sainya’.

It was about forty years ago, when Naik was just another sharecropper at a land owned by one Mahabala Bhat. Earning a daily wage between Rs 1.50 to Rs 5, Naik managed his household. However, pleased with his dedication for the farmland, in 1979, Bhat gave Naik a two-acre land from his property.

“I was overjoyed with emotions, and swiftly was able to build a humble hut for my family. But the land had no water source for cultivation, we had to walk for about a kilometre for it and the effort was futile. I realised that to take care of my farmland and feed my family, I had to do something,” he says.

For the need of drawing water, Naik eventually decided to carve a ‘Suranga’ (tunnel) to naturally draw water for his cultivation. However, given his financial condition, Naik says he was unable to hire labourers, therefore he decided to use his part time from agriculture to dig the Suranga.

Each day, Naik would return from cultivation and then religiously start digging ‘Suranga’ to find the source of water. “My search for water was more instinctive than scientific. I started digging at places approximately about 100 feet each, where I thought I could find water, but was repeatedly disappointed,” he says.

In the pursuit for water, Naik says he has been mocked and even called names by locals for wasting his time. “I didn’t mind being called names, but I continued my effort for about 6-7 hours, day or night. At times I had to either crawl or squeeze myself between tiny spaces to get through these tunnels and excavate soil. My wife would not be happy, when she would come searching late at night,” he says.

For close to five-years, Naik failed in his endeavour. “Except rainy season, I never gave up on the excavation work. But by then, I had dug about four tunnels and not coming face to face with water was a bit unsettling,” he says.

It was only when Naik struck the sixth Suranga, in a bit further location that Naik felt some wetness in soil, which was an indication for the presence of water in the area.

With the new found development, Naik’s optimism had no bounds, he immediately went further to a higher topography and aggressively dug to find water and he did.  “It made me confident to probe further and I dug another one for domestic consumption,” he says.

To boost the texture and moisture of the soil, Naik also created small ponds across several places in the farmland which would capture rainwater, which Naik had learnt in an agriculture workshop. Naik even placed close to over 5,000 laterite stones to build retaining walls and prevent soil erosion.

Slowly the efforts paid-off, the same land which earlier harboured fragmented grass patches, eventually saw the growth of banana, cocoa, pepper vines, coconuts and areca-nuts. Besides, the farmland also hosts eight to ten honeycombs, alongside a vegetable garden where he grows ladies finger, cucumber, brinjal and so on.

Naik’s farm has become a must see model-farmland and has over 500 visitors a year. “When people visit, I feel very happy,” says Naik.

Sticking to his principle of Hasige Iddastu Kaalu Chachu (Being content with what one has), Naik says he would use only one acre of land for cultivation. “In another, I have built a house and want the same land to grow as natural forest so that future generation can benefit from it. If my experience can help others learn to make profit out of farming, then that would make me content,” he says.

Comments

Ann Pinto
 - 
Thursday, 9 May 2019

Wonderful....for sharing your story on how it’s possible to revive water and increase the water table and make a living too..

SD
 - 
Monday, 4 Feb 2019

Well done, Mr. Naik! Very happy that all your hard work paid off.

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News Network
August 11,2022

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Koppal, Aug 11: Two persons were killed and six others were seriously injured in a clash between two groups belonging to different communities in Hulihaidar village of Koppal district in Karnataka on Thursday. 

The deceased have been identified as Basha Wali Sab Maligaddi (22) and Shamappa Talawar (60). The injured are undergoing treatment at a hospital. 
 
A tense atmosphere has prevailed in the village. Police have tightened the security. More details are yet to be known.

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News Network
August 6,2022

Bengaluru, Aug 6: Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Saturday tested positive for Covid-19 with mild symptoms.

His trip to New Delhi stands cancelled. The CM is under self-isolation.

Bommai was to travel to New Delhi today to take part in third meeting of the national committee of 'Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav' and NITI Aayog's Governing Council meeting to be chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi this evening and August 7 morning respectively.

He was also expected to meet BJP's national leadership and hold discussions regarding recent developments in the state and preparations for 2023 assembly polls. 

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News Network
August 11,2022

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Mangaluru, Aug 11: On the lines of Uttar Pradesh, Karnataka Police have started attaching the properties of the persons accused of killing BJP Yuva Morcha activist Praveen Kumar Nettare.

However, no such action has been taken against murders of two Muslim men in Dakshina Kannada – Muhammad Fazil and Muhammad Masood. All three were murdered in the span of 10 days – July 19 to July 28. 

ADGP Alok Kumar confirmed on Wednesday that the process of attaching properties of the accused in Praveen murder case is on. The police along with the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) will attach the properties of the accused persons, he added.

Kumar also said that the main accused in the case are yet to be arrested.

"We have complete information about the killers of Praveen. The accused persons' photos, information about their family members -- everything has been gathered. However, the main accused in the case are being given shelter. They have been shifted to different places," he said.

"We will hold meetings in different districts. Maintaining law and order in the Mangaluru region is our focus. Action will be taken against those who directly or indirectly helped the main accused persons, in coordination with the NIA. The process of issuing warrants via court is on," Kumar said.

When asked about the involvement of Popular Front of India (PFI) in the murder, Kumar stated that few accused persons do have links with the PFI.

"Investigation in this regard is progressing and information regarding the accused who have links with the PFI would be given soon," he stated.

Kumar added that all the seven arrested accused so far are local residents. Now, the focus is on who gave them the instruction to carry out the murder.

On July 26, bike-borne miscreants attacked BJP activist Praveen at Bellare town in Dakshina Kannada district outside his chicken shop and hacked him to death.

Following the murder, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai had cancelled the celebrations of his one year in office. He visited Praveen's family and issued a cheque of Rs 25 lakh as compensation on behalf of the state government. The BJP had given Rs 25 lakh separately.

The incident had triggered a chain of protests by BJP workers all over Karnataka. The agitators had laid siege to Home Minister Araga Jnanendra's residence, causing severe embarrassment to the ruling party.

The probe had revealed that Praveen was targeted for launching a campaign against halal meat.

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