Nagappa Adargulchi came back from Noolvi where he was away for four years, looking for jobs, and money to send to his family. He now makes Rs.48,000 a year from his 2.5 acre holding.
Being green without fuss:
These are real people you can take a train and go meet in the next 48 hours. They are also simple-minded people who innately believe in ideas we only mouth from time to time and maybe not quite believe in. They are not blaming the government or looking for hand-outs. They do not think India is a country to quit for a better life. They don't even quit their villages anymore. They venerate the earth,water, sincere work, community spirit, tolerance and the power of savings. They are more modern than many of us, having broken down caste barriers, accepting women's role in development and overcoming taboos like cooking gas coming from toilet waste.
Dr Bhat and his team have harnessed their great human spirit and showcase it at the annual Hasiru Habba, the 'Green Festival'. The day long event begins with full pots of water—'poorna kumbha'—taken out on a ceremonial parade, in order to bring water into sharp focus. Then they fan out to a chosen wasteland and plant trees useful to the community. Since 2001, when the Festival began, 110,000 saplings have been planted in 110 acres, with a 60% survival rate. Then there is a formal public meeting where everyone swears to protect the trees. The day ends with cultural programmes and a celebratory community meal.
Meditations at a lunch:
Malleshappa's house is warm and cosy with clutter. His wife has just served a smoke flavoured lunch on the floor by the hearth. Malleshappa is reminiscing on a full stomach, as Dr Bhat sits quietly by. "I used to be in Hospet for 8 months in the year, working in the manganese mines. I'd be covered in red dust the whole time. You couldn't wash it off. I'd lie in a dirty corner at night and dream of going back. I did that for twenty five years, convinced that my 3.5 acres weren't good enough. I made Rs.10,500 in those months at Hospet."