This page was designed to be viewed with a browser that supports Cascading Style Sheets [CSS] and if you are using earlier versions [pre- ver.5.0] of Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator,you are missing out on a pleasant viewing experience. It is best that you upgrade your browser soon as most of the sites will increasingly make use of CSS.

 gniLogo GoodNewsIndia ::Magazine

The man who sowed Gandhi and reaped happiness

For admirers of Masanobu Fukuoka, here's an Indian original, near Udupi, Karnataka

 1 2 3 >  Last »

The road north, out of Udupi induces peace and calm. The Arabian Sea to the left, the sense of space and the bright light make you wonder if there can be anything better.

Soon you learn that there is. Turn right at Brahmavar ['Gift of Brahma'!] and right again. You are on a road fast asleep. Trees stand tall, broad and quiet. Fruit lies on the ground unclaimed. There are so few people about. You have just dropped through two or three floors of time, from noisy, crowded India.

10 km down the road at the village of Cherkady, 86 year old Ramachandra Rao welcomes you with a pitcher of water and three tiny cones of jaggery, into his 2.5 acre homestead. He's a small, wiry man with twinkling eyes on an untroubled face.

He is eager to tell his story and it is best we have it in his voice.

Gandhi is all you need:

"Sir, I was born in Kodagu [Coorg] in 1917. When I was two, my father and mother, died mysteriously within a day of each other. My older sisters had been married. I was first brought to one of them in Dharmasthala and then here to Cherkady where another sister had been married. My brother-in-law was a farmer some distance away from here. I grew up grazing his cows and helping out in the fields.

"They sent me to the local school when I was close to 10 and I spent just two years there. That has been the only formal education I have ever received. Or needed.

"My teacher Ramachandra Patil had only one subject: Gandhi. He spoke of his life, thoughts and courage. He spoke of Gandhi's frugality, devotion to nature and self-reliance. He spoke of nothing but Gandhi the whole time, and we were all under a constant spell.

"Patil-Teacher even kept a charkha in the school and we all fought each other to learn to spin. My two years were soon over. The farm needed my labours. I am glad I studied no more, for that would have diluted what I learnt.

"I was growing up in the fields helping my sister's family. In my spare time, I was spinning the charkha at home. In my late teens, deciding that I must have a career, I went to Brahmavar to learn weaving. I made my first money when I was 22, for fabrics I had woven. I had not known money until then.

Weaving wins a bride:

"I gained a reputation as a good weaver. Oh, I loved it: the smell of lint in the air, the clack of the loom and the film of sweat on my skin. The whole thing was very meditative and kept me fit and well-fed. It gained me my wife as well. Her father thought me a stable fellow and she too began to weave. We earned Rs.600 per year as weavers. Life was good.

 1 2 3 >  Last »


Send This Story To Friends