Tuesday, May 23, 2017

An IAF Officer's passion for agriculture ..

S. Parameshwaran was my  classmate at the College of Engineering, Trivandrum during Mechanical Engineering under-graduation days. He also hails from near my hometown of Chennithala, in Alleppey district of Kerala, a small state in the southern tip of India, from a place called Mannar. 

Parameshwaran, fit as a fiddle, went on to join the Indian Air Force after engineering and retired from IAF as a Wing commander way back in early 2010 after 26 years of meritorious service. After seeing his only daughter getting married off and going with her husband and a short stint in Bangalore, resettling back in Mannaar was very boring for Parameshwaran and his wife. But he hit upon this brilliant idea of going back to nature and taking up agriculture.

In his 2 acre land in Mannaar he started cultivating vegetables as a hobby initially around 2015. Even though the first year was a great loss, he did not give up. Continuing from the second year he has been able to break it even. Even though he gets a good pension from the IAF, the simple pleasure of being able to reduce the carbon footprint and giving back to the society and nature through a green way of living, causing very less destruction to the surroundings and the habitat, has given much more satisfaction to Parameshwaran than the earnings he makes from agriculture.

Parameshwaran leads a very systematic disciplined life, getting up daily at 4.30 AM and working in his field till 7.30 AM. After breakfast and rest, he is back in action this time taking and selling the farm produce in the local farm department store in Chennithala. The high quality education and experience Parameshwaran has gathered over two and a half decades in the Indian Air Force has got him looking at improving the productivity of the farming operation with reduced inputs, maximizing the outputs with practically nil application of chemical fertilizers.

Interacting and taking help from agricultural experts Paramu has been able to make use of the high-tech drip irrigation concepts to conserve water during summer season. His interactions with the farming department officials have given him an idea of what crops to cultivate, in what quantities and when.

In short Parameshwaran through his life is giving a great example of how agriculture can be pursued to give back meaning to our life and existence on this planet. How we can live with low carbon footprints and give back to nature even maybe in very small measure, but a definite quantity, be it either in reduced carbon footprints, or giving a chance to the bees, the butterflies and the birds to live on this planet for a few years more.

In our excessive quest for showing off our materialistic gains and wealth, we ignore mother nature and the gifts she has bestowed on us. Let us try to give back to mother nature in whatever small way it is possible for us.

Hats off to Parameshwaran for taking the bold, courageous and generous step of being one with nature and giving back to nature. He has already completed a TV show for a US TV channel, to be aired soon and is a favourite spot for field visits for the future responsible citizens of our country, kids from schools near and far. The motivation he has created among his old classmates is also high, that some of them are planning to intern with him, including myself, and learn the simple joys of agriculture and giving back to society in more deeper and meaningful ways.


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