Sunday, May 22, 2022
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Faradays In The Backyard

A band of unsung, homespun scientists sets mind and technology to devise simple, everyday innovations

Faradays In The Backyard
Faradays In The Backyard
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

He has grown over 15,000 trees—ranging from indigenous varieties like ber, neem, amla, adoo and sisam to foreign ones like the Australian babool and even the water-guzzling eucalyptus—in Sikar’s parched soils by tapping soil moisture from a depth of one foot. His unique method, developed over 15 years of trial-and-error dryland farming, draws heavily on his uncle’s meticulously-kept diary of 35 weather parameters in relation to farming practices, recorded over 30 years. Sunda Ram has a simple observation: plants that "survive the stress of the first fortnight can survive any severe stress". Indeed, his trees survived the 1986-88 droughts, one of the worst of the century.

If Verma squeezes water from the desiccated earth, 64-year-old Chewang Norphel of Ladakh thaws water from frozen glaciers of his own making. They may not have discovered new laws like Faraday or made path-breaking inventions like Edison but, like the greatest of their ilk, they do possess an inventiveness unshackled by academic straitjacket. Their unschooled brilliance has spawned inventive yet simple solutions to life’s ordinary problems which our top-notch scientists either find infra dig or for which they waste precious public funds on fancy innovations.

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