Even the least one in the rung of authorities will not bother to respect the farmers and their profession, the agriculture. This is the contention of the whole society. But heeding to the invitation by a poor farmer, Mr Suryaprakash, DRO of Karur, participated and graced the occasion.
Mr Ravi from Kullamaapatty, Aravakurichi Panchayat union, Karur district, organized a program to give away ten thousand tree saplings he raised at his own farm, to the public free of cost. He approached Suryaprakash, DRO hesitantly. But to his surprise the DRO attended the function along with the revenue and district officers.
Without being fussy he happily distributed the saplings and then drank the porridge along with them, sitting on the floor. Then he openly addressed the villagers by asking what they wished to have for their village. Not able to believe the unusual and simple demeanor of the DRO they remained silent. But he continued, “We are your servants. You don’t need to be afraid of us”. They were truly awed.
Suryaprakash, DRO is an unusual personality among his bureaucratic colleagues. Even if he is not invited he used to attend any function where there is free distribution of tree saplings happening. While attending it he would also bring with him additional ten saplings for public distribution. He has so far planted hundreds of saplings among the schools, colleges both government and private institutions in the district of Karur. Besides, he has also ensured thousands of tree plantings through the revenue authorities of Karur. His objective is to plant at least one lakh tree saplings in the district.
Let us follow the story of Ravi, the farmer. With the money gained from his business in Tanjore, Ravi bought 20 acres of land in Karur district. Further, he began to initiate organic farming with the land he owned. But the villagers mocked at him for his effort to try organic farming in the barren land that he bought and they were sure of his impending failure.
But with deep conviction he swept away all mockeries of the villagers till he proves himself successful. Further, he erected a sign board ‘Clown Farm’ at his farm and engrossed with his organic efforts. Concomitantly he organized a public program where he intended to distribute thousand tree saplings, with an objective to create public awareness. He invited others through his facebook. Having been aware of the interest shown by Suryaprakash, DRO on planting trees he got his contact number and sent an invite through Whatsapp with much hesitation.
“I am fully tied up on that day. But let me try to attend it” he responded. Having been discouraged by his reply he didn’t bother to make any major arrangements for the program. He arranged thousand saplings for distribution, millet porridge to drink and a simple vegetarian food for lunch. But to his surprise three government cars rushed to his farm and were parked by 11 o’clock. Three government officials got down the cabs, Suryaprakash, District Revenue Officer and other authorities of Aranvakurichi, Saravanamurthi and Chandrasekar. Panic struck, other local authorities, Ravivarma, Revenue Inspector and Murugavel, Village Officer arrived the premises having come to know that the DRO with other authorities had arrived to attend the program. Ravi despondently apologized for not arranging the program properly, not even arranging chairs for the participants and special invitees. But the DRO was so kind to him assuaging him not to feel despondent and also stated that they came only to collect saplings and assured him that they are just public servants and nothing more to be afraid of. Further to his surprise the DRO sat on the mat in the tin shed along with other villagers. It was summer and everybody was sweating due to humidity. But the DRO remained simple and down to earth, not bothered about the humid and hot shed and above all consumed the millet porridge given to the participants.
After having learnt about the story of Ravi, who is tirelessly trying on organic farming, he congratulated him heartily. “It’s so great of you to leave your business and invest in this barren land and above all, trying organic farming. More than that, I truly appreciate your courage to try organic methods in spite of being mocked by the villagers. We should live for ourselves. We should worry about others only when we do something wrong. We need not be afraid to do good. Others can only criticize us. And I know you want to do good and without being afraid of the criticism by others, continue to sail through”. Having appreciated Ravi, the DRO concluded his speech and then he invited other participants and nature lovers to speak their minds. When he realized the hesitation among them to speak in front of him, he made them feel easy and come forward to speak. When one of the participants, Ms Saroja shared her experience about organic farming casually, he once again appreciated each one’s effort. “What these people of insignificance do in terms of their organic endeavors is the true revolution or transformation, by meaning”.
Nevertheless, he enquired Ravi and the villagers, “We really wish to do something good to this place. That is why I have brought all my colleagues of authority. Let us know what you need?”
Some of the villagers had putforth their request. “There is a huge lake nearby this place, called Eesanatham. The canals bringing water from the lake are all became shallow. They need to be cleaned and deepened to facilitate easy flow of water”. He gathered additional information about the issue from the Revenue Inspector and Village Officer present there.
“Your concerns will be addressed at the earliest”, he assured them and moved on to plant a sapling at Ravi’s farm. His colleagues in authority also planted saplings, following him. He made a young dynamic girl, a relative of Ravi, also to plant a tree. After planting the saplings he started distributing the saplings to the public. Suddenly he turned to Ravi and said, “Don’t make me a guest to distribute saplings. I just came to attend the program and get the saplings from you”. And then he received two saplings from Ravi.
He got ready to leave the place, assuring Ravi to approach him for any kind of support. When an old lady who was cooking lunch for the participants urged him to stay back for lunch, he affectionately said that what she was preparing will not be enough for him for lunch. While he was moving towards his car, Ravi introduced his father to him. He respectfully joined his hands welcoming and appreciating him for having brought Ravi to this world for his noble effort to buy saplings and distribute to the public during his trying times. He said, “You should be proud of your son”. Both the father and son were in tears.
We spoke to the DRO, Suryaprakash:
“I don’t wish to be an ordinary and usual officer. In spite of his financial limitations Ravi was able to spend a lakh of rupees to bring tree saplings for public distribution. I too am very much interested in tree planting. I usually don’t miss any opportunity to participate in tree distribution programs happening in Karur. That is the way I came to know through Whatsapp about what Ravi was planning to do and I too made myself part of the program. I received two saplings from Ravi and I am being paid by the government. But people like Ravi who are not bothered about any profit out of it are spending money from their own. In order to encourage that kind of people I participated in the program as a surprise. The request made by the villagers regarding the canal clean up will be done soon. Even ten year old kids yearn to plant trees and join hands in protecting our environment. It won’t look good for me to sit at my office and witnessing all these noble efforts happening around. That is why I too jump into the field. Above all, I strongly believe that anyone who does not respect farmers and farming shall not live well.
(This article written in Tamil by Durai. Vembaiyan has been reproduced in English by V Amalan Stanley)