A place where almost every house in rural areas tends to be different in colour and architecture, diversity is deeply embedded in culture. One of the shodhyatris was too tired yesterday after a long walk in summer. Chetan, the coordinator of the yatra requested a mobyke riding youth to please stop and consider giving him a drop at night halt place, a few km away. He was not disappointed. The stranger did not only drop him but also told Chetan on way back that he had done so. So many instances of goodwill, all the though the walk so far have convinced us that Goa is a place of warmth, cooperation, and tremendous respect for strangers. In Ayee village on Goa- Maharashtra border from where we started before entering Goa proper, there were fourteen cultural communities staying together peacefully and amiably. Ramchandra Rathor is a serial inventor. He modified the carburettor of an engine to run it on gobar gas many years ago. I told him about another innovator, Ramesh we had met near Vishakhapatnam who had used biogas for running milking machines in his dairy. Ramchandra had also noticed once an obvious fact that when garden hosepipe is used after it is lying in hot sun for a while, water is hot. He made a solar water heater with corrugated sheet, rubber pipes fitted across angle iron frame and one puts water from bottom side, hot water comes out form the top. A low cost do-it-yourself approach to affordable frugal innovation is the way forward according to him. How well he captured the essence of Honey Bee Network philosophy. We met another extraordinary craftman Vijaydutta Lolitkar who has made so many coconut shell based crafts that may be called a record of its kind. He teaches this to young people and avoids participating in crafts mela where his pupils do. He doesn’t want that his excellence becomes a drag on the sales of his disciples. What a mature and benign attitude. In a slightly different context Ravi Mathai, first Director of IIMA had set a principle of governance at the Institute in which Director was not supposed to compete with faculty for consultancies or other projects. These are values our culture seems to relish from grassroots up.
There were many other highlights of the day. In an on the spot idea competition at Dharnagarwad village, divya, dixit, and several other students came out with an idea of tooth paste dispenser just like soap dispenser is; navin, pratham and other boys suggested that unless license is inserted in the socket, the car should not start (similar idea had been recognised at NIF’s Ignite contest earlier but they had no clue about it), and several more. Children everywhere from Tripura to Goa have similar creative potential, then why is our culture so stingy in recognising their potential. I am happy to report that NIF is working with DST and MHRD closely on the idea of recognising such ideas from over five lac schools, and take them to product and business level too. That will be a kind of small revolution if ideas from children will start diluting and eventually dissolving our ‘civilizational’ inertia.
Laxmi Ben, a lambada artisan had migrated from Kolapur to make iron tools on the road side, and were seen setting up a furnace for shaping iron mining and farming tools. A kheer, milk pudding of ripened jackfruit was a dish we had never tasted, so also an after-food digestive drink made of butter milk, garlic, and kokam fruit. Diversity, thy name is Goa and we have just begun the walk, much more to come, stay tuned. Honey Bee Network and SRISTI are bridging the gap between those who think Goa is known only for beeches and thus don’t venture into rural hinterland and creative and generous communities of the state.