A Voice of Creative Grassroots Innovators

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					                      Vol 13 No 3 September 2002


A Voice of Creative Grassroots Innovators
 Contents                                                               Cover story
                                                                                A Squirel's Tale

                                                                                             Once there was a farmer in a dry region who grew foxtail
                     Conservation through
                     Reverence ........................ 2
                                                                   Ce                           millet (kaang) in his farm. Birds, squirrels and the
                                                                                                  herds of passing pastoralists would often stop by
                                                                    t o                            partake of nature’s bounty. But the farmer was
                                                                    n o n e                        too pleased. So he decided to lie in wait one day
                                                                    and catch                      the culprit. Sure enough, a squirrel came along to
                     A Participatory Step                           nibble at the grain and promptly the farmer had it in his grip. He took the
                     Forward ............................ 4         squirrel home, determined to ‘teach it a lesson.’ The pastoralists who were
                                                                    camping in the village heard of this and felt that it was not fair that the
                                                                    squirrel should suffer alone. So they approached the farmer and offered him
                     A Motley Crew, part 2:                         their best goat in return for the squirrel’s freedom. The farmer refused. ‘The
                     The SRISTI Sanman                              farm is my livelihood,’ he said. ‘My family, my children depend on it. I will not
                     Recipients 2002 ................ 6             let it go.’ The pastoralists consulted and decided to offer the farmer their
                                                                    best cow in return for the squirrel’s freedom. The farmer relented not. They
                                                                    offered him their best buffalo. But the farmer would not listen. Then the
                                                                    Forest Guard came and offered the farmer some concession to collect firewood
                     Tales from North                               in return for the squirrel’s freedom. Still, no headway. Finally, the Forest
                     India ................................... 9    Officer came and threatened to beat the farmer if he didn’t release the squirrel.
                                                                    The farmer immediately let the squirrel go.

                                                                    In the next season, when the sowing had been done, the rains did not arrive. All
                     Challenges for                                 the farmer’s seedlings lay dead and he was distraught at what to do next to
                     Innovators .....................12             feed his family. The rains finally came a month late and what was then noticeable
                                                                    were several sprouts of kaang in the field. Squirrels had scattered some seeds
                                                                    from what they had ‘illegally’ taken from the farmer’s field.
                     Debate: Prior Informed
                     Consent ............................ 14            The first part of this story comes from a song sung recently to one of our team
                                                                        (Kirit Patel) by Vinod Hathila, a 12 year old in Sarjumi village of Dahod district
                                                                        in Gujarat. The second part is inspired by what happened in the fire in the
                                                                        Yellow Stone forest in the US in 1988. When the whole forest was burnt down,
                                                                        ecologists wondered how new growth would happen. Among other things, it was
                     Creativity on the
                                                                        from the seeds supplied by the squirrels that greenery could regenerate. So
                     Margins ............................. 20
                                                                        what would one say? Is the share of the squirrel undeserved? Will the rights
Honey Bee Hums                                                          of those who do not vote always be the first to be sacrificed? The pastoralists
Tamil ....................................................... 10        must still be wondering why the farmer would prefer to listen to threats instead
Gujarati .................................................... 11        of reason.
Book Review              .................................... 22            Cover: Foxtail barley from the website of the Montana State
News and Views ............................... 23                           Weed Program,
Dialogue ................................................. 24               weedphotos/foxtail%20barley.jpg

Editor                                                                          Honey Bee Regional Collaborators
Anil K Gupta
Associate Editors                                                              Abeja (Spanish)                        Loksarvani (Gujarati) and
Riya Sinha, Brishti, Agnes J T, Vipul Rikhi                                    Mario Mejia Gutierrez                  Sujh-Bujh Aas Paas Ki (Hindi)
                                                                               Carrera 43, No. 10-50 Apto. 502        SRISTI, PO Box 15050 Ambawadi
Editorial Team                                                                 Telefono: 336 8531                     Ahmedabad, Gujarat 380 015
Vijaya Sherry Chand, Kirit K Patel, Shailesh Shukla,                           Cali, Valle, Colombia        
Arun Chandan, T N Prakash, P Vivekanandan,                                  
Sudhirendar Sharma, Ramesh Patel, A S Reddy
                                                                               Chayan (Bengali)                       Makhir (Pahari)
Graphics & Design                                                                                                     Dr A. Chandan, P.O. Box No. 6,
D T Padekar, Unnikrishnan, Satpal Chabra,                                      Dr D K Bagchi, Head,
                                                                               Agricultural Science Unit              Chamba, Himachal Pradesh 176310,
Goraiya Shailendra                                                                                          
                                                                               Indian Statistical Institute
Administrative Assistance                                                      203 Barrackpore Trunk Road
R P S Yadav, R Baskaran, Balganapathy Mudaliar                                                                        Num Vali Velanmai (Tamil)
                                                                               Calcutta 700 035
                                                                                                                      P Vivekanandan, 45, TPM Nagar
Sheetal Shah, Nisha Binoy                                            
                                                                                                                      Virattipathu, Tamil Nadu 625 010
Editorial Address                                                                                           
                                                                               Hittalagida (Kannada)
Honey Bee - C/o Prof Anil K Gupta
Indian Institute of Management,                                                Dr T N Prakash, Dept of Agri           Ama Akha Pakha (Oriya)
Vastrapur, Ahmedabad 380 015 , India                                           Economics, University of Agri.Sci.     Dr Balaram Sahu, 3R BP 5/2
Tel : 91-79-6324927 Fax : 91-79-6307341                                        GKVK Bangalore                         BP Colony, Unit-8
 Email                                                     Karnataka 560065,                      Bhubaneswar - 751012 Orissa
Home Page                                               

    Printed, published and owned by Kirit K Patel on behalf of Sristi Innovations, B/2, Srikrishna Apartments, Near Lad Society,
        Vastrapur, Ahmedabad-380 015. Printed at M/s Colourman Offset, Phone: 6431405 Ahmedabad. Editor: Anil K Gupta
Centres on the Periphery: Coping with Climatic and Institutional Change                                             Editorial
When the attention of the world is focused on the outcome of the      leaving certain questions unanswered, such that the capacity of
next global conference on climate change, scheduled to be held        a young mind to explore and enquire increases. For if they are not
in India in end October, it might be useful to recall some issues     allowed to take wing, our children will wither in their nests. In
that we know will never be discussed at the conference. It is to      contrast, children of pastoralists and migrants do not suffer from
these unheard and unasked questions that we will have to turn,        these constraints. They learn to cope with stress perhaps a little
especially with the environment becoming increasingly turbulent.      too early and too well. Both extremes, those who receive a
                                                                      privileged education and thus become handicapped, and those
All these years formal knowledge networks have ignored the need       who are social dropouts and depend very little on formal
to support and strengthen informal knowledge networks.                institutions for survival, deserve attention.
Perhaps they considered the marginalisation of knowledge-rich,
economically-poor communities and individuals as inevitable.          Let us look at some sites of marginal knowledge. Bamboo houses
Perhaps the mega-project of progress considered the articulation      built by poor people in flood-prone regions allow water to move
of these voices as road blocks. Sometimes these road blocks           under houses resting on stilts. Once rivers start changing their
were ruthlessly levelled by quelling their space and social           course (in many cases they have already done so), such
identities. At other times, the traffic of progress simply bypassed   structures might come into greater prominence. Food crops like
them. But things are changing.                                        foxtail millet, grown by poor people in drought-prone regions, are
                                                                      neglected despite their quality attributes. Given our dependence
There is a tremendous global interest in the knowledge of local       on only a few crops and their few select varieties, climate change
communities, particularly those in marginal environments. The         will necessitate a much greater recourse to agricultural
ethics of this interest and exploration continue to be exploitative   biodiversity. As of now, it is only the laggards of the ‘green
and asymmetrical. At the same time, civil society in many             revolution’ who conserve agricultural biodiversity. In situ
developing countries is evolving its own answers to the question      conservation has not yet become a policy goal. Many policy
of learning from the margins.                                         makers believe that by engineering mainstream crops with more
Why, in times to come, would learning from the margins be vital       vitamins and minerals, they will meet people’s future nutritional
to the survival of humanity? Consider current ecological or           and food security needs. But marginal crops will be crucial in
climatic disturbances, the immense social discomfort they cause,      times of crises, for no other reason than because they can survive
and the increasing inability of mainstream people to cope with        stress better. The lessons of traditional institutions in managing
environmental turbulence due to the cushions of their everyday        common property resources will also become vital when private
life. This turbulence will increase, either due to global warming     rights to resources will no more be feasible and viable.
(and consequent floods) or due to drought (and a decline in the       Climate change will require the ability to cope creatively and
ground water table). How will societies cope? My answer is that       collectively. Where would we find such creativity and collectivity
the skills, knowledge and institutions evolved by people on the       except in stress-prone regions? But even here coping strategies
margins, who have already been coping with these stresses for         are becoming weaker, seeds do not last, streams are no more
the last several millennia, will become a major source of survival.   steered collectively, rain water is not harnessed and local varieties
Is this the reason why global institutions are suddenly finding so    are not preferred as food, thanks to the artificially created taste
much merit in local knowledge?                                        for the so-called ‘superior’ crops like wheat and rice.
The trend of modern institutions, whether of the state or the         Centres on the periphery will have to emerge. We may avoid
market, imposing common, universal solutions has run its              discussing them, but the questions do not go away. Many
course. It is true that young educated people around the world        knowledge experts will pass away, though, and so would the
watch the same films, use similar metaphors and articulate their      survival knowledge they carry with them. Who or what will fill
identity through similar motifs. But for every such wave of           these vacant spaces?
univer-salisation, the reactions from the margin are becoming
                                                                      Please do write in to tell us what you think should be done to
manifest. Some of these reactions are ugly, unfortunate and
                                                                      protect the rights of squirrels before they vanish. Many snakes,
perhaps not in the interest of human survival. But such extremism
                                                                      birds and other animals have already vanished due to the
is to be expected, no matter how and how much we may despise
                                                                      pressures created by us, in the name of our families and children.
                                                                      Have we asked our children if they would like to live in a world
A polycentric vision of future social formations requires many        devoid of birds and squirrels, let alone ask squirrels what their
more centres to emerge on the periphery. The family as an             children were going through?
institution, on the other hand, might become peripheral if children
are either not allowed to ask fundamental questions or if these are
answered in too pat a manner. We have to learn afresh the art of                                                          Anil K Gupta
                                         Honey Bee Vol 13(3) July - September 2002

Will you stand by the IPRs of peasants ?                                                                                               3
Nature and the Sacred:                   Conservation through Reverence
Karma Ura     1

        The Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan is one of the last strongholds of deeply-rooted conservation ethics. The following
        article, extracted from a four-part essay, shows how the traditional beliefs and practices of Bhutan evidence a deep
        ecological sensitivity. While a rational understanding of these attitudes might be necessary in our times, it is still
        useful to learn, rather than merely understand, the fundamental respect for the sanctity of nature that they embody.

E   nvironmental awareness can manifest itself
    in scientific, political and cultural terms.
Beliefs and practices in Bhutan point to a
                                                      environmental health of the place. The
                                                      citadels of deities, in the form of
                                                      sacred groves, often perform the
                                                                                               vital crops and seeds. Only passing
                                                                                               herders have viewed them from close
                                                                                               quarters. As human pressure on the
management of the environment frequently linked       function of wind blockade, standing      plains and floors of valleys increases,
to the invocations of deities and spirits occurring   as protective gateways to inhabited      more wildlife will probably flee and
throughout the country. This provides a notable       valleys. Most of them are located at     adapt to these citadel-sanctuaries in
spiritual motivation to protect certain features      the headwaters of springs and rivers.    an evolutionary move.
of the landscape from everyday uses. Modern           Thanks to a lack of human
environmental policies could cultivate the            interference, these are places of        The Role of Invocation and Myth
principles inherent in such practices to continue     undisturbed patches of biodiversity,
protecting the environment and local cultures.        manifesting a collective attempt at      The prevailing purification, oblation-
                                                      maintaining a protected habitat in the   offerings, and invocation rites, are
Divine Territories                                    midst of human settlements.              a synthesis of Buddhism and the
                                                                                               religion preceding it, Bon. In an
Many of the geosensitive areas of Bhutan have         Mountains, too, are the citadels of      interesting instance, on the occasion
been traditionally ascribed, beyond the claims        many great beings like Nasdag (Lord      celebrating a local deity, Wasidrag
of human ownership, to beings other than              of the Soil or Earth) and Zhidag (Lord   Phola, in Bumthang, an exclusive
plants, animals or humans. These are immortal         of the Settlement). They are primeval    female folk theatre called Ashi Lhamo
beings like Nasdag, Zhidag and Yulha, immortal        places representing natural ecology,     is replayed every year. The ladies
owners or landlords, while successive generations     perhaps holding in their fold unknown    of the village return from Tisila peak
of communities are merely travellers passing
through their territory. The perspective that
some part of the environment, such as sacred
sites, cliffs and lakes, are not accessible as
resources to be exploited, displays a deep
environmental consciousness. It is part of a
different classification paradigm, wherein not
every part of geography and natural resources
is appropriated for human use.

This has significant biodiversity implications. It
implies that these are the areas of uninterrupted
evolution of microbes, animals, insects, plants,
flowers and trees. Ecologically strategic sites
like the confluence of rivers and lakes are
identified as the particular domains of various
deities and it is no accident that these sensitive
sites are places where river life thrives.

Rocks and cliffs, abode of brag tsan (the cliff
deity), are typically roosting places for birds,
because they are inaccessible to predators and are
far away from noise and other pollutions. They
                                                                              Illustration by Suvid V, a PGP 2000-2002 student, IIM-A
are home to rock bees, a vital indicator of the

    Karma Ura is the Director of the Centre for Bhutan Studies, Thimphu, Bhutan.

                                         Honey Bee Vol 13(3) July - September 2002

    4                                                            A Dialogue on People's Creativity, Experimentation & Innovation
in one case and Purshel in another, after              and sacrificed a horse, breaking norms      forest and land. When the
collecting a rare flower – nobelia – in September.     of equity and propitiation ceremony.        environment is disturbed, these
                                                       This was followed by a massive              spirits are believed to unleash storms
Archetypal tales abound of how genetic material        landslide that buried the distributory      of epidemics (nad kyi bu yag) and
is enriched with deity worship. Deities are            irrigation channel to Wangphel. As an       cause diseases to people who pollute.
believed to have mated with humans, in order           allegory, one may draw several              In another instance, the sacred
to acquire superior clan lineages. Other aspects       interpretations from this tale, including   place considered as the citadel of
of the worship of deities                                                                                       Mongleng in Tashigang,
led to an improvement in First Principles                                                                       it is believed, cannot be
livestock breeds. For In a mountain village named Laya, I was standing in a schoolhouse cultivated                                without
instance, the necessity of staring at a document called Manual for Teachers of Mathematics. repercussions. Legend
cockerels for sacrificial What caught my eye was something that was offered as a ‘first rule’: tells of three persons who
purposes encourages the                                                                                         tried to clear the land
                                     Always remember that you are a human being as well as a teacher,
preservation of the                  that your students are also human beings, and that you are here going mad at the end.
genetic diversity of                 because you have something important to give them that they need. There are also anecdotes
poultry birds. Other                                                                                            of people going missing
popular archetypal tales It is not what one would expect as a first rule for math teachers for a week or so.
tell of water-bulls anywhere else in the world. But this is Bhutan, and in Bhutan, I Mongleng and other
emerging from lakes to am learning, people are not the abstract ciphers they can come to deities are said to take
mate with domesticated be in a more urban environment. They are human beings who, even them to a parallel world
                                in official matters, tend to deal with each other as human beings.
cattle and yaks. The                                                                                            where they were invisible
                                ‘I am not as much concerned about the Gross National Product,’
mythical water-bulls were                                                                                       to human sight.
                                the King has declared, ‘as I am about the Gross National Happiness.’
simply wild oxen, widely
                                                                                            - Robert Pierce
endemic to Bhutan. The                                                                                          Water spirits, on the
                                                                 Source: Lonely Planet: Bhutan, 1998, p. 55
ensuing inter-breeding                                                                                          other hand, are viewed
would have led to a new Wild Facts                                                                              as less settled and more
level of vigour and                                                                                             vulnerable to human
productivity among the The Bhutanese have treasured their natural environment since it is interference. They are
livestock population.           seen as a source of all life and the abode of the gods. Buddhism portrayed as easily
                                has been the predominant religion since the 7th century and has threatened by pollution
The        calender        of inculcated deeply the value that all forms of sentient life, not just and prone to running
invocations and offerings human life, are precious and sacred. Bhutan has been identified as away                           on      being
represents the human one of the 10 biodiversity hot spots in the world and as one of the contaminated.                                 The
community’s attempt to 221 global endemic bird areas. Its eco-systems harbour some of the departure of a tsho man
                                most exotic species of the eastern Himalayas with an estimated 770
preserve a sense of                                                                                             mo (lake woman) is
                                species of birds, 160 kinds of mammals and over 50 species of
sacredness about nature.                                                                                        signified by a drop in
                                rhododendron, besides an astonishing variety of medical plants and
An important part of such                                                                                       the water level of the
                                orchids (there are about 5400 different plant species). Bhutan also
rites consists of the has a rich wildlife with animals like the takin, snow leopard, golden lake. The ritual of raising
members          of      the langur, blue sheep, tiger, water buffalo and elephant.                             the water level in springs,
community          actually                                          Source:     ponds and lakes by the
visiting the local deities’                                                                                     immersion of substances
citadels and reaffirming their relationships with one of resolution of conflicts in the and medicines appears to symbolise
the environment.                                        uses of collective resources, which an attempt to restore the harmony
                                                        the deity personifies.                     in nature. A family that hosts tsho
Tales that Teach                                                                                   man mo on her journey prospers
                                                        There are also tales of the deities’ and becomes rich. There are several
Worship of the deities is also closely associated power to avenge themselves if the narratives about this kind of
with the critical supply of agricultural resources codes of reverence are broken. relationship, underlining the fact that
like irrigation water and rain. A popular story brings Defilement (drip) and pollution are the spirit of the lake is a source of
out the point. There was inter-communal rivalry personified by the five mistresses of steady wealth: just as availability of
between two communities to please the deity defilement and pollution (drip dag water for farming is. Harm to any
Dungnagchen and make him favour an inequitable nag mo nga). They probably lu and sadag causes diseases,
allocation of irrigation water coming down from represent the ‘revenge’ of the
the mountain ranges. The Wangphel community environment on people who pollute
wanted to seize a greater share of irrigation water and poison media such as air, water,                               Contd... on page 21

                                         Honey Bee Vol 13(3) July - September 2002

Will you stand by the IPRs of peasants ?                                                                                              5
Two Together in Technology:                              a Participatory Step Forward
Dirk Wagener

        The possibility of synergy between formal and informal set-ups is of particular urgency today. The purpose of Dirk
        Wagener’s research1, conducted in a dry land region in South India, was to identify institutions, social structures
        and activities where the importance of a participatory model of technology development would come to the fore.
        Over time it has come to be understood that a participatory approach does not imply merely allowing the farmer
        to be privy to the plans of the agricultural scientific community, but a paradigm where the scientific body walks
        over to the side of the farming community and works on their concerns, knowledge and vision.

Of Theory and Practice                                and some NGOs. The Green                    races were distributed to farmers and
                                                      Foundation thus launched a                  after harvest the surplus was returned

W     e know that the ‘Green Revolution,’ said to
      have brought about the necessary boost in
food production to meet increasing food needs,
                                                      programme to ‘secure and revive the
                                                      broad genetic base’ of the area by
                                                      adopting      a   farmer-oriented
                                                                                                  to the field seed bank of GF. Later,
                                                                                                  the seed banks were decentralised and
                                                                                                  placed in one village of each cluster.
also had a fallout: many traditional methods of       decentralised approach.                     They are now maintained by the
agricultural production were trashed; sensitive                                                   sanghas and a seed management
tropical areas that did not respond positively or     The cropping system employed in the         committee (SMC). In these eight
well enough to modern external inputs were            Thalli block is intercropping, with         community seed banks at present
labelled ‘low-resource’ areas. A gradual              ragi (finger millet, Eleusine               about 30 dry land paddy varieties, 31
amelioration in the attitude and approach towards     coracana) as the main crop, and niger       wet land paddy varieties, 37 finger
the informal farming community (particularly those    grown as a border crop. The                 millet varieties, 3 little millet varieties,
in marginal environments) has since then taken        intercropping system employed here          and 77 vegetable varieties are
place, the direction of which is from persuasion/     with the varying maturity times of the      conserved. Every year these varieties
coercion to participation. The evolution of the so-   various intercrops is clearly very          are sown again and the banks refilled
called ‘models of development’ has been one from      advanced. Munithimmaiaha, 72, a             after harvest. The objectives of the
the top-down TOT (Transfer of Technology)             male farmer of Kariyammama Doddi            decentralised approach are to
model to PTD (Participatory Technology                village, is sure that the subsidiary        transform seed banking from an NGO
Development).                                         crops do not compete with the ragi          activity to a people’s institution, to
                                                      crop; instead they act as pest              sustain in-situ conservation activities
Contexts and Frameworks                               repellants. The women of Thalli block       at many localities and to make seed
                                                      are the unmistakable managers of the        easily available to many farmers. It
This study considers the PPB (Participatory Plant     farm. They are responsible for              also serves to empower women in the
Breeding) project of the Green Foundation (GF),       deciding upon the cropping pattern to       area.
a Bangalore-based Grassroots Organisation             be employed, and the sowing and
                                                      identification of the intercrops. The       In parallel to the establishment of
functioning in the dry lands bordering Tamil Nadu
                                                      women were the obvious repositories         community seed banks, GF has been
and Karnataka (two southern states of India). The
                                                      of agronomic data and were relied           actively involved in the collection and
foundation works with the farming community
                                                      upon in the study for their useful          documentation of local land races and
of the region with the aim of conserving and
                                                      insights.                                   the preservation of crop diversity. GF
promoting the area’s biodiversity. The well-adapted
                                                                                                  has so far collected and conserved 75
land races of the area faced considerable challenge   Conservation                                finger millet varieties and documented
from the HYVs (High-Yielding Varieties) and IVs
                                                      Community seed banks were actively          and characterised 30 varieties (28
(Improved Varieties) introduced by the government
                                                      promoted by the GF to ensure local          indigenous finger millet cultivars and
Priiaoyvrea slcin
 atcptr aitl eeto                                     food security. These banks are run          2 improved varieties) using field trials.
                                                      mostly by women self-help groups            This characterisation may improve the
                                                      (sanghas) but men also show an              understanding of local crop diversity
                                                      increasing interest in joining the          for further work.
                                                      activities. Beginning in 1995 until the
                                                      end of 2001, GF organised about 750
                                                      women into 50 sanghas in eight              Another major objective of the project
                                                      clusters of villages. First seeds of land   was to protect and purify the PK ragi
  ‘Potentials and Limitations of Participatory Technology Development,’ Dirk Wagener, MSc Program in International Agricultural
Sciences, Humboldt-University Berlin, Faculty of Agriculture and Horticulture. email:

                                        Honey Bee Vol 13(3) July - September 2002

    6                                                            A Dialogue on People's Creativity, Experimentation & Innovation
variety (Pichakaddi, a local land race). This variety   many plants received several tags and
was understood to be best suited to the local agro-     were sorted accordingly: T5 for a          The objectives of the
biodiversity and seed systems. Though this is a         plant tagged by five threads to T1 for     decentralised approach are to
longer duration variety, and while many farmers         plants tagged with a single thread.        transform seed banking from an
were led by the trying conditions of 1996 to switch     These five categories represented the      NGO activity to a people’s
to a shorter-duration, higher-yielding variety, a       selection depth. After the selection,      institution.
number of them continued to grow PK in a small          the farmers were asked about the
area of their farms. This is because this variety is    criteria they used in identifying PK       Conclusions
valued for its good quality (strong flavour) and        ragi. During the selection process, the
high straw yield (for use as fodder). Another           farmers also identified four categories    The activities of the Green Foundation
reason for continuing to maintain the variety was       of plant types. In all, four factors of    project in Thalli Block have gone some
that, unlike in modern varieties where ear-head         variation were recorded: site of origin    way towards promoting local land
formation coincided with the rains which led to         (site 1 and 2), selection depth (T5 to     races. Farmers saw that impurities in
finger blast fungus attack, ear-head formation in       T1), source, and plant type.               PK ragi negatively impacted its
PK occurred several weeks after the rains, thus                                                    performance and masked many of its
rendering it safe from attack.                          All data analysis was done with great      favourable capabilities. With the seed
                                                        accuracy by an agronomist under the        banks, local land races (whose
The first cycle of the purification project was         supervision of an expert consultant.       favourable characteristics are better
supported by a scientist experienced in trial plot      The statistical analysis was based on      brought out with purification) are
design, data collection and analysis. Five farmers                                                 maintained in-situ by the farmers
who still grew PK ragi were identified as seed                                                     themselves; this encourages them to
sources and five different samples were                                                            freely experiment with better adapted
subsequently collected from them. All of them                                                      local races that do not need chemical
belonged to different villages. The five samples                                                   inputs that are both expensive and
were sown in the 2000-01 season under rain-fed                                                     environmentally damaging. Changes
conditions on two different sites (each site in a                                                  in the approach towards working with
different village, one owned by a male farmer, one                                                 the informal agricultural community
                                                                   Ragi in bloom
by a woman farmer) in separate plots. The soil is                                                  are indeed beginning to take place, as
classified as red sandy clay loam and 5t/ha FYM         ANOVA (weighted two-factor                 seen in the participatory paradigms
was applied. The ragi was sown in 15 lines in           analysis) and was done for source–         that are more inclusive and seek not
each plot, a plant-spacing of 20 x 10 cm and at a       selection depth and source–plant type      only the active participation of the
plot size of 3 x 3 m (9 m2). The plant population       separately for each plot. The results      farmers, but to participate in their
was 15 rows x 30 plants/row = 450 plants/plot.          of the statistical analysis showed that    concerns as well.
The net size and population (leaving out the border     the distribution of plants across
rows and plants) was 13 rows x 26 plants/row =          selection depth was dissimilar and          Brain Teaser: Of Sweet-
net plant population of 388 plants/plot. During the     skewed, indicating that the farmers         Toothed Ants
experiment, all agronomic data about the plants         exercised their judgment objectively
and their performance were collected and later          and with care. The source–selection         In Nardipur village of Mehsana
analysed and used for documentation of the              depth analysis showed that there was        district in Gujarat, we were having
variety.                                                variation in the performance of seed        a meeting with the girl students of
                                                        sources at the two sites and that           Nardipur Gram Vidyapeeth. A girl
All the five key farmers (three female and two          plants which received 4-5 tags were         posed us a question which had us
male) are smallholders (5-10 acres) and are             distinct as groups. The source–plant        stumped (and still has). She said
between 50 and 60 years old. All of them are            type analysis showed that the material      that she had observed that if we
known to have a special knowledge about ragi            selected at selection depth, plant type     kept jaggery and granular sugar
varieties and are involved in in-situ conservation      and seed source level can be utilised       side by side, jaggery would attract
activities. Each farmer was given a coloured thread     for the next cycle of purification and      big black ants while the sugar
and they were asked to enter the plots one by one.      that a few more cycles of such              would attract small red ones. Why
In each plot they could use 5 threads to tag the 5      selective breeding of filial generations    was this so, she asked us? We have
plants they considered to be true-to-type PK ragi       would rapidly converge to seed purity,      not been able to answer her
variety. If they located more than 5 true-to-type       uniformity and a restoration of the         question. Perhaps a stung reader
plants per row, they had to opt for the best ones.      PK ragi land race. Based on the             will be able to respond to this
Each farmer could therefore use 5 x 13 tags tagging     analysis of the data gathered in the        homely yet keen observation and
65 plants per plot and in theory 325 different plants   Kharif season 2001-02, the second           reveal the secrets of the ants’
could have been tagged. In practice, however,           cycle of purification was executed.         choices!

                                          Honey Bee Vol 13(3) July - September 2002

Will you stand by the IPRs of peasants ?                                                                                             7
A Motley Crew, Part Two:              The SRISTI Sanman Recipients 2002

      Resuming where we left in the last issue, here are short profiles of the remaining SRISTI Sanman
      awardees of this year, mere windows to what are wide expanses of creativity.

Love is a Free Medicine:                            bor. In 1987, while walking through       and followed it up with an 18-
Shri Devkanbhai Lakhabhai Rabari                    his fields, he observed that the fruits   month certificate course in nursing.
                                                    on several bor trees were greater in      A self-taught healer, Ms Selvi has

                   I    f you possess a buffalo,
                        Devkanbhai Rabari will be
                     able to tell you at a glance
                                                    number though somewhat smaller in
                                                    size. These small fruits were
                                                    extremely sweet. He transplanted
                                                                                              learnt to identify medicinal plants
                                                                                              and picked up many healing
                                                                                              practices from local healers in the
                     what is wrong with it          one of these profusely fruit-bearing      region. Her herbal medicines are
                     (presuming something is).      trees in the midst of four common         effective against cases such as
                     Delighted to discuss animal    trees. He figured that crosspollination   external and internal parasites,
                     healthcare with anyone         between them might improve the            digestive disorders, infertility, poison
exhibiting a genuine interest in animals,           fruit quality. After a couple of          bite, poultry diseases, and pregnancy
Devkanbhai has been a pashuvaid (veterinarian       years’ trials, Dasrathbhai decided to     disorders. These days she is busy
practising indigenous medicine) for many years      graft the new variety on to a tree        preparing a large quantity of bolus
now. And he charges nothing for his services.       of the general type to verify the         (a round mass of medicinal material
Devkanbhai has many interesting anecdotes to        results. That experiment, too, bore       that is larger than an ordinary pill;
narrate. In Rampur kampa village he recalls         fruit (puns intended). Though the         Ms Selvi’s bolus is the size of a
treating a bullock who, for some reason, had        fruits of Dasrathbhai’s farm are          lemon) by mixing a variety of local
gone on a starvation diet for two months!           smaller in size than the more             herbs. She administered about 500
Devkanbhai gave it                                  prevalent umran variety of bor, the       boluses in the last year alone! The
the dam treatment (a                                flavour and taste of the fruits           bolus is effective against all digestive
rather painful method                               brought him accolades from the            disorders in animals. Something to
of applying a heated                                local bor connoisseurs. He has a          ruminate upon?
stick of wood on the                                twinkle in his eyes when he declares,
nas or artery), and                                 ‘All the ladies I meet are bowled         Fishing     for    Pumpsets:
the bullock began to                                over by my bors! The fruits taste         Shri Narayanbhai Dharamshibhai
feel      ravenously                                a peculiar sweet-and-sour, like a         Malviya
hungry. He has also                                 Chinese delicacy.’ A striking feature
performed ‘normal’                                  of the new variety is the very high                              Whenever a
deliveries in more than                             consistency in size. Nicknamed                                   submersible
500 cases diagnosed                                 ‘Mandel’ in school by his classmates                             pumpset falls
with an abnormal foetal position. In order to       after a character who, like Dennis                               into a well
keep an animal healthy, Devkanbhai recommends       the Menace, always poses simple                                  anywhere in
feeding it one kg of sesame oilcake mixed with      but       searching        questions,                            Dhari taluka,
jaggery at the beginning of the monsoon season      Dasrathbhai’s curiosity has stood                                A m r e l i
for a few days. His reputation as a distinguished   him in good stead.                                               district, the
pashuvaid and his love for the animals he treats                                              distraught owner of the borewell
are vouched for by his clients in 50 villages.      To  Chew     the           Cud:           rushes to Kagdadi village with an
Not for nothing do they refer to him only as        Ms G S Selvi                              SOS. His destination is Narayanbhai
pashuvaid saheb (vet sir), and never by his own                                               Malviya, a cotton and groundnut
name.                                                                     Twenty-three        farmer. Narayanbhai is also a skilled
                                                                          year old Ms         technician who has an easy-to-
Berry      Good: Shri Dasrathbhai Patel                                   Selvi      has      transport, wheel-mounted machine,
                                                                          treated more        with a provision for attaching long
                  Dasrath Patel, a farmer-                                than     2000       pipes. Narayanbhai’s device can
                  entrepreneur, has developed a                           a n i m a l s       quickly fish the pumpset out from
                  unique variety of berries of                            through the         the well. This machine can retrieve
                  Indian jujube (Zizyphus jujuba)   use of herbs and herbal preparations.     a pump from a depth of 700 feet
                  known in local parlance as        Ms Selvi completed her schooling          (230M) in three hours flat. Earlier,
                                      Honey Bee Vol 13(3) July - September 2002

 8                                                             A Dialogue on People's Creativity, Experimentation & Innovation
it used to take eight to ten hours to salvage        Beauty       is    a    Waste: Smt         simply love. In the early 1990s,
the pump and the operation required two or           Kala                                       several groundnut farmers of his
three labourers. Besides, taking the salvaging                                                  village approached Ratibhai to devise
equipment to the well was quite a cumbersome                             Smt Kala is a          a more efficient tool to harvest the
job. All this required a lot of time and the                             prolific        and    groundnut crop. The main implement
pumpset would remain unavailable for days on                             innovative             normally employed in the harvesting
end. Until Narayanbhai solved the problem.                               handicrafts-maker      was the tiller’s multipurpose tool bar
This was helped not a little by his wife,                                who uses locally-      known as santi. Appropriate tool heads
Hemiben, taking a keen interest in the innovative                        available material     are fitted to the santi to conduct
ideas of her husband. She is after his life to       like coir waste, hospital waste            different agricultural operations.
think up a practical, sustainable, low-cost          (glucose tubes), thermacol waste,          Ratibhai observed that the tool-head
mechanisation solution to reduce the tedium          empty bottles, and discarded clothes       for groundnut-digging needed to be
and monotony in her back-breaking tasks at           to create beautiful handicraft items       modified in such a way that it could
home!                                                like baskets, artificial flowers, dolls,   be lifted up or driven down the
                                                     embroidery items and paintings. Smt        ground with ease. This way undue
The     Cultivator of Delicacies:                    Kala is 36 years old and resides in        strain would not be placed on the
               Shri Jitabhai Kodarbhai               Saruthupatti village of Theni District     animals. So he set about to make the
               Patel                                 in Tamil Nadu. Not having been able        necessary modifications. His happy
                                                     to continue her education beyond the       clients say they have never seen a
                   Jitabhai Patel owns a sizeable    10th Standard, she has learnt the art      groundnut digger as bullock-friendly
                   farm in Vetla in the Vadali       of designing from her mother, who          as the one designed by Ratibhai.
                   taluka of Sabarkantha district.   used to make woollen clothing for          Three cheers for a real bullock buddy.
                   In 1987, the area was hit by      children. Then she learnt tailoring and
severe drought following the failure of the          even has a best tailoring student award    A Time to Heal: Smt
monsoons. All the grazing land had dried up          to her credit. She is able to earn a       Sitaben Lasiyabhai Gaikwad
and the stored fodder was exhausted. Fodder          monthly income of Rs 2000-3000 by
for cattle had to be bought from a distance          producing handicrafts or gift                                  Sitaben is a
of about 40 kilometres from Vetla. Once,             materials. Besides this, Smt Kala trains                       practising vaid in
Jitabhai chanced upon a healthy valol creeper        other village women to be                                      Savarda Kasad
in a load of vetch that arrived as fodder. The       independently employed. She has so                             village,     Dang
creeper, val/ valol, is a hyacinth bean known        far trained 65 women in this art. She                          District, Gujarat.
as Dolichos lablab. There were clusters of           also devotes quite a bit of her time to                        (See Honey Bee
fully matured pods in some of the harvested          helping physically handicapped people      12(4): 2-3) As a child she used to help
creepers, while some of the vines had young          and to issues related with atrocities      her father and two brothers in
pods of valol, which makes for a delicious           on women.                                  preparing medicines, locating plants
vegetable and is a rage in most Patel households.                                               in the jungle, grinding and preparing
Jitabhai was quite impressed by the size,            A Friend In Need: Shri Ratilal             the paste. She even used to dispense
appearance, flavour and taste of the papdis          Govardhanbhai Davda                        medicines when her father and
(young tender pods of valol). Being a                                                           brothers were not at home. Today she
connoisseur of the vegetable, he immediately                               Blacksmith-cum-      dispenses medicine for jaundice,
collected as many ripe pods of the legume as                               carpenter, Ratilal   asthma, earache, diarrhoea,
he could from the fodder consignment. He                                   Davda of Dukavav     vomitting,        urological       and
sun-dried them and carefully preserved the                                 village in Amreli    gynaecological disorders, migraine,
seeds. Over a period of four years of meticulous                           district hasn’t      dog bite, cough and several other
observation and selection, Jitabhai arrived at a                           studied beyond       diseases. She has also developed a
variety that flowered early, had a good                                    primary school.      good database of various plants and
resistance against diseases and provided a good      But this prolific innovator’s workshop     their uses. People come from far-off
yield of large pods. The family had vast             is well equipped to repair, recondition    villages to be treated by her. SRISTI
quantities of valol shak (a dish of the vegetable)   or replace farm implements. He has a       met Sitaben during the sixth
that year and liked the taste. The rest of the       drilling machine, a sewage block, a        Shodhyatra and has helped her to
crop was sent to the market. For having              blacksmithy anvil, and loose tools for     apply for funds through the
developed a superior variety of the vetch            working on farm implements. With           Department of Science and
cultivar, Jitabhai was selected for the Sardar       all this Ratibhai has developed a unique   Technology, New Delhi, under the
Krishi award in 1998 by the Gujarat                  implement to harvest groundnuts,           Technopreneur              Promotion
government.                                          which possesses features that farmers      Programme.
                                       Honey Bee Vol 13(3) July - September 2002

Will you stand by the IPRs of peasants ?                                                                                           9
Clearing the           Land: Shri India               The Power         of     Five:
Bharathithasan                                        Dr Natarajan

                     Shri India Bharathithasan, of    Fifty-two       year     old
                     Thanjakur      village      in   allopathic physician, Dr
                     Sivagangai district in Tamil     Natarajan, lives in
                     Nadu, has designed a weeding     Kodumudi village in the
                     machine or weed-cutter. This     Erode District of Tamil
                     labour-saving device uses a      Nadu. He is credited with
petrol operated ‘Vespa’ engine (scooter engine).      having prepared the
Fitted with one wheel in the front and two            panchakavya (panch =
wheels at the back, this unusually designed           five), whose five principal             Come on, only 124 more to go !
three-wheeler looks like a mini tractor, with the     ingredients all come from
capacity to seat a person. A small adjustable         the cow, i.e. dung, urine, milk, curd A Festive Preservation:
iron plough has been fitted underneath the            and ghee (clarified butter). To these Titoi village
weeding machine. Shri Bharathithasan has              he adds sugarcane juice, tender
invested Rs two lakhs on the wheels and the           coconut water, banana fruits, and Residents of Titoi village celebrate a
engine. The machine can clear a three-acre land       toddy (if available). Panchakavya is unique annual festival called naderwa,
of weeds on which crops like banana, sugarcane        an alternative medicine to treat during which they worship the local
and coconut are grown. But the machine needs          diseases in crops, animals and human deity naderiyadev, the god of
to be able to perform weeding operations on           beings. The method of preparation biodiversity and health. (See Honey
a larger area before it gets popularised. Once        involves adding all the panchakavya Bee 11(3): 4-5) The festival brings
his model takes-off, it could be a real boon for      items to a wide-mouthed mud pot, alive issues relating to the health of
farmers, a good deal of whose efforts go into         concrete tank or plastic can. The the villagers, the well-being of their
clearing the land of weeds during peak agricultural   container should be kept open in a cattle and other livestock, and the
operations. Thirty-one year old India                 shed and the contents stirred twice conservation of biological wealth of
Bharathithasan is a seventh standard drop-out.        a day. The panchakavya stock the habitat. During the rainy season,
Greatly inspired by the life history of the           solution is ready within seven days. when the local grasses have reached
inventive genius, Thomas Alva Edison, his             More than a 1000 farmers have half a feet in height, the villagers go
inquiry into science and the laws of nature has       used panchakavya in Erode, to the nearby forest area to collect a
led him to try his hand at inventing things. He       Coimbatore, Salem and other hundred and twenty five different
belongs to a middle class farming family. But         districts of Tamil Nadu, with good herbs! Three auspicious days from
he is not the first family member to be caught        success. Crops are flourishing due the Gujarati calendar in the month
by the inventing bug. Twenty-five years ago,          to bovine intervention.                   of August are reserved for this
Shri Bharathithasan’s father designed a bedding                                                 extraordinary ritual. On the first day
system for placing the electric motor which can       Damming          the      Chemical of the festival, the community
automatically adjust according to the level of        Crusade: Jatan                            collectively goes out in search of
the water in the well. A generational bug, it                                                   the specified 125 medicinal plants.
seems.                                                During the last decade, Jatan (literally, Teak leaves are spread on the ground
                                                      ‘effort’), an NGO based in Vadodara, on which the herbs are placed. The
Herbal Stone Removal: Smt Harshaben                   Gujarat, has done its utmost to inform herbs are then ground to a paste and
Rameshbhai Dadhadiya                                  the farmers and consumers of Gujarat kept in a large vessel. The village
                                                      of the benefits of organic farming. priest stirs the mixture as all the
                 Harshaben belongs to the             Most crucially, they have done this families pour the collections into the
                 Bhanduri village in Junagadh         by providing in a lucid manner the vessel. The mixture is then filtered.
                 district of Gujarat. Not only is     scientific reasons to go organic. They The priest distributes the ‘holy
                 she a farmer, she also maintains     have also sought to put into place a water’ among all the households.
                 a kitchen garden of medicinal        transparent and farmer-friendly One dose is enough antidote for
                 herbs. An expert in making           mechanism to enable organic farmers fever, common cold, and infections
                 lemon pickles, Harshaben is          working with them to sell their for the whole year, say the villagers.
                 also an expert in the                produce. A truly grassroots Does no harm to the local ecology
documentation and dissemination of local              organisation, their efforts might be either, as this marvellous
traditional knowledge. She has an effective           pivotal in turning the tide against custom serves to keep all these
herbal formulation for piles and has cured a lot      chemicals in Gujarat. Let’s hope so, plants alive.
of patients of their stony dilemmas.                  for the sake of the people’s health.
                                        Honey Bee Vol 13(3) July - September 2002

10                                                               A Dialogue on People's Creativity, Experimentation & Innovation
Tales from North India:                     Kamal’s Finds
       In the last issue, we carried a feature on the Shodhyatra undertaken by Kamaljeet and his team in North India.
       Here are some of the more interesting stories they had to relate.

A   Visionary                                            Normally, she would put an old rag        husband and wife would argue over
                                                         on fire and then blow hard to drive       who would locate the candle and who

O    ver fifty-years old, Kartar Singh has made a
     medicine for the eyes using Calotropis. When
he was a child, a knitting needle entered Kartar’s
                                                         the smoke towards the hive. Some
                                                         of the smoke would inevitably go into
                                                         her eyes, causing pain. The two of
                                                                                                   kept it where the last time round. Why
                                                                                                   should they fight over such a simple
                                                                                                   matter, thought Ram Vilas. Let me do
eyes and since then he had pain and vision               them went to the Punjab Agricultural      something about it. So he designed a
problems in dim light. Once, an itinerant herbal         University (PAU), Ludhiana, to see if     gas candle, which is nothing more than
healer gave him a medicine which alleviated his          the formal sector could supply them       a very simple attachment of a gas lamp
troubles. But then he lost contact with the healer.      with a solution. There they came          kept permanently beside the gas stove.
Nevertheless it convinced Kartar that there was a        across the concept of using a motor       All one has to do is turn the knob and
cure and he set about discovering it. He figured         to drive the smoke in the desired         voila, you have a candle to light,
that sight was related to sunlight and that the secret   direction. While PAU still pondered the   always at hand. Obviously the first
lay there. Observing all plants to find which was        idea, the couple came home and            piece was given to the quarrelsome
related to the sun, he remarked that aak (Giant                                                          couple next door. Wonder what
milkweed, Calotropis gigantea) was one plant                                                                 they are fighting about now.
that seemed to relish harsh sunlight. So he
extracted a little milk of the plant and put it                                                            Ram Vilas has other, more
into his eyes. It was very painful. He tried                                                                complex, innovations to his
diluting it in water and cow-milk, with                                                                         credit. He is a Haryana-
better results, but the potion was still too                                                                    based gas mechanic,
strong. Thinking further about the problem,                                                                    who works for an LPG
Kartar deduced that the plant's alkaloid                                                                    cylinder agency as a vendor,
content would not be as high in the                                                                           and makes his unique
mornings and evenings as it would be during                                                                      three-wheeled delivery
the afternoons. This was the final step                                                                          vehicle run on ‘empty’
towards achieving his goal. He now                                                                               LPG cylinders. (See
collects the milk of aak at 4 p.m. and                                                                       HB 13(2): 10)
then makes kajal (kohl) out of it, for easy
application in the eyes. Soaking cotton in the                                                        The            Spirit           of
diluted milk for five or six nights, he makes wicks      designed their       smoke-blower         Enterprise
of it and then burns it to collect the soot in a small   themselves.
vessel. He distributes the medicine to people free                                                 With his father’s death, a twelve-year
of cost. Kartar Singh is a mechanic by profession,       The device is operated by a nine-volt     old Amandeep Singh of Dhaipi village
with a school education that lasted only up to class     battery to which a small motor is         in Ludhiana realised the need to
ten. Still a lot of insight, wouldn’t one say?           attached. As before, a small piece of     support himself and his mother. Aman
                                                         burning sack or cloth, placed near the    began with a small video-game shop
Blowing them Away                                        motor, is used to make smoke. The         in his home, with a simple remote
                                                         motor acts as a blower and the smoke      operated console, that drew a good
Jagdev Singh and Jagtar Kaur, a couple from a            comes out from the nozzle, which          crowd from the village children.
village in Ludhiana, have together designed an           imparts direction to it. Part of the      Business was good for a year, before
electric smoke-blower. Jagdev Singh is an                daily hey-ho for this homely woman        the village seth realised that it was
agriculture sub-inspector in the Punjab                  innovator!                                really too good to be missed, and
government, holds a diploma in agriculture and                                                     bought a state of the art video game
has had a stint as a professional bee-keeper. His        A Simple Solution to a                    equipment costing Rs 12, 000, with a
wife, Jagtar Kaur, is a school dropout and manages       Complicated Problem                       steering and pedal to simulate the
their beehive at home. Faced with the problem of                                                   experience of driving. Offered more
how to drive the bees away when collecting honey,        Ram Vilas heard his neighbours
it was her need that propelled the making of this        quarrelling and was distressed.
electric smoke-blower to fumigate the beehive.           Whenever there was a power-cut, the                        Contd... on page 23

                                          Honey Bee Vol 13(3) July - September 2002

Will you stand by the IPRs of peasants ?                                                                                            11
  Honey Bee                            Poultry Practices: Of Lice, Ranikhet and Feed

                                                        as a way of treating Ranikhet.           Ranikhet.)
                                                        Innovator:    S    Balu,     Vill:       Nutritional Values
                                                        Kulamangalam, Dist: Pudukottai
                                                                                                  13307       Feeding Young Turks
                                                   13305 Smt Karuppayee is 60 years
                                                                                                 In the absence of proper care, the
                                                 old and treats many animal and
Num Vali Velanmai                                human diseases. She has conserved
                                                                                                 mortality level of birds in the young
(Tamil Version of Honey Bee)                                                                     chicks of turkey can be high. Leaf
                                                 more than 67 medicinal plants in her
P Vivekanandan, Editor, SEVA, 45, TPM Nagar,                                                     extracts of adhatod (Adhatoda
Virattipathu, Madurai 625010, Tamil Nadu. email: farm. She says that whenever White              vasica) and poduthalai (Phyla                                 Diarrhoea or Ranikhet occurs in
                                                                                                 nodiflora) should be regularly
                                                 poultry, the affected chicken must
                                                                                                 included in the feed for providing
 Lice Control in Poultry                         be removed and kept separately.
                                                                                                 immunity against disease. Further,
                                                 Then turmeric, a little tamarind fruit
 13301 Through Calotropis                                                                        three day old seedlings of black
                                                                                                 gram should also be fed to the
To control lice, place Calotropis leaves and stem                                                young chicks. This will ensure a
in the sheltering pen before the birds return at                                                 good body weight gain. Shri Balu
night. The lice collected in the leaves during the                                               developed this practice when he
night can easily be disposed off the next                                                        saw that young seedlings are served
morning. Some farmers also use the leaves                                                        in hotels as snacks!
of thinnutru pachilai (Ocimum basilicum)
or vammarai (Chloroxyion swietania)                                                              Innovator: S Balu
                                                                                                  13308       Termite to Poultry
Farmer: Shri S Karuppiah, PO: Devadanam,
Dist: Virudhunagar. Comm: P Banumathi                                                            A traditional practice followed in the
                                                                                                 Pudhukkotai and Tirunelveli districts
13302    Or Seethaphal                                                                           for catching termites to feed poultry
                                                                        and Aloe vera            birds includes the filling of a mud pot
Leaves of seethaphal (custard apple) are                        should all be ground             with old jute sacks, paddy straw,
placed in the poultry shelter to prevent a lice           together and mixed with                 maize husk or any dried crop stubbles,
attack. This can be done once the place is             polished (broken) rice for                 and dried cow dung. After being
smoked out with sampirani (Benzoate) ‘incense’. the feed. This practice helps prevent            moistened with water, the pot is
Innovator: Smt Karuppayee, Merpanaikadu, 1 st mortality in birds.                                placed upside down in the field. The
Ward, Tal: Aranthangi, Dist: Pudhukottai                                                         inverted pot will be full of termites by
                                                        Innovator: Smt Karuppayee
                                                                                                 the next morning and can be used as
 13303 Or Thumbai                                        13306 About 3 ml of a decoction         poultry feed. This improves nutrition
                                                        made out of the bark of velvelam         in the birds. It has the additional
Ms Selvi tells of yet another method for controlling    is administered orally to the affected   advantage of preventing termite attack
lice. Thumbai (Leucas aspera) plant juice should        birds. This stops diarrhoea within       on other crops or domestic material.
be extracted, diluted in water and sprinkled over       four to five hours. The birds could      The practice has been accepted by the
the birds. This, too, helps keep the birds lice-free.   then resume normal feeding and           Departmtent of Animal Husbandry
                                                        become active. The innovator             and is being disseminated by
Innovator: Ms Selvi, Vill: Sornakadu, Tal:
Peravoorni, Dist: Thanjavur                             attended a herbal healing course for     veterinarians.
                                                        animals organised by SEVA. Later
                                                                                                 Comm: Dr Mariadass,            Retired
Three Methods to control Ranikhet                       he tested this practice in his village
                                                                                                 Veterinary Official, Tiruchi
                                                        and found success with it.
 13304 Leaves of veliparuthi (Pergularia                                                         (A similar practice has been
daemia), kuppaimeni (Acalypha indica), the              Innovator: K Palanimuthu, Vill:
                                                        Siruvachur, Dist: Salem                  documented in Rajasthan where cobs
bark of neem (Azadirachta indica), and velvelam                                                  of maize with the grains removed are
(Acacia leucoceploea) are ground well, mixed            (See Honey Bee 13(1): 8-9 for a way      placed in a pot to control termites. See
with ragi flour and given to birds for feeding          to vaccinate the chicken against         Honey Bee, 7(1): 13)

                                         Honey Bee Vol 13(3) July - September 2002

12                                                                 A Dialogue on People's Creativity, Experimentation & Innovation
Length Matters                                         Its branches are colourful and
                                                       smooth to touch, creating the illusion
                                                                                                of tobacco powder are boiled in 20
                                                                                                litres of water till one fourth of the
                                                       of a snake. A 1.5 to 2 feet long         original solution remains. Then 50
                                                       piece of such a branch fools the         gm of the powder of the dried fruit
                                                       rats into believing that it is a real    of aritha (Sapindus emarginatus)
                                                       snake. The branch does not begin         are added and mixed well. Then the
(Gujarati version of Honey Bee)                        to wither until after 15 days or so.     decoction is allowed to cool. Two
Ramesh Patel, Editor, C/o SRISTI, Post Box             If changed every 15 days twice or        sprays are administered (140 ml of
No. 15050, Ambawadi, Ahmedabad - 380 015.              thrice, these branches control rats      the decoction diluted in 15 litres of
email:                           effectively.                             water).

 13309         Longer Pandura                          (A similar practice using the fruit of   (See Honey Bee 2(1): 14-15; 3(3&4):
                                                       garmalo (Cassia fistula) has earlier     3; 6(1): 13; 8(1): 20-21; 9(1): 16;
                                                       been published in Loksarvani.)           9(3): 10, 15; 10(1): 13; 10(3): 13;
Farmers often use innovative and strange                                                        11(1): 15; 11(3): 10; 12(2): 9, 12(4):
techniques to obtain better and higher yields.         Innovator: Smt Sitaben Lasiyabhai        9, for more information regarding the
Pandura (Trichosanthes anguina) seeds, sown            Gaikwad. Vill and PO: Savarda            control of Heliothis spp.)
in the monsoon, are nourished by making a              Kasad, Tal: Ahwa, Dist: the Dangs
mandavo (support structure for the vine).
Pandura grows sticks like that of a saragavo                                                     13312     Datura for Blight
                                                       Organic Techniques for Cumin
(drumstick). Smt Madhuben Bhalabhai Prajapati
from Kudola village ties a stone at the end of                                                  A decoction is prepared by boiling
                                                       Jayantibhai sowed his cumin seed         three kg of the leaves of dhaturo
the pandura stick to increase its height.              crop in the winter of the year 2001.
Sometimes the stick is stunted and bent. The                                                    (Datura spp) in 20 litres of water
                                                       The crop was twice irrigated for         till it is reduced to one fourth of
weight of the stone helps correct this. The stone      better yield. It was first irrigated
is carefully chosen as it must be of a weight                                                   the solution. The decoction (150 ml
                                                       after a maturity period of 25 days       diluted in 15 litres of water) is
that the stick can bear. The adversity that the        and the second irrigation followed
plant has to bear due to the weight apparently                                                  sprayed four times, after 45, 55, 65
                                                       after a period of 45 days. At this       and 75 days respectively.
helps it achieve greater growth. This experiment       stage of maturity, cumin is severely
has been in practice for the last three years.         damaged by a disease called charmi        13313 Salvadora Strikes
                                                       (blight). In addition to this, sucking
Farmer: Smt Madhuben Bhalabhai Prajapati. Vill
                                                       pests and black aphids are a great
and PO :Kudol, Tal: Modasa, Dist: Sabarkantha                                                   Three kg leaves of pilu-vakhdo
                                                       nuisance. Jayantibhai has a few
                                                                                                (Salvadora oleoides) are boiled in 20
                                                       spray treatments for controlling pest
                                                                                                litres of water till reduced to one
 13310         For a Plant Like Laut                   and disease.
                                                                                                fourth of the original solution. For
                                                                                                chhara (powdery mildew) too, the
The Dangs district has the highest density of           13311        Controlling         the
                                                                                                spray is administered four times (300
forest area in all of Gujarat. The people of the       Heliothis Larvae
                                                                                                ml of the decoction diluted in 15 litres
region use a plant called laut for controlling rats.
                                                                                                of water) after 45, 55, 65 and 75 days
They say that laut grows from a root (kand)            Four kg of Kunvarpathu (Aloe
                                                                                                respectively. This experiment costs Rs
and can be found during monsoons in forests.           vera), 500 ml neem oil and 500 gm
                                                                                                7000 per acre, including labour costs.
                                                                                                Jayantibhai placed an ad in a local TV
                                                                                                channel for his organic cumin. It was
                                                                                                taken from his doorstep at the rate of
                                                                                                Rs 125/ kg when last year's rates in
                                                                                                the market were Rs 80-90/ kg. There
                                                                                                is also the satisfaction of getting equal
                                                                                                yields, and higher quality and price,
                                                                                                without the use of chemicals. The
                                                                                                guidance of Loksarvani, he says, was
                                                                                                quite helpful in the experiment.

                                                                                                Farmer: Shri Jayantibhai Dhanjibhai
                                                                                                Patel. Vill: Anandpura Kampa, Tal:
                                                                                                Modasa, Dist: Sabarkantha

                                         Honey Bee Vol 13(3) July - September 2002

Will you stand by the IPRs of peasants ?                                                                                            13
      Challenge                         Search
                                     In Search of Succour
                                            Working-class women in India have to battle both economic hardship
                                            and obsolete technologies that affect them badly in their day-to-day
                                            living. On the 3rd of August 2002, a state-level Co-ordinating meeting
                                            was held among the representatives of SEW (Self-Employed Women’s
                                            Association) from different states. Two representatives from NIF and
                                            SRISTI, Riya Sinha and Hema Patel, also participated in the meeting,
                                            organised to discuss the problems faced by workers in SEWA industries.
                                            Now, our idea in highlighting these problems is to enthuse innovators
                                            to find imaginative and inexpensive solutions in order to alleviate
                                            the drudgery of women involved in these professions. We hope
                                            innovators reading this are inspired to come up with something creative

Kundan (Jewellery) Cottage Industry The              in a longitudinal direction. This repetitive exercise results in arm muscles
enterprise is widely popular in Lucknow and          being unduly stretched. After some time their hands lose the capacity
surrounding areas. To give a good shape and          to perform hard physical work. Women are keenly interested in a feasible
the desired design to Kundan ornaments (artificial   innovation in order to overcome this problem.
jewellery), the process of heating the gum is
required to be repeated quite frequently. In the
process, women repeatedly use the fire-oven,         Challenges in the Handicrafts Industry
creating two basic problems. It raises the
temperature of their bodies and causes waist         Lucknawi work The Lucknawi or chikan school of cloth designing is
pain. The women feel that there is a need to         a collaborative process with four to five persons at work on each kurta
change the shape and size of the older oven.         or dress shirt. It is highly intricate work and one worker takes two days
                                                     per piece. The returns are low, though – only about Rs 10-12 per kurta.
                                                     Moreover, workers are quite frequently subject to eye-strain and backache.
Batua Cottage Industry In the Chhatarpur             The introduction of machines has led to higher output in the short term.
district of Madhya Pradesh, fashioning batuas        But machines create problems too, with the thread breaking quite often
(small purses) is a very popular cottage             and it not being easy to reset the machine again and again.
industry. In this job women mostly use hard
textural cotton cloth. To give shape to the          Zardozi work A large number of children are employed in the zardozi
batua, women first cut the cotton by scissors        sector, besides women. Between 50, 000 to 60, 000 workers are involved
                                                     in zardozi work in Ahmedabad alone. In this school of work, women mostly
                                                     use a large-sized iron frame for creating the design and subsequently the
                                                     desired shape of the piece of cloth is fashioned. The job requires a high
                                                     degree of attention to detail as a false stitch could undo the embroidery
                                                     and, as a result, is fraught with problems. Mostly, the job is performed
                                                     under dark indoor conditions since women are not allowed by their
                                                     husbands to work outside, either in the verandah or in the front of the
                                                     house. Therefore bulb light or lamp light is needed. Setting the light source
                                                     on the front side of the frame causes major problems to the eye. The
                                                     reflection of the light results in eye diseases, while the positioning of the
                                                     source behind the workers creates problems of inadequate light. The
                                                     outcome is poor in both cases. A large number of workers take to wearing
                                                     spectacles within a few years of taking up the embroidery work. Room
                                                     for a social innovation, perhaps.

                                        Honey Bee Vol 13(3) July - September 2002

 14                                                             A Dialogue on People's Creativity, Experimentation & Innovation
                             Abd bigrle
                               ii en old            Silk Cottage Industry
                                                    In Bihar, silk cottage industries are
                                                    widely popular and usually run by
                                                    women. Women use their thighs
                                                    and fingers to give shape to the
                                                    thread, badly scrapping the skin of
                                                    their thighs and fingers. The women
                                                    lose their physical efficiency as a
                                                    result. They need immediate

Agarbatti or Incense sticks

There are around 25,000 to 30,000 women working in the incense stick               Papad or Fritters
industry in Ahmedabad. Each woman makes 5,000 sticks of agarbatti daily
       Two generations rolling incense together
                                                    and earns about Rs 35 for      The art of making papad (dry fritter to be
                                                    it. A mixture prepared out     fried) is a delicate and time-consuming process.
                                                    of coal dust, imli seed        Ingredients such as pulses, pepper and soda
                                                    powder,         chemicals,     powder are mixed with water, and kneaded into
                                                    essence, glue, oil and water   a dough into which a little oil is poured. This
                                                    is rolled around the stick     dough is at first flattened, then smoothened,
                                                    by the worker using her        and finally rolled into still thinner pieces with
                                                    hands. Owing to the            a roller-pin. The workers face the problem of
                                                    continual action of rolling    swelling in their palms, which reduces their
                                                    the material on to the         efficiency. The weather, too, plays a role in
                                                    stick by hand, the skin on     the making of papad, which have to be left
                                                    the hands of the worker        out in the sun to dry. Too much sun and it
                                                    gets scraped-off. Over the     dries in excess and becomes brittle; too little
                                                    years, the skin thins from     and it does not dry enough. A mild early
                                                    the scraping and is likely     morning sun is believed to be ideal for drying.
                                                    to start bleeding at the       Workers receive a mere Rs 5 or so per kg.
slightest irritation. A host of other problems plague workers making incense       Given the effort that goes into the making, a
sticks including cough, difficulty in breathing, weakness in the eyes and          worker can rarely prepare more than two or
backache brought about by crouching throughout while rolling the stick             three kilos of papad per day. The process is
in the mixture. Some workers have tried using hand-gloves while working            long and painful, and machinery that replaces
but that did not work out as the end product was of poor quality. The              these workers instead of aiding them threatens
dilemma: how to protect one’s hands while making good quality sticks?              to rob the workers of their livelihood. Is there
                                                                                   an alternative to pain and replacement?

Bidis, cheap unfiltered cigarettes rolled in dry leaves, are made of tendu leaves
(Coromandel ebony persimmon/ Diospyros melanoxylon) and tobacco. Again, the bidi-
making process is time-consuming, with tendu leaves first being soaked overnight in
water. In the morning, the leaves are cut and mixed with tobacco and then rolled
up and tied. The tendu leaves that they are being supplied with not being of a very
high quality, workers are forced to waste a good deal of the leaves while making
the bidis. The major veins of the tendu leaves are also removed because they are
perceived as waste material. Since waste of leaves means waste of money, the workers
want to put the thread or organic manure from the waste organic material to use.
They have not been able to do that so far owing to lack of skills/ tools/ technology.
This is one. Also, the cost to health is high, with bidi-makers suffering from various
illnesses caused by the nicotine content in tobacco. These include breathing difficulties,
eye-related problems, and nicotine-related TB and cancers.
                                        Honey Bee Vol 13(3) July - September 2002

Will you stand by the IPRs of peasants ?                                                                                       15
        Debate                The Right to Know about Their Knowledge: PIC
THE ISSUE OF Intellectual Property Rights              Reactions to the PIC Note                  considerable collective effort behind
(IPRs) and resultant benefits for the innovator and                                               that person. This is NOT to deny the
                                                       Individual and the Community
the community at large is still a contested domain.                                               critical role that individuals do play,
The National Innovation Foundation (NIF) was set       Ashish Kothari (Coordinator, NBSAP         nor even to accept that sometimes
up in March 2000 with the aim of building a            Technology and Policy Core Group,          individuals do this despite a hostile
national register of outstanding traditional           Kalpavriksh,                     Pune,     collective environment, but simply
knowledge and grassroots innovations and      was                that one cannot focus the entire PIC
protecting small innovators’ rights and interests.     concerned that there was an                process on the individual alone. At
(Please see NIF also organises      excessive focus on the role of the         some level the collectivity within
an annual campaign/ competition to reward              individual as opposed to the               which the individual works needs to
creativity at the grassroots. In the second annual     community in the earlier draft of the      be involved in the PIC process.’
campaign NIF received more than 13,000 entries,        PIC note. ‘My old sense of discomfort
up from about 1600 such examples in the first year.    remains with what I think is an            G Utkarsh (researcher with FRLHT,
                                                       excessive focus on the individual.         Bangalore and active member of the
This automatically raises the issue of how to deal     While I fully accept that all              HB Network, g.utkarsh@frlht-
with an entry for an innovation/ outstanding           innovations are not by communities responds: ‘Well made
traditional knowledge in terms of dissemination,       as a whole, and that individual traits     suggestions. This year some NIF
value addition and so on. NIF has adopted the          that make for innovations are              awards may also be declared for
concept of ‘Prior Informed Consent’ (PIC),             important, I think you sometimes err       communities, for example the
wherein the innovator is presented, in the local       in playing down the role of the            coconut dehusking hand tools. This
language, with all the choices before him/ her and     communities. Even individual               has been on the agenda for quite some
decides in what manner he/ she wishes to proceed.      innovations are often a result of inputs   time and this year a few communities
The PIC form is accompanied by a PIC note              from various members of the                have also applied as groups.’
which explains and elaborates on the available         community, explicit or hidden. Your
choices. The PIC form is presented to all              note does acknowledge the role of the      Manuel Ruiz (SPDA, Peru,
innovators whose entries are included in the           community in the benefit-sharing  has a slightly
National Register.                                     paragraphs, but I think it is important    different viewpoint: ‘It does strike me
                                                       to build in this role in the consent       as very interesting to note how your
The draft note was sent out to a number of people      process itself. It is also important to    work is dealing directly with individual
to elicit reactions and feedback, which were           share with the innovators the potential    innovators at the community level. I
valuable in giving final shape to the form and note.   risks of a process that focuses on the     mention this because of the general
What follows is a debate on the draft note, and        individual, especially when that           perception of people who advocate for
the PIC form and note (pp 16-19) as they are in        individual may become ‘famous’ or          collective rights recognition, which is
their present form, after incorporating some of        ‘rich’ due to it. We have all seen this    certainly an important issue. The issue
the responses to the drafts. With the publication      process happening when the Indian          of “collectiveness” versus individuals
of the form and the note, we look forward to a         media (or NGOs or governments for          is really fascinating. Even more so
more informed discussion and further                   that matter) focus on the individual,      because it is in this tension that
improvements.                                          forgetting that there has been             incentives can play a role in promoting

                                         NATIONAL INNOVATION FOUNDATION, INDIA
                                                                     The Third National Annual Competition for             CO-SPONSORS
                                                        Scouting Grassroots Unaided Technological Innovations
                         Do you have any new idea, unaided technological innovation
                                       or outstanding traditional knowledge to share
                                                         with the National Register ?
               IF YES, write back and win awards ranging from Rs 1,00,000 to Rs 25,000

                                                       Innovations by/for women are specially invited
                                                                National Coordinator, National Innovation Foundation
                                Bunglow 1, Satellite Complex, Premchand Nagar Road, Ahmedabad - 380 015, Gujarat
                                                            email:    website:
                                                         M A K I N G         I N D I A       I N N O V A T I V E               C S I R

                                        Honey Bee Vol 13(3) July - September 2002

16                                                                A Dialogue on People's Creativity, Experimentation & Innovation
                                                                                                   THE NET...THE
   Would you like us to put
                                                  You know, the net?                               WORLD WIDE...
    your knowledge on the                                                                                                 All right, if it
            web?                                      Internet?
                                                                                                                         makes you happy.

maintenance and continued use of traditional            the law. The claims of examination           However, benefits can be in many
knowledge. I firmly believe in individuality and the    of innovation as well as the power to        forms (commercial, social, political,
need to create incentives at this level. Even in        uphold the claim must lie with the           technological, cultural), and all the
contexts where reciprocity prevails as a common         State. Otherwise there is no legitimacy      options should be available to the
practice and the notion of individual ownership is      and no guarantee of its being                innovators/ innovating communities.
somewhat blurred, I wonder if it is more effective      honoured. It is true that the State          NIF or other institutions could
to target individual innovators and, as the case may    guarantee does not extend beyond             perhaps research what the options are
be, guarantee that benefits accrue – to some extent     national boundaries: a point also raised     for each innovation, and present them
– to communities as a whole.’                           by Ashish Kothari. Multilateral              in understandable ways, along with
                                                        negotiations are here to address this        their implications. I understand that
Benefit-Sharing: Modalities                             problem. NIF is doing an excellent job.      this is a tall order, but a beginning has
                                                        But the proposed form is too                 to be made, and who is in a better
Nirmal Sengupta (Director, Madras Institute of                                                       position to do this than yourselves?’
                                                        ambitious. It has to be curtailed after
Development Studies, Chennai) says that a Consent
                                                        clear identification of NIF’s scope and
Form for innovators is an important step, since                                                      Again, G Utkarsh responds to this:
India does not have such a mechanism in place                                                        ‘Well made suggestions again. Your
yet. But he cautions against NIF directly getting                                                    demand will add force to this concern,
                                                        Manuel Ruiz and Sudhirender Sharma
involved in the benefit sharing arrangements: ‘As                                                    that is both raised and actually met
                                                        (of Energy Environment Group, New
long as NIF was involved in activities like                                                          by NIF in innovators melas.
                                                        Delhi), too, wonder how it would
competition alone, improper claims of innovation                                                     Networks like GIAN meant to add
                                                        work. Ruiz says, ‘Your work clearly
would not have created problems. Even if an                                                          value to innovations, and other NIF
                                                        stresses the efforts of individual
already known product or process was submitted,                                                      networks being established, are in fact
                                                        innovators       and   their     due
judges would have set those aside. But the moment                                                    focusing more on sociological
                                                        compensation (benefit sharing). I
NIF enters into benefit sharing issues, the criteria                                                 incentives than commercial ones,
                                                        wonder how this incentive is working
and process of examination of claims would be                                                        though this should reflect more in the
                                                        out in terms of internal community
crucial. In absence of that all types of misuse may                                                  PIC process, as to what kind of help,
                                                        structures and how relations are
happen – even to the extent that once an NIF                                                         including simple publicity, the
                                                        working out among the innovator and
innovation turns out to be commercially successful                                                   innovator may want.’
                                                        the rest of community members.’
a hundred others file claims of innovation on almost
                                                        Sudhirender Sharma inquires: ‘Who            How ‘Informed’ is Informed?
the same matter. Unless NIF has already developed
                                                        identifies the community leaders and/
processes to reject the claims in a legitimate manner                                                Ashish Kothari also takes issue with
                                                        or how can one be sure about the
it will not be advisable to enter into the benefit                                                   the concept of ‘informed.’ ‘Even
distribution process. My suggestion will be that                                                     though NIF intends to communicate
NIF does not directly take up benefit distribution      Ashish Kothari has a slightly different      with the innovator in his/ her local
but advises and helps potential cases and applicants    take on the whole idea of ‘benefits’:        language,’ he says, ‘I think it is also
to use the government IPR facilities. Advising and      ‘In the benefit-sharing clauses [in the      important to simultaneously build the
helping small innovators is very important work.        earlier draft], there seems to be an         capacity of innovators and their
The Foundation may advise innovators on benefit         assumption that benefits are only or
distribution procedures and shares as agreed in         primarily commercial/ financial.                               Contd... on page 21
                                         Honey Bee Vol 13(3) July - September 2002

Will you stand by the IPRs of peasants ?                                                                                                 17
National Innovation Foundation, Ahmedabad
Prior Informed Consent

National Innovation Foundation (NIF) is extremely happy that you have                entry. What we hope is that as the awareness increases in society about
shared the Innovation/Traditional Knowledge developed/communicated by                ethical ways of accessing people’s knowledge, more and more people will
you based on your own and independent effort or drawn from community                 comply with these conditions.
knowledge pool. It has been included in the National Register of Grassroots
                                                                                     The process of seeking consent by NIF provides the Innovator/Traditional
Innovations and Traditional Knowledge (with the understanding that you
                                                                                     Knowledge Holder/s with complete information on the basis of which to
have disclosed all aspects of the innovation or traditional knowledge and
                                                                                     make an informed decision. In case of incomplete information provided by
we fully believe that you have not hidden any information in the innovation).
                                                                                     you, we will be bound only by the columns ticked or instructions provided.
We need your informed consent before we decide to share this with any
                                                                                     Wherever possible, if your innovation or traditional knowledge has been
third party, or on the web or in any publication, or with any prospective
                                                                                     scouted by some third party, he/she will also try to explain to you the
entrepreneur or potential investor, or other individuals or communities
                                                                                     implications of PIC.
requiring that knowledge for their own livelihood needs, with or without
any restriction as per your instructions.                                            Definition
The objective is to balance the twin goals, partly in conflict, of dissemination     Unaided technological Innovation refers to any technological improvement
                                                                                     in an existing method, use or material involved in solving a problem or

and protection of your innovation/traditional knowledge. Dissemination will
benefit communities and individuals directly without any cost whereas the            producing a product or service; or a new invention or application of existing

protection and potential commercialization of the same through contractual           technologies without taking the help from any outside agency or institution
arrangements may also help them but at some cost. If we had an intellectual          in the formal or informal sector. Innovations or inventions/traditional
property rights system in our country that granted the rights quickly, we            knowledge which may cause any adverse consequence to the environment

could have got you the protection for new and non-obvious innovations                or cause any moral hazard, will be excluded from the purview of NIF.
with industrial applications. We could have then shared the innovation with          Traditional Knowledge is any knowledge, innovation or practice produced

others without causing any trade off. It is because of the absence of such           by individual knowledge experts, healers, crafts persons etc., alone or in
a system that we need your Prior Informed Consent (PIC) so that we do                groups or community a long time ago or several generations ago.
what you think proper under the circumstances. PIC is also needed to fulfill
ethical responsibility that NIF has towards knowledge providers (individuals         There are three implications of “Informed Consent” (1) that the innovators/
                                                                                     knowledge providers have been fully informed of all information relevant to

                                        m ed
or communities) and grassroots innovators.
                                                                                     the activity for which the consent is sought, in the native language or other
NIF is duty bound to follow your instruction and keep complete confidentiality       mode of communication; (2) the innovators/traditional knowledge holders
if that is advised. The purpose is to make you aware of your rights as a             understand and agree in writing to the carrying out of the activity for which
knowledge provider and as a contestant in the National Competition for               the consent is sought, and the consent describes that activity and lists the

                                       m it
scouting green grassroots innovations and traditional knowledge. It is not           records/innovations or traditional knowledge that will be released to third
required as yet by law but NIF has decided to take your PIC so as to follow          party; and (3) the innovators/traditional knowledge holders understand
an ethical practice. This will help generate an environment of trust among           that the consent is voluntary and may be revoked by them.

                                      o v
various stakeholders who may provide innovation or add value to it or may
have an interest in commercial or non-commercial diffusion of the same.              It is true however, that even after you sign the form, you are free to change
However, if the knowledge, innovation or practice provided by you is                 your mind and decide not to participate in the value chain or technology
already well known and is in public domain, then the restrictions on its             transfer process.

                                     C In
diffusion or application will not apply.                                             But such a change may not be binding on the agreements already entered
Community knowledge, innovation and practices may some times be                      into by then by NIF or any third party assigned with the responsibility. NIF
communicated by individuals who may or may not have improved it                      may enter into contractual arrangements with the individuals/institutions
significantly. In general, we will appreciate if any communicator of                 with in or outside the country to add value or file patents or license this
community Innovation or traditional knowledge would ensure the following             technology on commercial or non-commercial basis as per the conditions
conditions:                                                                          specified by the knowledge provider.

    (i)     Knowledge of a community, as it exists, is shared with NIF               If the conditions given in the consent form are changed after such contracts
            preferably after obtaining the informed consent of the concerned         have been signed, then it might not be possible always to cancel such
            community leaders, with the understanding that individual                contracts. NIF is duty bound to keep you informed of the progress in the
            improvements in the same can indeed be communicated after                development, if any, of your idea or innovation. You can change your
            informing the community.                                                 views at that stage also.

    (ii)    The degree to which a given traditional knowledge is known and/          Implications for each of the conditions:
            or practised within or among communities may be disclosed in             A. Sharing of address with a third party
            the submission.
                                                                                     Quite often people interested in an idea or innovation or traditional knowledge
    (iii)   In the case of community traditional knowledge, any individual           are keen to find out more about the same, just for curiosity’s sake, or for
            may share the same with NIF as stated above, but the right if any        adding value or doing further research or for exploring commercial
            (that is if the traditional knowledge is not in public domain already)   opportunities of using the same.
            would belong to the community represented by its leaders or
            customary institutions except in the cases where (i)                     Benefits:
            improvements are brought about by individuals or (ii) only an            ☯     The third party may directly contact you and thus his/her transaction
            individual practices or specializes in that knowledge. In the latter           cost of seeking information will be reduced
            two cases, the benefits if any would be shared between the               ☯     You may be able to assess the terms of possible agreement directly
            individual and the community.                                                  without any influence or suggestion by NIF
It is obvious that each individual communicator or community representative          ☯     Dissemination of your ideas may take place directly though you without
submitting entry to NIF will have to ensure compliance with these conditions.              any chance of distortion or loss of information
NIF will act in good faith and without negligence and hope that this will
eventually become a general practice in the country. NIF will have no
machinery of its own to ensure that this has indeed been the case in each            ☯     While dealing with a third party, you may or may not be able to (a)

                                                   Honey Bee Vol 13(3) July - September 2002

 18                                                                              A Dialogue on People's Creativity, Experimentation & Innovation
                                                       CONSENT FORM
                                    Participants in National Competition for scouting grassroots
                                  technological innovations and outstanding traditional knowledge
     National Innovation Foundation                                                                                  Honey Bee Network

Dear innovators/outstanding traditional knowledge experts,

National Innovation Foundation (NIF) was established by the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India in
March 2000 to recognize and promote grassroots innovations that are often ignored by mainstream society. This will prevent
the erosion of knowledge, increase the social esteem of the grassroots innovators and help make India an innovative society.
The first round of National Contest for scouting unaided technological innovations during 2000, received 998 entries and
recognized 1660 innovations and outstanding examples of traditional knowledge. These were included in the National Register
and 87 of these were rewarded as outstanding contributions. We are trying to add value to these so that benefits can be shared
with the innovators and new products and services become available for the larger social good.

We are very keen to have your written consent for sharing the innovation/traditional knowledge that you have shared with us
by submitting your entry in Annual Competition for scouting grassroots innovations. We assure you full compliance with the
conditions specified by you.
  Reference No.:________________________________________

Title of Innovation / Idea: ______________________________________________________________________

We will appreciate it if you could tick the appropriate boxes (for items A - E) which apply in your case:            Yes       No
A.  Can we share your address with those interested?
B.  My innovation / idea / TK can be put on the internet / Honey Bee Newsletter /other media
C.  NIF can share my idea/innovation under the following condition/s:
    (a) With restriction imposed
         (b)      Only on commercial basis
         (c)      No cost for individual use but on commercial basis for larger users
         (d)      With further research on it
         (e)      Any other? Please specify ____________________________________________________________
D.       I want to assign the technology to NIF so that it can mediate on my behalf
         (i)      For developing business plan by third party / students
         (ii)     Product development
         (iii)    Intellectual Property Right protection
         (iv)     For technology transfer to third party

         If yes, do you agree that benefits could be shared in following proportion with different stakeholders,
         innovator, 35 per cent, innovator’s community/village 15 per cent, innovation promotion fund 20 per cent,
         researchers who may add value to the innovations 15 per cent, and institutional overheads 15 per cent;

         If you want to propose an alternative benefit sharing system, please so advise:
         Innovator                        Community/Village           Innovation promotion fund

            Researchers/or those who add value                             Institutional overheads

E.       I authorise NIF to modify some of the above conditions (A - D) in order to facilitate Product Development
         and / or commercialisation of my innovation whenever necessary with prior consent

           _____________________                                                          ________________
           Innovator’s Signature                                                              Date
Correct if any inadequacy exists in your address written on the letter:
Name of the innovator: ________________________________________________________________________

Address for communication: ____________________________________________________________________
     (Bungalow No 1, Satellite Complex, Jodhpur Tekra, Premchand Nagar Road, Ahmedabad - 380 015, Gujarat, India)
                                                Honey Bee Vol 13(3) July - September 2002

Will you stand by the IPRs of peasants ?                                                                                           19
       ascertain the genuineness of the information seeker, (b) negotiate a               use the disclosed information.
       favorable deal, (c) or draw up a proper agreement safeguarding
                                                                                    o     Once the information is disclosed, a patent cannot be granted on the
       your interests
                                                                                          disclosed information. Any specific part of the technology not
In case you do not provide your full address, we offer to mediate and help                disclosed can still be protected.
in the process of negotiation and try to protect you from unscrupulous
                                                                                    o     Potential investors, entrepreneurs, or scientists may not contact you
parties. However, even if you wish to deal directly with the third party and
                                                                                          for the development/ commercialisation of the product if they can
at some stage seek our help in negotiation, you are always welcome to
                                                                                          make it with the help of disclosed information on their own.
contact NIF.
                                                                                    o     Other people may benefit from it without giving you any credit for the
B. Sharing of the Innovation/ Idea on the web site or through publication in
Honey Bee or other media like film: with or without full disclosure
                                                                                    C. Sharing of information
Nature of disclosure:
                                                                                    (a)   with restriction imposed
-We can show only the summary
                                                                                    (b)   on commercial basis
-We can show the entry in detail

                                                                                    (c)   on no-cost basis for personal application or household use only
Partial Disclosure or Disclosure in Summary Form only

                                                                                    (d)   with further research or value addition in it
                                                                                    (e)   any other
☯      Potential entrepreneurs, investors, or other collaborators including

       researchers in private or public sector may show interest in joining         (a) With restriction imposed
       hands in improving the technology or TK or disseminating it on               The knowledge provider may like to be consulted before taking up any

       commercial or non-commercial basis in society. The summary statement         value addition or licensing discussions with third party. Some innovators/
       for a herbal technology may mean, for instance, “a herbal solution to        traditional knowledge holders would like non-monetary benefits such as
       treat diabetes developed based on local available raw materials”.            attachment (appellation) of their name to any product that is developed and
       Likewise, in the case of a machine it may be, “a motorcycle based            diffused, or credited to them in the product package or on label. Likewise,
       ploughing machine”.

                                            m ed
                                                                                    they could put any other restriction, which NIF is expected to follow.
☯      Appreciation may follow from others within and outside one’s
                                                                                    (b) On commercial basis
       community when others with similar problems read or hear about
       your innovation. This recognition may prove to be more valuable for          The right to use the technology is granted to a third party only on the basis
                                                                                    of benefit sharing. The terms may vary from one commercial deal to another.

                                           m it
       some people than any monetary reward.
                                                                                    In some cases, the entrepreneur may agree to offer a small amount as up-
☯      The media (press, radio, television etc,) may approach you for wider
                                                                                    front license fee but may share a given proportion of gross sales (generally
       sharing of your innovation/traditional knowledge if they find the

                                          o v
                                                                                    2-3 per cent) as royalty for a given period of time. However, the ability of a
       summary of your information interesting
                                                                                    technology to generate commercial demand may depend upon its
Risk                                                                                uniqueness, its commercial viability, whether the technology is in usable
                                                                                    form or requires further research and development to convert innovation

                                         C In
☯      Potential investors, entrepreneurs, or scientists may not contact you
       for development/commercialisation of product if they can make it             or idea into product. Thus, even if somebody ticks this option, it may be
       with the help of disclosed information on their own                          appreciated that NIF may not be able to immediately generate commercial
                                                                                    options for everybody submitting entries to the National Register. We will
FULL DISCLOSURE                                                                     share synoptic information on the web and in our databases, and then
Benefits                                                                            potential entrepreneurs may show interest in a specific technology or
☯      Any third party can contact you directly regarding your innovation/
       traditional knowledge with their queries.
☯      Your innovation/traditional knowledge may gain recognition, publicity        The risk in marking this option is that only those users may get the advantage
       and respect among the readers/viewers/listeners.                             of your innovation or traditional knowledge who have the capacity to pay
                                                                                    for the right to license the technology. Further, in the absence of sharing full
☯      Horizontal dissemination among peers or other members of local or            detail with others, those interested in developing this technology further
       wider community may encourage experimentation and possible                   may not be able to do so.
       utilization of the disclosed knowledge, thus increasing opportunities
       for self employment, poverty alleviation, environmental conservation         (c) On no-cost basis
       and improvement in productivity.                                             No-cost for individual use, but permission necessary for commercial use
☯      Copyright in the knowledge/innovation/practice is protected (copyright       (even if an individual does so, one could ask for benefit sharing this is
       does not need any extra effort for protection). Any original expression      possible if NGO takes this to villages to help artisans then the cost of
       in any form whether in personal notebooks or otherwise is copy right         dissemination can be collected from the user).
       protected even without mentioning any sign of copyright i.e.,“c “ with       The implication is that if some individual small farmer or artisan wants to
       in a circle.                                                                 use your innovation or traditional knowledge for personal application at his/
☯      Disclosure may, by itself, generate demand for the products among            her own small farm or in small workshop only, he/she can do so without
       consumers or potential partners in value chain. In some cases, the           any obligation to share benefits.
       method of practicing the traditional knowledge or the process of             The risk is that somebody may claim that it is for personal use but may later
       using the innovation is complicated or all the materials are not available   end up generating a commercial advantage. This will require a carefully
       locally, such that users cannot practice it or develop it on their own.      drafted licensing agreement.
       In such a case they may like to buy it from the innovators and thus
       demand may get generated.                                                    (d) With further research and value addition

☯      Potential investors, entrepreneurs, scientists may contact you for           The innovation or traditional knowledge can be shared only after it is made
       further development/ commercialization of the product.                       more effective or efficient by pursuing further research by the innovator
                                                                                    herself/ himself or by another research organization. The innovation/
☯      Claim of innovation can also be verified (originality, similar innovation
                                                                                    traditional knowledge will not be shared with any third party without further
       or TRADITIONAL KNOWLEDGE not existing elsewhere etc)
                                                                                    research on it, if this condition is ticked.
 o   The information will be in the public domain, anybody will be able to
                                                  Honey Bee Vol 13(3) July - September 2002

20                                                                              A Dialogue on People's Creativity, Experimentation & Innovation
The risk is that if NIF or the innovator is unable for some time to take it up for   Benefits:
value addition, because of lack of priority or lack of resources, the innovation
                                                                                     ☯     Complete control over the process of negotiation.
will remain undisclosed with the rest of the society. Further, in the absence
of disclosure, some independent researchers may also not be able to                  ☯     No obligation to share benefits or economic gains with other
come forward to join hands for value addition.                                             innovators, or innovation fund or community (though the innovator
                                                                                           may decide to do so voluntarily).
e) Any other
                                                                                     ☯     The know-how or tacit knowledge may remain undisclosed and thus
If you want to specify any other condition to NIF for enabling sharing of
                                                                                           provide opportunity to negotiate separate agreements for the same.
your information, you can do so under this choice.
                                                                                     Benefit Sharing Arrangements
D. Assignment of Technology to NIF
                                                                                     Benefits can be of four kinds, monetary–individual(MI), monetary
The assignment of technology to NIF implies that NIF can mediate on the
                                                                                     collective(MC), Non monetary – individual (NMI) and non monetary collective
behalf of the innovator/traditional knowledge holder/s, communicator/
                                                                                     (NMC). The first category includes monetary awards, license fees or royalty
community for various purposes such as development of business plan,
                                                                                     from commercial exploitation of technology or traditional knowledge, or any
products, protection of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) in the cases where
                                                                                     other monetary gain by entrepreneurial process. The incentives in this

                                                                                     case go to individuals. However, as per the benefit-sharing clause given in
(i) Consent for Business Plan preparation implies that NIF might engage              the Consent Form, one can share part of the individual monetary gain with

students, GIAN team, or others to explore the business prospects of an               the community, innovation promotion fund and institutions helping the value
idea or innovation or traditional technology.                                        chain. The second kind of incentive is for communities or groups but in
                                                                                     monetary form.
(ii) The consent for the product development may require NIF to engage

institutions like IITs, NID or other technological collages or private               It could include trust funds, micro-venture fund, common property
entrepreneurs, or research and development centers for value addition.               infrastructure for use by individuals as well a communities (for instance, a

                                                                                     workshop to fabricate tools, machines or process herbs, make medicines
(iii) The consent for IPR would enable NIF to pursue possible protection of
                                                                                     etc.,). In this category also, individual scan be supported by the collective
the intellectual property rights through its own team or engaging private
                                                                                     fund. The third kind of benefits deals with non-monetary reward to
                                                                                     individuals such as recognition, a citation in a public function, dissemination

                                            m ed
The cost of these activities may be recovered from the possible licensing            of one’s creativity through media or in workshops or other public functions.
fee or royalty income that might be generated from the commercialization of          Naming of streets or some other infrastructure or any other landmark after
the technology or shared by the innovators/traditional knowledge holders             the innovator etc. The fourth kind of benefit is for collectives/communities
wherever applicable and possible. NIF reserves the right to include only             and is non monetary in nature. For instance, the changes in policies and

                                           m it
some of the award winning or priority technologies accepted in the national          pedagogies for education at different levels which help in increasing the
register for pursuing the above. Criteria may include potential social impact,       respect for informal innovators in society.
uniqueness, possible positive impact on environment or poverty alleviation

                                          o v
                                                                                     Non monetary benefits
or on jobs, or just wider consumer applicability in reducing drudgery or
increasing efficiency etc.                                                           NIF has shared several non-monetary benefits so far such as recognition
                                                                                     in a national award function (it includes monetary benefit also for some),
(iv) Technology Transfer
                                                                                     dissemination of innovations/traditional knowledge through exhibitions,

                                         C In
       (a)    Assignment to NIF                                                      Shodh Yatra (walk through villages every summer and winter in different
       (b)    Technology transfer on one’s own                                       parts of the country), multi-media and multi-language data base, publication
                                                                                     in local version of Honey bee newsletter, display of awarded innovations/
(a) Assignment to NIF                                                                traditional knowledge on NIF web site, workshop of the innovators to
       By assigning rights to NIF, innovator/traditional knowledge holder            promote lateral learning, workshops with experts for product development,
       enables NIF to negotiate on its behalf with the potential entrepreneurs       or other feedback, and visit to each others’ place. The diffusion of non-
       and investors. In the case of any dispute regarding transfer of               commercializable innovations / traditional knowledge and consequent
       technology to third party, NIF will provide legal support in deserving        recognition is one of the major non-monetary benefits.
       cases to innovators/traditional knowledge holders to enforce the              Monetary benefits
       agreements with the concerned party.
                                                                                     The campaign for making India innovative will succeed in the long run
Benefits                                                                             only if the innovators and traditional knowledge holders and other
☯      You will receive guidance about when, at what terms and to whom               stakeholders take the responsibility of running it in a self-reliant manner.
       the technology should be transferred.                                         The self-reliance of the entire value chain will require that some part of
                                                                                     the benefits that innovators may get from possible commercialisation is
☯      NIF will contact the concerned persons/ institutions for further              shared with various actors and institutions. Those involved in the
       development                                                                   conservation of resources, process of adding value, sharing information,
☯      This will avoid the possibility of some third party taking advantage of       generating commercial opportunity, need to have incentives to join the
       the ignorance or lack of familiarity with the negotiation process on          value chain. The community of which an innovator is a member is an
       the part of the innovator/knowledge provider.                                 important stakeholder because it helps in conserving resources, provides
                                                                                     the general knowledge pool by drawing on which many innovations or
☯      The know-how or tacit knowledge may remain undisclosed and thus
                                                                                     traditional knowledge evolve and are improvised. Thus the share of the
       provide opportunity to negotiate separate agreements for the same.
                                                                                     community is generally essential to maintain knowledge systems in a
Risks:                                                                               vibrant form.
o      The assumed benefits in the licensing agreement may not actually     Likewise, the shares of the various stakeholders have been suggested in
       fructify.                                                            the proposed ratio of benefit sharing. But you are free to decide what
                                                                            proportions you feel proper. That may have a bearing on the motivation of
o     Given social expectations, the licensing terms may try to balance the
                                                                            the various stakeholders. For instance, suppose you say that 90 per cent
      interests of small entrepreneurs and thereby prevent the innovator/
                                                                            of benefits should come to you, the innovator, and the remaining ten per
      traditional knowledge holder from maximising his/her gains.
                                                                            cent may go to those who add value, or the community or innovation fund.
      In the absence of the disclosure of tacit knowledge, the technology   In that case, it is possible that many scientists or private entrepreneurs
      users may have difficulty in exploiting the full potential of the     may not agree to commercialise the innovation or traditional knowledge.
      technology.                                                           The Innovation Fund will make it possible to help those innovators or
(b) Technology transfer on one’s own                                        traditional knowledge holders whose ideas or innovations may not attract
                                                                            private parties for value addition or dissemination. NIF has limited funds and
                                                                            the September 2002
                                               Honey Bee Vol 13(3) July -ability of NIF to help a larger number of innovators will depend upon the
                                                                            resources we can raise for the Innovation Promotion Fund.
Will you stand by the IPRs of peasants ?                                                                                                                      21
Creativity on the Margins: GIAN’s Exhibition of Grassroots Innovations in Assam
         It has often been debated whether regions that face higher stress due to ecological, economic or social reasons
         provide greater incentives to people to experiment and evolve solutions to their problems. Do communities that
         are bypassed by the establishment have greater space to manifest their creative potential? On its own however,
         creativity may not always be able to sustain local developmental aspirations or needs. It is here that the role of
         incubation centres comes in.

T   he first GIAN (Grassroots Innovation
    Augmentation Network) was set up in Gujarat
with the help of the Gujarat government, SRISTI,
                                                          improved version of the bicycle does
                                                          not slow down from bumps. Instead,
                                                          it accelerates after every bump,
                                                                                                   silk weaving possible on machines.
                                                                                                   With the softness achieved, all kinds
                                                                                                   of dresses could be made ranging
and IIMA, in 1997. The purpose was to convert             owing to its ability to convert the      from ties and shirts to saris. What is
innovations into enterprise and expand employment         bumpy vertical movement into             more, when GIAN got into the
opportunities in the region by linking grassroots         horizontal propulsion. A crazy idea      picture, new possibilities were
innovations and outstanding traditional knowledge         coming from all the way from the         explored. GIAN did research on the
with excellence in modern science and technology.         North-East! A more detailed profile      properties of the cloth and got some
Following up on this, National Innovation                 of Kanak Das will follow in the next     tests done in the Physics department
Foundation (NIF) decided to set up GIANs in               issue.                                   of Tejpur University. They discovered
different regions.                                                                                 that the cloth had the ability to trap
                                                          UV-Proof Umbrella                        ultra-violet rays up to 85 per cent,
As part of GIAN North-East’s1 activities to create                                                 which could be further increased with
awareness about the role that grassroots                  Dulal Chaudhary was really depressed     improvements in weaving style. Dulal
innovations can play in local development, an             until a few months ago. He was           made umbrellas out of them and these
exhibition was organised of various innovations           working in a state department where      became an instant hit. Given the
and TK scouted locally. The exhibition was                                                         golden colour of the cloth, the light
organised by the students of IIT Guwahati. Dr R                                                    penetrating it additionally provided an
A Mashelkar, Chairperson NIF and Secretary,                                                        ethereal glow to the face of the users.
Department of Scientific and Industrial Research,                                                  The umbrella was a great hit at the
inaugurated the exhibition. Dr Buragohain,                                                         exhibition.
Director IIT-G, was elated at this development
and felt that the activities of GIAN had provided                                                  Creativity in Chains
IIT-G an opportunity to link up with the aspirations
of the common people in the region.                                                                Vijaya Vittala, Coordinator of GIAN-
                                                           Jui teinvtrswf,wt
                                                            et, h noao' ie ih                      NE, had gone on a visit to Jorhat
The diversity of innovations and Traditional                      h mrla
                                                                 teubel                            where he met the local jailor, Shri
Knowledge exhibited on the occasion was                   he had a clash with his superiors on     Nirupendra Bora, through a common
extremely rich. It provided a glimpse of the              how people ought to be served. He        friend. The idea of scouting
extraordinary potential that exists in building bridges   resigned and subsequently suffered       innovations impressed the jailor and
between the centres of excellence on the periphery        from problems of self-esteem as he       he invited Vijaya to come and talk to
and mainstream science and technology.                    remained jobless for a time. Until he    the inmates of the jail about what
                                                          began to work on his family’s            GIAN was doing. The idea was to
The Bumpy Roadster                                        traditional industry of weaving mooga    channelise the energy of the inmates
                                                          silk and gianed recognition. There       in positive ways. When the inmates
The story of Kanak Das, a young inventor living           were several problems on the way.        were informed about what GIAN did,
about 70 km away from Guwahati in the Mori                Mooga silk is hard, starched and the     some of them immediately pointed to
Gaon district of Assam, symbolises the spirit of          cloth is not used conventionally for     one person, Manik Saikia, who was
creativity that exists in millions of villages, often     making too many different kinds of       known to be a tinkerer before he
unrecognised and uncelebrated. What is so special         dresses. Further, it was suitable only   landed in jail. He offered to make a
about Kanak Das?                                          to be hand-woven and could not be        bamboo and wooden cycle with good
                                                          woven on power looms. He made            design and efficiency if he were given
Imagine you are cycling on a bumpy rural road.            improvements in the techniques of        the tools and material. Generally, rules
Due to the uneven nature of the road, a good deal         making the yarn as well as in the        don’t allow any type of tools to be
of energy is spent in riding the cycle. Kanak Das’s       design of looms and made soft mooga      taken inside the jail. But the jailor
  GIAN North–East was set up eight months ago by NIF at the Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati to scout, document, incubate
innovations and TK in the North-Eastern states. A steering committee chaired by the Director of IIT-G guides the activities of GIAN-NE.
                                           Honey Bee Vol 13(3) July - September 2002

    22                                                               A Dialogue on People's Creativity, Experimentation & Innovation
                                                          Contd... from page 15

                                                         communities to understand the related issues. In your opening page for
                                                         instance you have a line on putting “my innovation on the web.” How
                                                         many will understand what this implies? The implications of IPRs, of
                                                         spreading their knowledge far and wide, and so on, are only partly dealt
                                                         with in your note, and need further elaboration, as also active sessions
                                                         with the persons/ communities concerned. This may or may not be an
                                                         NIF activity, but certainly you should press that it happens simultaneously.
                                                         “Prior informed” must mean full information in a manner that is
               The Bamboo Bicycle                        understandable in the language and idiom of the person/ community
made an exception and got a separate place               concerned.’
earmarked for this project. GIAN provided the            G Utkarsh points out that this is already happening in some measure: ‘This
materials and tools and a new bicycle was made.          is being done through Scouts Training programmes to establish better
Because of its aesthetic but slightly unusual design,    communication with innovators/ TK contributors, as also innovators melas
the cycle is more easily ridden by kids than by          such as the NIF awards function ceremony.’
adults. Though a design change might alter this.
                                                         Sudhirender Sharma asks: ‘I wonder if NIF will cover the costs of hiring
The cycle attracted so much media attention that
                                                         a lawyer (for each of the potential knowledge sharing innovator) to
the next day every paper carried the story on the
                                                         understand the finer nuances of the document and/ or to understand legal
cover page. The Inspector General of prisons came
                                                         implications, if any. In its present form, an innovator will understand only
to see the exhibition and offered to arrange
                                                         so much. Has the legal validity of the document been ascertained?’
interactions for GIAN with inmates of all the jails
in the state. The prison term of Manik Saikia, by
                                                         He also wonders why anyone would part with their knowledge, with
the way, has been reduced by two years. Hopefully
                                                         reference to the ‘Risks’ outlined for the ‘Full Disclosure’ section. It might
he will be riding his bicycle soon.
                                                         be pointed out that it is not for the NIF to decide whether anyone will part
There were many other innovations and TK on              with their knowledge or not. PIC merely seeks to provide information
display. Pushpalata Saikia has developed a herbal        about all possible implications of the choices that lie before the innovator.
technology for healing fractures, besides a water-       If some people decide that their knowledge must spread as wide as
lifting pump. Two young brothers, scouted by one         possible, so be it.
of the IIT staff, have developed very interesting
electronic innovations. Since childhood Champak
Bora, a first year student of law, had observed his      Contd... from page 3                     Disconnected from folk traditions,
elder brother, Trilokya, tinker with electronic parts.                                            people may no longer possess any
                                                         particularly ulcers and abscesses.
He too developed an interest in trying out new                                                    deeply felt notions of the sacred
                                                         This rationalisation probably reflects
things. One of their innovations makes it possible                                                character of places. Moreover, the
                                                         the need to keep the environment,
for a person to listen to music anywhere in the                                                   thrust on scientific education makes
                                                         especially drinking water and
house by plugging the output of a music system                                                    people believe in such notions less
                                                         the premises around it, safe and
in one room to an electrical plug point. With the                                                 and less. Places are not known in
necessary modifications in place, the music can                                                   association with local divinities, but
be heard clearly and without any new wired                                                        merely in terms of agro-ecological
connection. The second innovation relates to             The Future of the Past                   and cartographic characteristics, and
converting a hand calculator into a mechanical                                                    an assessment of their potential for
                                                         However, the invisible power that        economic exploitation.
counter for factories at a low cost.There were 27
                                                         these deities wield is no longer
exhibitors in all, some of the most interesting
                                                         inviolate. Citadels of deities, like     Legislative measures to protect
exhibits being a night shuttle cock (Mr Koj Taki),
                                                         crags, groves and cliffs, have had       citadels of deities and spirits from
a bamboo torch (Mr Jawahar Rai) and a method
                                                         to make way for roads and other          business, industrial, residential and
for teaching hearing impaired children in Assamese
                                                         installations beneficial to humans.      urban encroachments could be one
(Mr M N Kalita).
                                                         The perspective of people has            way of ensuring their integrity. With
Imagine, this is a haul of only about six months         changed as a consequence, too.           modernisation having weakened
work by just two people who ran GIAN. They               New generations who grow away            internalised cultural and spiritual
have filed three patents already and have created        from the old ways of the                 restraints, the only alternative course
so much institutional space within and outside IIT-      communities, do not know enough,         left to us might be externalised
G. Prof Buragohain, Director IIT-G, has offered          nor believe strongly in the invocation   legislative and administrative
any workshop in the campus to the innovators to          rites.                                   measures.
tinker in. A healthy beginning.
                                        Honey Bee Vol 13(3) July - September 2002

Will you stand by the IPRs of peasants ?                                                                                            23
   Book Review

                    Farmer-led Participatory         conservation and artificial recharge in     There are some very interesting
                    Research: Cases from             Saurashtra. Another case-study deals in     tidbits. For example, a South African
                    Western India                    greater detail with the johads and the      company has invented a new device
                                                     work of College of Technology and           that uses the energy of children at play
                    Edited by Astad Pastakia, Brij   Agricultural Engineering (CTAE). The        as the power supply to collect water.
                    Kothari, Vijaya Sherry Chand,
                                                     studies are good examples of how            While the roundabout cavorts, pure,
                    Books for Change, 139
                    Richmond Road, Bangalore –
                                                     synergies between formal and informal       clean borehole water is pumped from
                    560025, India. pp 112, Rs 150/   institutes can also be symbiotic and        the ground into sealed holding tanks.
                    $ 10                             bring mutual benefits.                      It is dampening to read though that
                                                                                                 the installation cost of the play pump
This is a compilation of four case studies from      The book concludes neatly with a final      is about three times that of a standard
Western India of Farmer-led Participatory            chapter by Sunda Ram Verma, a               hand pump.
Research. The editors frankly admit that the         farmer-scientist (see HB 8(1): 3-4,
                                                     1997), which provides insights into the     The second book, Energy,
work ‘raises more questions than it helps to                                                     Infrastructure and Recycling, has the
answer.’ As one journeys through the cases, it       practical challenges facing farmers. A
                                                     book full of interesting processes..        following chapter heads: power
is impossible to ignore the depth of sensitivity                                                 without destruction; energy-efficient
demanded in the interaction of formal science                                                    living; recycling a valuable resource;
                                                     Hands On: Food, Water and Finance
with informal science, because ‘western models                                                   transport for the future; and building
of education made farmers lose confidence in         Hands On: Energy, Infrastructure            a safe environment. It is nice to read
their own systems of knowledge.’ This is             and Recycling                               of the use of discarded inner tubes in
precisely where Participatory Research comes                                                     the manufacture of accessories like
in, to restore confidence in the value of local                          Compiled by Emma
                                                                         Judge,        ITDG      rucksacks in the UK, one of the few
knowledge systems, effectively backed by                                                         places where the book touches on the
scientific studies.                                                      Publishing, 103-105
                                                                         Southampton Row,        desperate need for the culture of
                                                                         London WS1B 4HL,        recycle and reuse in the North.
The first study deals with the control of the Leaf                       UK, 2002. Price not
Curl Virus in the chilli crop. Of the districts in                       mentioned               The books have been brought out by
Rajasthan that were considered, in 1995-1999,                                                    the Intermediate Technology
the problem resulted in the production of the                             This pair of books     Development Group, whose
cultivated area falling by an estimated 60-70%.                           comes out of a         proclaimed mission is ‘to build the
It was then found that Raw Cow Milk (RCM)            multimedia project called Hands On –        skills and capacity of people in
was a standard traditional treatment for a range     It Works. The principal success of the      developing countries through the
of diseases affecting vegetables. Institutional      project, subtitled ‘Practical Innovations   dissemination of information in all
experiments conducted in the fields of the           for a Sustainable World,’ has been an       forms…’ Unfortunate phrasing,
interested farmers showed that RCM did in fact       eponymous television series which has       perhaps, given that not everyone in
work in dealing with LCV in the chilli crop, in      now been broadcast in 167 countries.        the still ‘developing countries’ wants
addition to offering improved quality and yield.                                                 foreign missionaries coming to ‘build’
The results of this research led other farmers                                                   their capacities. The books are said
not just to adopt such practices but to experiment   The first book, Food, Water and             to be aimed at ‘development
on their own plots. (See HB 9(3): 14, 1998)          Finance, has examples of innovative         professionals’ in the South. One
                                                     work under the heads of: improved           wonders if similarly efficient solutions
The next two case studies deal with water. There     water supplies; better sanitation; fruits   would be directed at the prodigal
are two successful examples of community-            of the sea and the lake; small-scale        North. An example is the three pages
based water conservation. The first example          farming; cash crops; banking on local       devoted to environment-friendly
deals with the work of Tarun Bharat Sangh in         enterprise; and health and safety           Mercedes ‘Smart Cars,’ with details
Alwar, Rajasthan. It took an NGO to point out        matters. They seek to demonstrate how       of the ecological soundness of their
to the people that the answer to their woes lay      the appropriate use of technology should    production plant. But why should big
with themselves – in reviving the abandoned          be able to transform the way many           corporates be praised for something
traditional practice of constructing johads or       human and environmental problems are        they should have been doing in the
check dams. (See HB 13(1): 1, 2002) Along            addressed.                                  first place, as a matter of course and
similar lines, the second example deals with water                                               duty?
                                         Honey Bee Vol 13(3) July - September 2002

24                                                                A Dialogue on People's Creativity, Experimentation & Innovation
                                                                                                           News & Views

Herbal Workshops in Tamil Nadu                           main points on the agenda were          shared their experiences about the
                                                         launching an effective campaign for     different scouting methodologies
A refresher course on the preparation of herbal          scouting and improving the quality      tried by them. It was stressed that
medicine for animals was conducted by SEVA in            of entries. Various collaborators       the focus should not only be on the
Tamil Nadu from 27-28 July. Twenty-one                                                           number of entries, but also their
                                                         The Shodhyatra...
outstanding paravet trainees were invited to attend                                              quality. Similarly, far from
the animal health camp at Nadukuppam and                                                         documentation being enough,
                                                         ...Returns from Bhutan
Vandipalayam villages, near Pondicherry. During                                                  conversion of innovations and
the camp, 206 animals in all were treated in the                                                 traditional knowledge into products
                                                         In what is a first, the students of
two villages, against internal and external parasites,                                           and enterprises was also felt to be
                                                         IIM Ahmedabad (IIM-A) were
and stomach problems. Besides the demonstration                                                  necessary. There was a general
                                                         offered the ‘Shodhyatra’ as a
of hygienic animal management practices, local                                                   consensus that mobilisation of
                                                         curriculum course this year. Prof
healers shared their healing practices. A two-day                                                entries through advertisements was
                                                         Anil Gupta took 15 students from
training workshop on similar lines was organised                                                 less effective than results through
                                                         the II year PGP course in
as a follow-up, on 30-31 July, at Mullukuruchi,                                                  Network contact. Mr Vivekanandan
                                                         Management to Bhutan for a voyage
Namakkal District. The aim was to disseminate                                                    of SEVA, for example, spoke of how
                                                         of discovery in Nature’s
the best indigenous animal healing practices to                                                  his scouting methods worked
                                                         undisturbed lap. Involving strenuous
livestock keepers and women Self-Help Groups.                                                    because he got the innovators to
                                                         travel and an equally strenuous trek,
                                                                                                 scout others of their kind.
                                                         including what were for students
The Committee Advises                                    unusual conditions, this year’s         Sustaining Productivity
                                                         course was an experimental
A Regional Advisory Committee (RAC) meeting              beginning to what should be a           A workshop on ‘Sustaining
of the NIF, chaired by Dr Pushpangadan,                  regular feature in the years to come.   Agricultural Productivity and
Director NBRI, was held on September 19 at               About time the elite began to learn     Enhancing Livelihoods,’ was held
IIM-A to review the prioritised entries for the          from the people?                        from September 23 – 25, at ICRISAT
awards for the second annual competition for                                                     in Patancheru, India. Kirit Patel
contemporary innovations and traditional                 And Moves South                         represented SRISTI at the workshop.
knowledge practices. The separate meeting of                                                     One of whose principal objectives
informal experts, including some of the awardees
                                               In another first, the tenth                       was furthering the understanding of
of the first competition, was scheduled for    Shodhyatra is scheduled to be held                the value and contribution of the main
October 8, also at IIM-A. Members from several in Madurai district of Tamil Nadu.                components of crop and crop-
disciplines, including Ayurveda, Mechanical    Organised in collaboration with                   associated biodiversity for sustainable
Engineering, Taxonomy and others, were present SEVA, the Shodhyatra will last nine               production systems and agro-
at the meeting. A total of 115 entries were    days from 22 to 30 December. As                   ecosystem health in semi-arid tropics.
evaluated by experts, keeping in mind three    is usual, participants would have to
factors: Uniqueness, Potential Social Impact and
                                               walk 10-15 kms daily. The daytime
Cost effectiveness. Some of the issues that                                                      Contd... from page 9
                                               temperature is 25-30° C at that time.
emerged were that the committee members        Participants are expected to either
should receive the prioritised entries well in                                                   at the same rates, the village kids
                                               contribute in kind – two kg rice, one             flocked to the seth. When business
advance along with the prior screening criteriakg dal, and one coconut – or pay
and that a uniform documentation pattern be                                                      began to suffer, Amandeep had to
                                               Rs 500 for the nine days. Everyone                think of something. He went to the
developed. It was also decided that NIF should should also bring their own plate,
introduce certificates to assure innovators/                                                     local kabadi (scrap dealer) and
                                               glass, spoon, bowl, and sheet.                    bought a steering and a pedal. Then
traditional knowledge holders that their entries to
                                               People should arrive in Thenur
NIF remain confidential and that the conditions                                                  he figured out a way to connect his
                                               village of Madurai district on 21st               remote operated console to the
in the consent form will be honoured.          afternoon or 22nd morning. Those                  steering and the pedal, and put it
                                               unwilling or unable to walk the full              up for grabs at a reduced price.
Regional Collaborators Meet                    distance may join for a few days.                 Soon, all the business was back
                                               SEVA may be contacted at 45, TPM                  with him. A bright entrepreneurial
A Honey Bee and NIF Collaborators’ Meeting Nagar Virattipathu, Tamil Nadu 625
was held on September 18 at IIM-A. Among the                                                     future ahead.
                                               010 or
                                    Honey Bee Vol 13(3) July - September 2002

Will you stand by the IPRs of peasants ?                                                                                           25
                                                         (Dear Dev, we are soon going to put up    enterpreurship model for generating
       Dialogue                                          a database of medicinal plants on our     jobs and overcoming poverty in India.
                                                         website, In the           We spend about 20,000 crores on rural
                                                         meanwhile, we can put you in touch        development and if only 5000 (or even
     Shivamma for LEISA                                  with the farmer cultivators of the        500 crores) are spent on the HB
                                                         specific medicinal plants that you        approach, we could perhaps change
                                                         intend to grow. : Ed.)                    the face of this country in the next five
Wilma Roem
                                                                                                   years. The need for building incubators
Documentalist, ILEIA, library, PO Box 64, 3830 AB
                                                              India Reports                        like GIAN ( all over the
Leusden, The Netherlands
                                                                                                   country to convert innovations into
                                                                                                   enterprise also needs to be highlighted.
In Honey Bee Vol 13(2) in ‘A Mixed Bag: the              Moushumi Anand
                                                                                                   Anyway, these are a few thoughts and
                                                         India Business Report, New Delhi
SRISTI Sanman recipients 2002,’ we read about            Television(NDTV), Archana
                                                                                                   once you get back to us, we can take
Mrs Shivamma, an organic farmer. We feel that                                                      the matter further. : Ed.)
                                                         Shopping Complex, Greater Kailash
her story is of interest to the readers of our journal   Part One, New Delhi-110048
LEISA. Can you provide us with an article about                                                          Geology     and            Rural
her or tell us how to get in touch with her?             This is Moushumi Anand and I work               Development
                                                         for NDTV. NDTV produces a weekly
(The details have already been sent to you. We are                                                 J R Paramesha
                                                         business programme ‘India Business
happy that Shivamma’s efforts are getting                                                          Research Scholar, Dept of Geology,
                                                         Report’ (IBR) for BBC World. IBR is       Manosagangothri, Mysore – 6.
international exposure. This is one of the major goals
                                                         the longest running India based 
of the HB Network – expanding institutional space
                                                         programme on the channel. For a
for grassroots green innovators and traditional
knowledge holders. Please send us any feedback                                                     I read a brief article about your work
that you may get. : Ed.)                                                                           in a Kannada newspaper. I am
                                                                                                   interested in learning more about your
     Urban Affairs                                                                                 work, projects and institutions. I am
                                                                                                   currently working for my Ph.D in
Subhashree Beeman                                                                                  Applied Geology and am also                                                                       interested in rural development
                                                                                                   projects. Could you send information
It was interesting as well as informative reading                                                  which could be of use to me here?
                                                           Where are the blessed innovations?
about the ‘Shodhyatra.’ We urbanites can keep in                 I can't see anything.
touch with our farmers and their lives only through                                                (Please look up our websites, and for
the magazines and websites that mention such             current series of the show, we are        specific    papers    please     see
activities. I would like to know whether anything        looking at specific sectors. In a : Ed.)
similar is happening in South India, especially Tamil    forthcoming episode we are looking
Nadu. This is because I am from Madras and would         at solutions for the agriculture sector         Small Activists and Big
love to contribute either by involving myself in or      through successful examples of                  Corporates
by encouraging such activities.                          various local projects. In this regard
                                                         we are looking forward to some help       Zakir Kibria
( Dear Subhashree, our next Shodhyatra is in             from your end. I have been informed       BanglaPraxis, H # 22, R # 7, Rupnagar
                                                         that you are involved in a big way in     Residential Area, Mirpur-2, Dhaka,
Madurai district from December 22-30 and you are
most welcome to join us for the walk. Looking            many such projects. Would it be           Bangladesh
forward to having you in the Network. : Ed.)             possible for you to let us know about
                                                         some projects that we could               Suvechcha, that is greetings in the
     Herbally Healthy                                    showcase on our half hour                 Bangla language! We are BanglaPraxis,
                                                         programme?                                a small new collective of young
Dev Raj Garg                                                                                       development activists here in Dhaka,
162-A Grain Market, Nai Mandi, Gharsana-335711,          (Dear Moushumi, I am very happy to        Bangladesh. One of our priority issues
Sri Ganganagar, Rajasthan                                hear about your programme. I do not       of work is biodiversity and ecology.
                                                         know if you heard the programme           We are concerned about the rapid
I came to know that SRISTI is doing great work           broadcast by Peter Day on BBC world       erosion of plant genetic resources in
                                                         radio on how small innovations            Bangladesh and the virtues of
on the preservation of medicinal plants and the
                                                         documented by the Honey Bee Network
traditional healthcare system. As I intend to begin                                                sustainable ecological farming. We are
                                                         are generating new employment
cultivation of herbal plants in our area, I would        opportunities for people. One basically
                                                                                                   also concerned about increasing
like some information on relevant innovations.           needs to focus on the innovation based    corporate control. Monsanto is here
                                          Honey Bee Vol 13(3) July - September 2002

26                                                                  A Dialogue on People's Creativity, Experimentation & Innovation
in Bangladesh. They have signed a contract with
one of Bangladesh’s and world’s largest micro-
credit lending organisation BRAC. They are using
micro-credit to market their hybrid and GM seeds.
Poor farming families, already financially
constrained, are forced to accept loans tied with
buying seeds. We are trying to document such
practices. We are currently in touch with farmers
organisations. But our efforts are always
constrained by our limited technical knowledge in
these issues. So far we know you publish Honey
Bee, a journal of ecology and biodiversity. We have
a request to you: please grant us a free subscription
to Honey Bee. Help from you can keep us going.
May be we will be able to share something with
you in the coming years. Regards and solidarity.

(Dear Zakir, we in the Honey Bee Network will be
very happy to help you with your noble mission to
study farmers’ own coping strategies. There are                          Hello. Is the Honey Bee Network still alive?
basically three issues: a) Local diversity, that is
cultivation of crops and varieties, of which seeds      but I also like your idea of having a      the strength of creativity in India. A
can be stored, exchanged, sold and bought. There
                                                        data base or ‘bank’ of innovative          brief introduction about myself: I am
are large number of varieties which lend themselves
                                                        experiences. Not only would this           now living and working in the US. I
to this practice. b) Also find out by surveying
consumers in Dhaka and other cities as to what have     promote learning from the ‘inside’         came to this country three years back
been the recent changes in consumer preferences         (i.e. from communities), but it would      and I plan to stay for a few more years
about varieties. c) Look at the seed distribution       hopefully encourage more applicable        and go back to India. My main pursuit
channels, private and public, including research        and useful research from the local         after going back to India will be
centres and NGOs, and then see which varieties of       universities (which are part of the        working in the villages. I realised that
various crops are being promoted by them, and why       Network), especially given that their      this is the purpose of my life
so often diversity is under constraint because seed     research components are so weak.           sometime ago. Right now I volunteer
corporations are corrupt, lazy, and inefficient, and                                               for AID (Association for India
                                                        Once again, congratulations on your
thus do not give much choice to farmers. : Ed.)                                                    Development) from here. Please let
                                                                                                   me know how we (I have a few
     Still Alive?                                       (Dear Kaia, we are very happy to hear      friends who would be interested too)
                                                        from you. The Honey Bee Network is         can make our contribution to further
Kaia Ambrose                                            alive, growing and kicking. Please do      this cause.
30 Ballycanoe Rd. R.R.#4, Mallorytown, Ontario          consider bringing out a local language
K0E 1R0.
                                                                                                   (D ear Nirmala, we have been
                                                        version of Honey Bee in Ecuador. Years
                                                                                                   discussing with some friends in Boston
                                                        ago, we did establish some links with
I just read the May 1993 Issue No.17-18 of the                                                     about the possibility of a Friends of
                                                        local communities there. You could have
‘Forests, Trees and People’ Bulletin, and was most                                                 SRISTI group in the US – a non-profit
                                                        a look at the multimedia CD that we
impressed and inspired by the initiatives that                                                     group which subscribes to the
                                                        have sent you and consider translating
                                                                                                   philosophy and ethics of SRISTI and
‘Honey Bee’ has taken. Is this work still               it into the local language. We could
                                                                                                   which would help in spreading ways
continuing? Is the Network still functioning? If        send across a software for the purpose,
                                                                                                   of synthesis of the seven Es: ethics,
these actions are still up and running, I would like    so that you can send us the translations
                                                                                                   equity, excellence, environment,
to know how I may receive more information (i.e.        for sharing with others and build your
                                                                                                   efficiency, education, empathy. I will
bulletins). I am currently coordinating a Network       own database. : Ed.)                       suggest that you please go through our
for Community-Based Natural Resource                                                               sites,,,
Management in the northern provinces of Ecuador.             The Purpose of our Lives                            and
We have just started, but one of our main areas of                                        and then we
focus is the systematisation of innovative              Nirmala Tammineni                          can explore ways by which we can
                                                                    take the ideas forward. I hope you
experiences within communities and institutions
                                                                                                   can sustain your interest for another
connected with the Network. We are planning on          I was reading the article ‘Little          three years. All the best for the
publishing a document of different experiences          Inventors Awaken To A New World.’          three year holiday from your real
systematised by each member of the Network,             I was amazed and moved to realise          life! : Ed.)
                                          Honey Bee Vol 13(3) July - September 2002

Will you stand by the IPRs of peasants ?                                                                                              27
                                                                                                                      Regd no : 62082/95
                                                                                                                     ISSN no : 0971-6624
                                                                               Registered Newspaper

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