So, what is your picture of a regular city boy hailing from the capital of Chhattisgarh? In the last few years, Raipur has undergone a metamorphosis. From the young crowd migrating to metros in search of white-collar jobs, to the unprecedented emergence of lounges, nightclubs and malls, Raipur is aping all that a modern ‘developed’ city has.
In sync with this, a young resident is most likely someone who has his frame of aspirations around a managerial post in a multinational, gadgets, cars, clothing brands, watches, weekend parties, and a ‘happening’ circle!
In a generation that considers physical labour uncool, and living in a village regressive, Mahin Rathod is the antithesis to this phenomenon.
Practicing dairy based organic farming for the last six years, his story is both interesting and inspiring.
Born to a farmer father and grandfather, his enrollment in an agricultural college seemed nothing extraordinary. His family (settled in Raipur city), however, had never imposed farming on Mahin’s generation, and Mahin himself an erstwhile state-level footballer, could have chosen a career much more lucrative than farming.
But Mahin was special, because he wanted to be ordinary! When boys his age fancied toy cars, he would indulge in stories of Swami Vivekananda. And when they started thinking of completing a degree and earning a hefty pay package, he was exploring harmony in self, nature and in human relationships based on Madhyasth Darshan, the association with which proved to be the turning point in his life.
His quest for a holistic approach and purposeful living made him challenge the existing ideas of lifestyle, career, and success, and he decided to tread the road less travelled. College education disoriented him. Having had practical exposure earlier, he knew that farming was about fields, tractors, seeds, soils, sunlight, seasons and practice; unlike the irrelevant approach of books, theories, exams and marks. At times, professors would fail to answer his questions, exposing the loopholes in the present education system and reflecting their lack of insight on nature and its ways.
He eventually decided to drop out of college, much to the dissent of his mother and few other family members! He shifted base from Raipur city to a farmhouse in a small village, 45 kilometres from Raipur.
Dairy fascinated him more than farming. He picked up the principles of dairy from his father, imbibed the holistic approach of sustainability and successfully conducted a few experiments. Mahin’s workplace is truly special.
Five acres of land, with thirty indigenous breeds of cows, reeks of fertility because it is totally chemical-free. Mahin only uses bio-fertilisers made with cow dung and cow urine. You will get to see some twenty varieties of fruits, vegetables, cereals and spices. A highly effective and replicable model with a sustainable approach on dairy based farming – Mahin’s farm is not just an environmentalist’s but also a poet’s delight.
Hundred litres of milk and milk-based products are sold from his retail outlet Swikriti in Raipur, every day. And ghee, the new super-food of today’s times, is the product close to his heart, that he loves making with his mother. His customers swear by the quality and purity of Swikriti’s ghee.
Once labelled a college dropout, Mahin, all of twenty-six, today has visitors from all over the country including his ex-professors and teachers from leading agricultural institutes who want to benefit from his expertise. He is often requested to train budding farmers or to be a guest lecturer.
With a clear vision on why this profession adds value to his life, he believes it keeps him grounded, healthy, peaceful and imparts a greater sense of fulfillment, as it is integral to the existence of mankind in more ways than one.
When asked if he misses the perks of staying in a city and all the gloss that comes with it, he shyly replies, “You haven’t yet experienced the perks of staying with nature! Limitless skies, expansive greens and delightfully fresh air; it’s an eternal romance!” How amazing is that!
PS: Swikriti is at Fafadih, opposite Amit Sales.
[Contributed by: Supriya Baid]
The writer is an advertising professional, a trained Odissi dancer, a stage anchor and a former Radio Jockey from Kolkata. Juggling with multiple fields of creativity, she loves to express on social-cultural-psychological subjects, sometimes on stage, sometimes on paper.