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Collecting Lost Heritage

Natabar-Sarangi

“Can you say among a hundred people who is the most important? Everyone has his own importance. So, I find, every variety has a particular quality, trait, productivity and adaptability to the soil.”

Meet Natabar Sarangi. An octogenarian, retired school teacher, organic farmer, seed collector and according to us, a true patriot. India was renowned for its thousands of varieties of indigenous rice, which tragically were reduced to a fraction of the number in the 60s when rampant hybridization took place in order to yield a fast turnover. With complete lack of foresight and the presence of the usual suspects – greed, corruption, vested interests, ignorance and exploitation – it was inevitable that we would find not just our agricultural heritage robbed from us but also a long lasting negative impact on the farmer who is today finding it hard to recover. Our agricultural wisdom is fast dwindling and those who are trying to cling to a sense of pride and revive what our forefathers were only too aware of, find it an uphill task to break through the apathy of the average Indian, who honestly speaking, couldn’t be bothered to concern himself about such matters. Yet, such lone warriors do exist and Natabar Sarangi has done India proud, just as her lost varieties of rice once did.

(Note: We don’t know who made this video but thank you for bringing it to light.)