These Nagaland villagers are using traditional wisdom to pave way for grassroots innovations
While it is common for people to visit a doctor or apply antiseptic creams on wounds to stop bleeding and avoid infections, many Nagaland villagers simply pluck a "doctor leaf" from a tree to stall the blood flow. According to the villagers, extract from the leaves of Sayanglaza tree (Eupatorium Odoratum) when applied on the wounds stops the external flow of blood within no time.
Living on tough terrain and faced with the scarcity of resources, villagers in Nagaland have not only preserved their traditional knowledge but have also adopted many new scientific approaches to make their lives better. Their tradition of 'no wastage' and 'optimum usage of available resources' brings relief to their otherwise difficult life.
This and many other traditional and new scientific approaches were evident during the 38th Shodhyatra in Nagaland which took place from November 26 to December 2, where 60 'shodhyatris' from India and foreign countries participated. Professor Anil K Gupta, President, Society for Research and Initiatives for Sustainable Technologies and Institutions (SRISTI), told PTI,
"These Shodhyatras are organised by SRISTI twice a year to unearth the traditional knowledge and grassroots innovations in remote villages of a particular state and give them the knowledge acquired from the other states of country."
During the recent Shodhyatra, biodiversity and food recipe competitions were organised to unveil the traditional knowledge of villagers. To encourage curiosity and creativity among school children, competitions on innovative ideas were also held.
In addition to these competitions, people aged 90 years and above were honoured in their villages. Nyitsangpa, from the village of Phirahi, who claims to be 112 years old, said,
"In my lifetime, I have seen this first of its own kind of Shodhyatra. These baby steps will be helpful to our younger generation and they will get inspiration from it."
During this journey, machines invented by grassroots innovators were demonstrated before villagers. A bamboo incense stick-making machine by L Ralte and L Sailo of Mizoram, a hand-operated water lifting device by N Saktimainthan of Tamil Nadu, and a multipurpose food processing machine by Dharamveer Kamboj of Haryana were some of them.
Grassroots innovator and farmer Amrut Agrawat (71), who has been President Pranab Mukherjee's guest for over two weeks in the Rashtrapati Bhavan, also participated in the Shodhyatra. With the conclusion of the Shodhyatra in Nagaland, one cycle of covering each state in the country has been completed and the second cycle will begin with Odisha in summer. Gupta added,
"These Shodhyatras are management of knowledge for 200 years. By these journeys, we document 100 years old traditional knowledge of our elders, which is going to serve our younger generation for next 100 years."
(With inputs from PTI.)