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Friday, April 5, 2013

Illiterate Lalitamma teaches trainee IAS officers !..................!!

Illiterate Lalitamma teaches trainee IAS officers

‘You are the maker of your own destiny’ ~ is an adage….. what do you think on seeing the photo below …. …  of a woman walking on the fields – may be green and well grown and that is why the photo and perhaps the woman is a farmer or owner of the land.

But the title of the article in ‘The Hindu’ which featured this photo mentions of her teaching IAS Officers.  As you know, the  Indian Administrative Service [IAS]  is the administrative civil service of the Government of India, producing Officers who hold the key positions in the Government and thus run the bureaucracy.   The Constituent Assembly of India intended that the bureaucracy should be able to speak freely, without fear of persecution or financial insecurity as an essential element in unifying the nation. The IAS officers are recruited by the Union government on the recommendation of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and posted under various State governments. The officers carry high respect and stature in the society coupled with the significant task of administering public offices, making it one of the most desirable jobs in India.

Reading it fully, the caption of the article posted by R Avadhani  is ‘Illiterate Lalitamma teaches trainee IAS officers’ – is there not an innate contradiction… we speak of the trainees who are to become the most powerful bureaucrats and they being taught by an illiterate woman…. Something wrong – or something great to be known – as India, the Maha Barath is known for scholars and great people and culture of respecting people’s wisdom, need not necessarily be arising out of formal education. 

Villages are the backbone of India and there are many rural villages, far cry from what the people of metropolis know their country to be.  Medak is one of the districts in Andhra Pradesh with Sangareddy as its district headquarters and Siddipet being the most populous.  Like any other district, it consists of various villages, tiny dots, much of these places not being known to other parts of India, especially to those elites in the cities.  This place was once under the vast Mauryan empire during the rule of Ashoka, followed by Sathavahanas and then by Kakatiya empire. . The fort built at Medak was called the Methukudurgam (and the area as Methukuseema), from the Telugu word Methuku - meaning cooked rice grain. In 20th century Medak district was a part of Nizam princely State before independence and merged into Hyderabad State in Independent India and presently a part of Andhra Pradesh.
Now getting to the news of an illiterate taking class to trainee IAS officers? [below is the reproduction from The Hindu of date – 5.4.13] - Click here to read the article in The Hindu

That’s what has been accomplished by Aaidala Lalitamma of Raipally village, about 50 kms from the district headquarters. But one may raise eyebrows at the thought until he/she converses with Lalitamma who more than willingly shares that she was the one to impart knowledge on non-pesticide management methods (NPM) to trainees. Meet the 45-year-old Lalitamma who recently went to Lal Bahadur Sastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA) at Mussoori to take classes to the trainee IAS officers for one day.

Ms. Lalitamma is an active farmer who has been practicing NPM for the past five years in addition to following rain-fed harvesting system. She not only prepares her own seed and organic fertilisers and pesticides, but also sells it to others based on their requirement. She has been active in spreading NPM methods in the district and trains others in preparing required liquids and solids for their farms using cow dung, cow urine, neem leaves and other organic materials. Her income grew after shifting to organic farming and she even has constructed a house. She had an income of Rs. 70,000 by growing leafy vegetables for three months.

“It’s a great experience to have an opportunity to teach NPM methods to the trainee collectors at their institute. I have explained to them on how I am into this, the advantages I am enjoying, the cost reduction in cultivation and being self-reliant in seed, fertiliser and pesticide requirements,” proud Lalitamma told The Hindu while sharing her Mussoori experiences. Did she fear to speak with them? “No. I felt as if I was speaking with my children and I was happy to share my knowledge with them,” she said, who has been cultivating 13 varieties of crops in her farm. She was taken in a flight from Hyderabad to New Delhi and then to Mussoori. Earlier, she had gone to Delhi to receive an award from the Union Government for her initiative in NPM practice.

A web search reveals that ‘The Hindu’ on Apr 18, 2011 had carried out an article on the same person under the caption ‘Farmers reap rich dividends’ – also contributed by Mr R Avadhani.  
in fact Apr 18, 2011

New techniques like digging trenches around fields, farm ponds and furrows introduced Soil condition of the agricultural land has changed and yield has almost doubled.  Rayipally [Medak Dt] -  A. Lalitamma of this small village near the Mumbai highway in Zaheerabad mandal is a happy farmer today. She had procured two milch animals from a relative with a promise to repay the amount shortly. With a good harvest, she was able to pay the money without delay.

Lalitamma's farm land had undergone tremendous change in the last one year after she was introduced to new techniques, including a trench around the farm, conservative furrows, farm pond and tank silt applications. About Rs. 45,000 was invested by the government to change the nature of her farm land, which would benefit in the long run. A trench was dug around her farm which has stopped flow of water out of the field. Furrows dug in the field had also increased the potential of land to preserve the moisture.

Water storage : The farm pond dug at a corner of the land has also stored water for a long time during the rainy season. Silt transported from a nearby tank was spread across the farm and then it was tilled. In addition, she has practiced Non-Pesticides Management (NMP) which has reduced her input cost and the yield has more than doubled. “More than two hundred farmers in five villages had followed the new system. The soil condition of almost all agricultural farms has changed and the farmers are witnessing the change,” says Shashikala, an employee of DRDA supervising the farm activities in that area.

There are people like Lalitamma who are doing yeomen service to the Nation and upholding the rich culture, tradition and heritage of this great land……  Hail Lalitamma.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.
5th April 2013.


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