Desi ingenuity — A Farmer’s Way

For those who aren't aware (not that they should be), my other wordly profession is that of a System Engineer with a Communications company and I have the habit of surfing the blogosphere to read the tech (and also some non-tech) headlines of each day.

In course of researching a specific technology, I came across this blog by a Sun Microsystems Employee based out of Bangalore, India —

http://blogs.sun.com/harisharora/entry/innovation_from_bullock_cart_to

For those who aren't very "trigger-happy" (or mouse-finger click-happy), here's a summary. The author of this blog posted two photographs and a little write-up about a contraption that was created by a farmer in rural India, a make-shift "car". He built it using some simple materials and an irrigational pump motor. It has been named [[Jugaad]].

For those readers who are based out of India, you probably have read about, heard of or seen this already.

Here's a little snippet of it's highlights from Wikipedia —

Jugaad cost around Rs. 40,000 (US$1,000). They are known for having poor brakes and can not go beyond 40 km/h. They operate on diesel fuel and are just ordinary water pump sets converted into engine.

The brakes of these vehicles very often fail and one of the passengers jumps down and applies a manual wooden block as a brake. These vehicles do not have any vehicle registration plate as they are not registered with the Regional Transport Office (RTO). Hence, they end up not paying any road tax.

This description seems to somehow undermine the ingenuity that went into developing something like that. A farmer with no background in automobile engineering (I'm guessing he's like most other farmers in India and focussed on Agriculture) built a automotive bullock-cart. How cool is that!!

This man should be recognized and somehow encouraged as an enterpreneur (or at least help him develop his technology).

{mgmediabot2}type=youtube|youtubeid=GewRjIEwKd0{/mgmediabot2}

NOTE: I found this video on Youtube and must apologize to the reader/viewer for the racuous cackles from the videographer (the beauty of this machine probably didn't make itself evident to him). 

Another story

I'd read about a "mechanic" from Mysore in the [[Popular Science]] magazine. Somender Singh has been a popular figure in the Mysore Automobile afficianados since when I can remember (probably 20 years or so). His speciality was (don't know if he still has his workshop in Mysore) to tune the standard 4-stroke and 2-stroke internal combustion engines (back then the standard Indian two-wheelers and four-wheelers) and make them go "smoother" , "faster" and make them more fuel efficient.

Read for yourselves the trials and tribulations he had to endure to perhaps finally get some recognition.

http://www.popsci.com/cars/article/2004-09/obsession-mr-singhs-search-holy-grail
http://www.rexresearch.com/singh/singh.htm
http://www.rediff.com/money/2004/aug/10ariban.htm

Makes me wonder why the Scientific environment and innovation is so under-appreciated in India? Or am I thinking of an era bygone and things have changed now?

Our India-based readers can perhaps shed some light in this matter?

 

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