Tag Archives: May Flower

Joining hands for a healthier planet

Patna 11-12 July: At a time farmers are leaving behind the traditional rice crops,  two hundred and fifty Tarumitra students from Delhi Public School, Don Bosco Academy, May Flower, S R Vidyapeeth,  Radiant International, Bishop Scotts, May Flower, MG Public, DAV (BSEB) A N College, St. Xavier’s College and Delhi University along with two students from Lehigh University, Pennsylvania USA congregated in Tarumitra Farm as participants in the annual Organic Rice transplantation Festival.

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An International consortium of students: Arushi Lal (Delhi University) Reem (St. Xavier’s College) Angie Rizzo (Lehigh University) Shashi Darshan (Tarumitra) Robert Smith (Lehigh) and Margaret Molomoo (Tarumitra) finalizing the Rice Transplantation festival.

The students  got into the wet slushy muddy field and actually planted rice seedlings excited about the rare chance they got in academic life.
The much-awaited monsoon rains added to the celebrative mood of the event.

Students, many of them for the first time, learned the art of planting rice using the time tested SRI way.

Students, many of them for the first time, learned the art of planting rice using the time tested SRI way.

The program started with a PowerPoint presentation on the preparations that preceded the rice plantation at the Tarumitra organic farm. It may be mentioned that hundreds of students worked hard to supply adequate organic manure for the rice cultivation.  The students also received helpful tips on the right way to plant rice seedlings according to the System of Rice Intensification(SRI) method in the field. After the presentation, the group made their way to the farm for rice transplantation.

Three rare varieties of paddy were sown this year namely, Bauna Mansuri, Kunjunju and Kakshan.  For the seventh consecutive year of cultivation, the students resorted again to the well appreciated SRI method for crop.

Noted classical singer Ranjana Jha hummed and sang songs right in the rice field,  dedicated to nature and Mother Earth so as to mark the auspicious beginning of the rice transplantation ceremony. All the students thereafter hurried around the  gooey farm and engaged totally into the rice transplantation work.

Noted classical singer, Ranjana Jha brought out a repertoire of traditional ropani  geet “transplantion songs” using a makeshift audio system in the rice field.   Amidst laughter, joy and celebrations, the students too joined Ranjana Jha and sang their heart out. The accompanying teachers and volunteers too walked into the mud to participate in the rice transplantation event.

Angie Rizzo from Lehigh  not only enjoyed the show but also enthused the students with her helpful support

Angie Rizzo from Lehigh not only enjoyed the show but also enthused the students with her helpful support

Veteran Organic Farmer trained in Japan, Ms Margaret Molomoo who supervised the entire organic farming said that it was time to make a break from the pesticide laden rice cultivation which is further enervated by the heavily expensive chemical fertilizers. “Poison is flowing out of our farms!” said Ms Molomoo. “If we don’t opt for healthy farms, who else would?” she further asked.

Tarumitra students got engaged into the Organic Farming primarily as a protest against the prevalent use of limitless poison on the Earth

Tarumitra students got engaged into the Organic Farming primarily as a protest against the prevalent use of limitless poison on the Earth

It may be mentioned that India resorted to Green Revolution in the sixties banking heavily on chemical fertilizers, ferocious pesticides and seeds from large corporations. It certainly made the country almost self sufficient, except that the deadly combinations of chemical fertilizers and pesticides poisoned the lands, its waters and rivers.

The State of Punjab in Western India who led the Green Revolution ended up in an uncontrollable  Cancer vortex.  Today a train “The Cancer Express” rolls out of Batinda in Punjab to a charitable cancer hospital in Bikaner in Rajasthan on a daily basis.

The high valued pricey Chemical fertilizers and deadly pesticides made the cultivation of staple foods  inordinately expensive. The result was that thousands of farmers committed suicides all over the country when there was a dry spell or a flash flood.  This has necessitated the government to indulge in large scale waiving of agricultural loans in billions.  

For six consecutive years Tarumitra students successfully completed the raising of the needed amount of rice and lentils.

For six consecutive years Tarumitra students successfully cultivated the needed amount of rice and lentils.

“Tarumitra got into Organic Farming seven years back to bring back health back to the dining table!” said the co-ordinator, Robert Athickal SJ.  “The students felt that they were purchasing diseases when they buy grains and fruits from the market.” added Fr. Robert

Being the founders of their green future, the students took deep interest in farming

Being the founders of their green future, the students took deep interest in farming

The concern for the poisoned sustenance food items kept coming back to the helpless students all these years. Tarumitra students felt that urgent action was the need of the hour. “We have successfully completed totally organic farming for rice and lentils last six years. The outcome has energized us to take upon more farming!” said Devopriya Dutta who co-ordinated the event today.

Robert Smith who is Tarumitra's representative at United Nations in New York joined the farming process!

Robert Smith who is Tarumitra’s representative at United Nations in New York joined the farming process!

Two American students from Lehigh University, Ms Angie Rizzo and Robert Smith also joined their counter parts in Patna for the entire cultivation work. Angie Rizzo was of the opinion that Organic farming was the right step to sustainable development. She said, “Students are the future of the planet and they should be sensitized about organic cultivation!” Robert Smith said that engaging oneself in farming such as paddy cultivation was being going closer to nature and it showed reverence to Mother Earth.

Devopriya Dutta (left) did her home work to pull in resources from all over to get the farm work to go regularly Devorpriya, Arushi, Marie D'Cruz, Akansha, Kalpana and Angie

Devopriya Dutta (left) did her home work to pull in resources from all over to get the farm work to go regularly
Devorpriya, Arushi, Marie D’Cruz, Akansha, Kalpana and Angie

Apart from students, teachers, interns, well-wishers and volunteers Shashi Darshan, D N Prasad, Arushi Lal, Neeraj , Gaurav along with Lalita and Sanju  were also present during this festive occasion.

 

Eco-rice festival celebrated in alfresco ambiance

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Patna. 13 Jan: Students hailing from Don Bosco, St. Joseph’s, May Flower, A.N College and St. Xavier’s College congregated under the expansive Kamroop tree in Tarumitra to welcome back the life-giving Sun from the Southern hemisphere, now entering the zodiac of Makar “Capricorn.”
The Chief Guest of the occasion, the director of May Flower higher secondary School, Sri Jairam Sharma led the students to the tasting of Organic Chura “flattened rice”and curd with his wise words.

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A PowerPoint presentation on Makar Sankranti facilitated in giving the Festival an ecological slant

Fr. Robert Athickal, thru a special colorful PowerPoint presentation on the occasion gave the students ample invitation to reflect on the rice cultivation in the State and beyond. He underlined the fact that Asian cultures are based on rice and rice preparations. Rice forms the central staple food in Asia.

The scanty monsoon last two years meant that very few farmers managed to cultivate their traditional rice crop. In fact rice cultivation is not popular at all among the present generation of youngsters.

Tarumitra students celebrate the Solar feast of Makar Sankranti  as Chura Dahi parv, essentially as a festival of the Sun by reverentially consuming rice, curd and sesame seeds. Traditionally people all over the state organize a repast made of flattened rice, sesame seeds and freshly made curd for the occasion. The students under the leadership of Anushka and Shivani from St. Xavier’s College organized the Organic festival of Rice with the same fare.

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St. Xavier’s college students, Shivani and Anushka compered the program

“The distinct feature of the celebration was that the feast was entirely organic and eco-friendly, ” said Anushka. ” We are using the freshly pounded rice from our own organic farm!” said Anunshka.

Jesuits and loretos

Among the generous souls came to help out the farm work: Loreto Juniors from Kolkata and Jesuit Juniors from Khaspur posing with Robert Athickal SJ(extreme right).

Students from different schools and colleges worked hard to produce totally organic rice from last summer. “We did not employ any hired labor to work in the rice field, instead we did the whole chore ourselves!” said Vishal, post graduate student of Environmental Sciences from A.N College. “We did not resort to the use of any chemical fertilizer or pesticides in the crop. The sowing, harvesting and threshing of the rice was entirely done by students,” said Gaurav from the same college.

Organic farm work

Margaret (right) helping the volunteers from A.N College with the work in the Organic Farm. Vishal (center) coordinated the participation.

Speaking on the occasion former activist of Tarumitra, Eva Gagan from Australia who was present on the occasion along with her husband Gagan and son Evang said that the festival reminded the people of the bygone variety-rich rice fields of Bihar. She said that the varieties have disappeared at the onslaught of hybrid rice. Very few farmers have the determination and courage to cultivate the traditional rice.

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Devopriya Dutta (4th from left) and Maragaret Molomoo (2nd from right) co-ordinated the entire cultivation and harvesting.

Coordinator of the Organic Farming, Ms Margaret Molomoo said every Indian village had its own rice variety conserved and handed over by many generations. Scientists estimated a total of over 20,000 rice varieties in the country. An earlier Tarumitra survey showed that people in Bihar cultivated less than 80 varieties of rice.

It was also the inauguration of a specially designed alfresco outdoor class room “Oxygen bar” in Tarumitra.

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A team from Solar Alternatives helped Banares  (top) to set up the Oxygen Bar

“Oval shaped, the class room under the trees can seat 150 students. The place is totally protected from mosquitoes inside a giant netting system!” said Saharsh who contributed to construct the innovative classroom which the students have named, “Oxygen Bar!”

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Director of May Flower school, Jairam Sharma cut the ribbon and inaugurated the Oxygen Bar!

The Oxygen Bar has its own story to narrate!

An earlier tremor from 2016 left one of our water reservoirs extremely damaged. While plans for repair came up, one of our visitors suggested the possibility of converting it into an outdoor classroom. The idea got spruced up with a design and plan of action by the students.

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Dr Jeffrey Chirayil and his wife Dr Meril Chirayil, Dallas USA offered to sponsor the Oxygen Bar as soon as they heard of it

There was this offer of sponsorship from Dr. Meril Abraham Chirayil and her husband, Dr. Jeffrey Joseph Chirayil from Dallas USA. They took time from their hospital work to learn as how we were going to make the bar with a difference!

Paul Mariadoss SJ, from Solar Alternatives, suggested covering the space with netting to protect the students from mosquitoes.

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Paul Mariadoss SJ, software and hardware engineer,   has  been organizing solar campaigns from the Jesuit center at Phulwarisharif. (http://www.patnajesuits.org/ECOLOGYM.aspx)

The problem was to find a huge mosquito net for the roof!
Being a physicist, Fr. Paul used his good ol’ math’s formula to calculate the roof-size and got the plastic Netting tailor-made for the spot. That was hard work.

Oxygen bar construction

Students from St. Xavier’s worked hard to get the foundation done in time

Banaras and his team of masons then built it up summarily with students from St. Xavier’s college helping out to dig up the foundations for posts. Gaurav, Vishal and Priti from A.N College worked on the spot several days before the place took shape.

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Students from different colleges helped out to build the structure

“The spot is an excellent place for meditation in the mornings!” said Sr. Amalia who advocates the promotion of an earth-building eco-spirituality for our times. The Tertian Sisters spent a week at Tarumitra listening to Fr, Robert Athickal SJ presenting the inspiring insights of Big History of the universe.

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When completed Oxygen Bar could seat 150 students inside in a full circle, overlooking the water inside

The director of May Flower School, Jairam Sharma, by cutting a ribbon inducted the classroom. It is now being used daily, especially for the campaign to inform people about the issues of clean drinking water.

Students suggested the appellation for the al fresco classroom:  Oxygen Bar!

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Students offered special thanks to Drs. Meril and Jeffrey Chirayil!

The celebration of Makar Sankranti continued under the Pakur tree when the participating students served curd, rice and sesame seeds in leaf-plates and ate them with relish.

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Fatema Hussain (left), an Intern from Jindal University, Sonipat Haryana said that it was her first such celebration under the trees. The CJ tertian Sisters from Allahabad, Bangalore and Patna helped to serve the dishes