Scientist Nammalvar to remain a real farmer

DC | PRAMILA KRISHNAN
Published Jan 1, 2014, 5:05 pm IST
Updated Jan 20, 2016, 3:22 pm IST
Nammalvar could connect with youngsters just as he could with intellectuals.
Nammalvar.
 Nammalvar.

Chennai: Messages of condolences are pouring in at the newsroom from all over following the sudden demise of Iyarkai Vignyani Nammalvar.

Not just the farmers, for whose uplift the scientist-turned-organic-farmer had worked for more than four decades, but many social workers, literary persons and even politicians, are expressing grief that the smiling sage and his flowing beard are gone for ever.

Though I first met Nammalvar for an interview in 2009, I became his fan and he became my friend.

After that first meeting, I had phoned him and met him many times, not just for interviews but also to share views and widen my knowledge on a variety of subjects that were not entirely related to the farmers and rural living. Whenever I rang ‘ayya’ (that’s how I used to call him), he would recall my latest article and make comments. He would encourage me to write more on the virtues of organic farming.

I was gifted with the opportunity to proof-read one of his books early this year. I was astonished at his repertoire and his lucid story-telling skill; just when I felt the narrative got a bit boring, an interesting anecdote, an inspiring quote or a little village tale would pop out of the page to shake me up all awake.

I had recently asked him what inspired him the most in life. He said an encounter with a village girl during his scientist days had created an indelible impression.

The girl asked him to solve what seemed a simple puzzle—‘adi kaattuley, nadu mettuley, nuni veettileyadhu enna?’ The scientist spent the whole night seeking an answer but failed.

He was at her door first thing in the morning, when the little brat smiled mischievously and said it was nothing but the paddy plant, whose bottom is left in the field, the middle bundled for the cattle to feed and the grain at the tip is taken to the granary at home.

That was when Nammalvar, the scientist, understood that the real scientist was out in the village farm and not in the university lab.n He could connect with 

youngsters just as he could with intellectuals

 

Location: Tamil Nadu

 




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