PERAMBALUR: “We teach the importance of organic farming to students from since class 1. They all know who Nammazhvar was and what he stood for. They’ll hopefully remember and idolise him for years to come,” said K Jansi Rani, the Headmistress of Headmistress of Panchayat Union Primary School in Perali, in Kunnam block in Perambalur District.
G Nammazhvar was an organic farmer and scientist who was known for organic farming philosophies. Born in Elangadu in Thanjavur on April 6, 1938, Nammazhvar was instrumental in spreading awareness among villagers of Cauvery Delta belt about the adverse effects of extraction of methane and other kinds of hydrocarbon from paddy fields. He dedicated his life to teaching the farmers about the organic methodology of farming. Nammazhvar died on December 30, 2013, at a ripe age of 75.
Perali is located among the cluster of villages where marginal to excessive use of pesticide in cotton and paddy fields caused a disaster. The farmers who sprayed pesticides to counter the bugs were left unable to tend themselves due to ingestion of pesticides through their body systems. Hundreds of farmers were hospitalised, and at least five from Kunnam and Alathur block in Perambalur district died due to the occupational hazard. All such mayhem was due to the ambitions of farmers to get an extra yield of commodities through genetically modified crops which deviated from the teachings of G Nammazhvar.
There have been a quite a few who are trying to instill faith about organic farming after the departure of G Nammazhvar. “We took up the responsibility of sensitising their students about organic farming on the commemoration of his birth anniversary and conducted competitions such as oratory, essay writing and drawing in which all our students from classes 1 to 5 enthusiastically participated,” said Headmistress K Jansi Rani from Panchayat Union Primary School in Perali.
The topics included: Organic Farming, Love for Nature, Conservation of Environment and harmony with Flora and Fauna. R Madhavan from class 5 won the first prize in Oratory while S Priyadarshini from class 4 and S Hemavarshini from class 3 won the first prizes in Essay Writing and Drawing, respectively.
“Awareness of organic farming are imperative to be taught at a young age to cultivate social, ecological and environmental responsibility over the years. Idolising a great old man like Nammazhvar is one of the ways”’ said S Ragavan, an environmentalist from Perali, who led the village youth activities such as rehabilitation of lakes and planting of tree saplings in the village.