Telangana: Reviving sparrow songs in rural Nirmal

It is also believed that waking up to the chirps of sparrows in the morning helps bring wealth into the household.
Members of Nirmal Mandal Samikya prepare bundles of paddy under the Back to Roots’ initiative in Nirmal district
Members of Nirmal Mandal Samikya prepare bundles of paddy under the Back to Roots’ initiative in Nirmal districtPhoto | Express

ADILABAD: While the chirps and chatter of birds used to provide a background score to the lives of people, especially in rural areas, across the erstwhile Adilabad district, the distinct drop in the number of sparrows has alarmed nature lovers. An once ubiquitous presence in the porches of households and on branches of trees, sparrows have now become a rare sight, bemoan locals.

However, the Nirmal Mandal Samikya has launched the ‘Back to Roots’ initiative to bring the olden days back apart from adding a stream of income for local tillers. Earlier, farmers would hang a small bundle of paddy from the balconies, windows and cattle sheds so that sparrows could feed on it, especially during the summer. It is also believed that waking up to the chirps of sparrows in the morning helps bring wealth into the household.

Speaking to TNIE, District Rural Development Agency (DRDA) project officer P Vijaya Laxmi says they greenlit the initiative in April to ensure that the birds do not die from want of food and water, especially during the summer season. Birds can even use other parts of the crop to build nests, she explains.

“I watched a few YouTube videos where farmers in states such as Kerala, Tamil Nadu and even some parts of Andhra Pradesh are using this system to feed the birds, especially sparrows,” the project officer adds.

Residents place paddy bundles around the windows in Nirmal district
Residents place paddy bundles around the windows in Nirmal districtPhoto | Express

Vijaya Laxmi explains that farmers growing different crops are told to grow paddy in a small patch of land. “After the harvest, I offer training at the Samikya office on how to pack the paddy. It is then placed near the balconies or on the exterior of houses in sheds,” she says, adding that the bundles are in good demand and have been selling for `500 each.

New market sensation

Meanwhile, locals have started using these bundles as thoranam (traditional decorations) at the entrance of houses. Some have even placed special orders for housewarming events. Residents of Nirmal have welcomed the initiative and supporting it with their wallets. They feel that this would help the Samikya generate some revenue and in turn, help the local populace apart from adding to the fauna of the area. It must be noted that sparrows also serve as a marker for lead pollution in soil and other contaminants.

Such is the craze of the paddy bundles that many were used to decorate themed polling stations in Mudhole and Lokeshwaram mandals. Several of these polling stations saw 100% voter turnout, says Vijaya Laxmi. In the near future, the DRDA plans to sell the bundles to other markets and consumers online.

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