Padma Shri for Karnataka Grassroots innovator

Padma Shri for Karnataka Grassroots innovator
Mr. Abdul Khader Nadakattin conferred with a Lifetime Achievement Award by then President, Pranab Mukherjee.

New Delhi, Jan 29: Mr. Abdul Khader Nadakattin, a serial grassroots innovator from Dharwad, Karnataka, is amongst the 107 Padma Shri awardees announced for the year 2022 in the Others (Grassroots Innovation) category.

Mr. Nadakattin’s prominent innovations include a device to separate tamarind seeds, a machine to manufacture ploughing blades, a seed cum fertiliser drill,a water boiler, an automatic sugarcane sowing driller, and a wheel tiller. All his innovations demonstrate principles of sustainability, cost-effectiveness, eco-friendliness, and most importantly social acceptance. His in-depth knowledge of agro-climatic conditions and soil characteristics has made him an inspiration to other farmers in the country.

His first innovation was an “A Wa(h!)ter Alarm,” which was his personalised attempt to solve his nature of sleeping till late in the mornings. He tied a thin rope at the end of the key to the alarm in such a way that when the key unwound itself, the string tied to the key got wound. The string was in turn tied to a bottle filled with water, when the key was completely unwound, the bottle would tilt, and the water would fall on his face. Later he developed agri-technologies and implements which addressed a variety of needs for the local people while maintaining relevance with modern agriculture.

He was supported by National Innovation Foundation (NIF) – India, an autonomous body of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India. NIF conferred him with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015 during its 8th National Grassroots Innovation and Outstanding Traditional Knowledge Awards ceremony. The then Hon’ble President of India Pranab Mukherjee presented the awards. True to his grassroots spirit and as a mark of respect for the award, he chose to walk barefoot and hence came to be known as the country’s “barefoot scientist”.

He had a portfolio of innovations related to tamarind alone, making people in the region he worked to lovingly call him “hunasehuccha” (tamarind maniac in Kannada). His penchant for innovations relating to tamarind started with his success in growing tamarind with scarce but alkaline water. This graduated into experiments like a simple technique for harvesting tamarind from the tree and the highly popular machine to separate tamarind seeds. This inspired him to develop a machine for slicing tamarind. Following the success with tamarind, he came up with innovations to address agriculture operations like deep ploughing, sowing of seeds, and fuel-efficient water boiler.

For several years in a row now, grassroots innovators are being recognized under different categories of the Padma awards, one of the highest civilian awards of India, which are given in various disciplines — literature and education, arts, science and engineering, trade and industry, civil services, public affairs, sports, and medicine and thus inspiring the younger generation to innovate further. (India Science Wire)

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