Designs on a paddy field

Designs on a paddy field

Paddy art: The field belonging to Anjaneya, an organic farmer. Photo by the author

Watch the field from a distance of a few hundred metres, and you will see a distinct shape in the middle. That of a mother playing with her child and a peacock alongside!

This picture bloomed in the paddy field belonging to Anjaneya, an enthusiastic organic farmer of Kumbalur village in Davanagere district. There is an interesting story behind this venture. Last year, this farmer participated in a workshop at Trivandrum, where he was attracted towards paper clippings of Japanese art. In Japan, this art is being promoted for tourism plan and lakhs of tourists rush to see varieties of such shapes in the middle of paddy fields. There are many expert teams and they guide the farmers.

They are first known to fly over the field in a helicopter and with a high beam projector they beam light.

Along this line, different varieties of paddy seeds are sown. When the crop reaches the harvesting stage, beautiful shapes of animals, birds and people can be seen.

“But here we don’t have such facilities. So I decided to experiment with the art on a quarter acre of land. Artiste M L Somavarada visited my field and made markings of a mother playing with a child and a peacock in background. I planted paddy along these lines,” explains Anjaneya, talking about his efforts.

In the Japanese version of this art, tens of paddy varieties are used to ensure that the shape comes out clearer. These include red, brown, green and light blue-coloured plants. Anjaneya scoured the state to procure the coloured paddy plant variety. He succeeded in getting the ‘Dambarasali’ variety from Shankar Langoti of Gundenahatti village, Belgaum district. He sowed this brown coloured paddy along the sketch while the rest of the field has the basmati paddy variety.

Now the crop is in its final stage and the shape can be clearly seen. Hundreds of farmers and curious onlookers gather at Anjaneya’s paddy field every day.

“This has other purposes apart from entertainment. There was a time when India had lakhs of rice varieties. But we lost all of them. After the Green Revolution, we see only one colour of paddy everywhere. But, things do seem to be changing with farmers conserving traditional varieties. In Japan, this scheme has been put into use to save local varieties.

“We also have such paddy varieties. To prove this, we have started this experiment to showcase our rich rice culture,” explains G Krishnaprasad, Director of Organic Farmers’ Association Sahaja Samrudha.

Following a good response from the farmers, officials and scientists, Anjaneya now plans to collect some more coloured paddy varieties.

“In the next season, I am going to create a bigger picture than this one,” he says confidently.

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