Dadaji Khobragade, a 70-year-old rice farmer from a small forest village called Nanded in Naghbid taluka of Chandrapur district in Maharashtra became a celebrity as the ‘Forbes’ magazine named him in the list of Most Powerful Rural Indians for his innovation in rice production.
He is a school dropout and the only earning person of seven-member family. Dadaji Khobragade, changed paddy farming by developing a highly successful variety of paddy, named HMT rice, which gives 80 per cent more yield than conventional varieties. The HMT rice sold at around Rs 3,200 per quintal. Khobragade said he named the rice after his wristwatch’s brand, Hindustan Machine Tools (HMT).
Presently, Khobragade is landless because due to sudden financial crisis he sold his three-acre farmland. Now, many hands came forward including late awakened government to support him in his future research.”Many people are earning good profits and luxuries due to my work. They are travelling in big cars and staying in big buildings, and I am still walking due to lack of money. This is my condition and I have to think about it,” he added.
Apart from the negligence he suffered from society in acknowledging his work, he kept himself on the high tune and continued his work. He, then, founded many other varieties that are on great demand from farmers from all over the nation. His success is in his hard work, patience and perseverance. He is thankful to his father who inherited the art of careful and scientific breeding of various crops, particularly rice.
He kept aside all the materialistic desires and concentrated his energy in his hobby of playing with rice like a curious child. His curiosity led him in the Forbes Most Powerful Rural India list. We should be thankful to National Innovative Foundation and Anil Gupta who studied his work and put it in a scientific manner so that the so-called scientists can understand the power of a rural Indian Scientist who has full ability to work without any conventional research facilities.
The grass root people of India have great energy. It is a silent force that is pushing India ahead of any country in the world and marching to be a most powerful nation. Rural scientists like Dadaji will play a key role to accomplish our DREAM 2020.