Category Archives: innovation

Conquering the odds

What Americans couldn’t solve for over 30 years, a poor man from North Lakhimpur, Assam did in a matter of 2 years! He came up with a pomegranate de-seeding machine which separated the outer cover and thin inner membrane without damaging the seeds. The marvelous innovation has a capacity of de-seeding 50-55 kg of pomegranate fruits per hour!

What’s remarkable to note is that this 47 year-old man was only four years old when he realized that his family had inched towards acute poverty. I got to know about him, while researching for story ideas during my internship days at The Hindu newspaper. 

He was labelled as ‘insane’ by his family for his desire to invent things, and today he has been shortlisted by National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for their prestigious Technology Award.

ImagePic: Uddhab Bharali with his pomegranate de-seeder

Another breakthrough by him was the Mini CTC tea plant, which aimed to help small time tea-pluckers and farmers. Tea-pluckers, who earlier received Rs. 9/kg for the tea crop, are now getting upto Rs. 20/kg through this plant.

Its heart rendering to see that there exist people in our society, who are ready to do something for the other members of the populace. 

As of now, he is planning to make toilets for the handicapped. Handicapped people are dependent on others for their daily activities. But, this toilet-chair will run without power and will take care of the dressing, usage and flushing automatically.

Pic: The toilet chair for the handicapped prototype

During our discourse, he mentioned how teachers would make him stand-out of the class for asking difficult questions. How interesting is that? True to its meaning, this out-stander did an outstanding job.

German Philosopher, Immanuel Kant had once said, “We are not rich by what we possess, but, by what we can do without.” Probably, Bharali lives up to his words.

As we neared an end to our conversation, he said something, which struck my heart. He said “I want parents to raise their kids as human beings first, and as engineers and doctors later. A child must know the working of the fan or construction of the desk, he is sitting on. By theory he’ll get no practical knowledge, and would only sit in air-conditioned rooms, serving nothing to the nation.”

So is he another Benjamin Franklin in making? Or maybe he is finding his own niche. Let’s hope for the best.