Shrinivas Baadkar visited a 109 year old farmer in Karwar and filed this report. It fills the heart with pride.
Many consider old age to be a period of decline in physical and mental health and perhaps it may sound like a fairy tale, if I say that a 109-year-old man still toils daily in the fields? Yes, such an active elderly gentleman, Bhagavantha Padti, lives in Aversa of Ankola Taluk in Uttara Kannada district.
Today, much of the fertile farmlands are fallow, not just because of uncertain rainfall, inclement weather and climate, but also due to unwillingness of the youth to pursue farming. Many agricultural lands are also being shifted to other commercial uses.
Even in these easy times – when ‘ease of’ are key words, centenarian Bhagavantha Padthi engages himself in agriculture and is a role model for future generations. But will they take the bait? He likes to identify himself as a 109-year-old young mind instead of being called a 109 year-old-elder. This industrious elder surprises everyone by tilling the land himself with the help of a pair of bullocks. Now that’s amazing!
Bhagavantha says that he learnt the art of farming at an early age from his father who was also an agriculturist. After his father’s death, Bhagavantha continued the tradition of farming. As was the norm in those days, he was married at an early age to Anandi.
The couple had 12 children, among them three children died young, but nine survived. Of those 9 children, 5 were sons and 4 daughters. Two of his sons passed away very recently. Most of his surviving children are now aged between 70 and 75.
Bhagavantha proudly says that he has many grandchildren and great grandchildren, who visit him often. He adds that, two of his sons moved to Hebbula and pursued farming as a profession.
Wife - a pillar of support
Anandi, who is 95-years-old now, has been a constant support for her husband in his farming activities. She works tirelessly, with enthusiasm equal to that of her husband. She helps Bhagavantha to plough the soil and sow seeds. Also, while her husband looks after the bullocks, she takes good care of the milch cows.
The couple says that they will continue farming until their last breath. They are unsure as to who will look after their beloved land and animals after they are gone.
Bhagavantha and his wife both wake up every day at 5 am, begin work by 6 am which continues until dawn. They grow paddy in one season of the year and in the remaining time grow vegetables, groundnut and sometimes ragi too. As the tractor cannot reach thier fields due to the narrow access roads, they use bullocks for ploughing the soil. They earnestly say that this unending physical labour has not tired them one bit, but has instead added to their health and well-being.
Even at this age, Bhagavantha manages his life independently. He sells the farm produce in the local market and manages household expenses from the money he earns from it. He enjoys riding on a bike and rejoices saying that his relatives and neighbours still take him on for a ride.
According to his neighbour Mahesha Naika, Bhagavantha has an excellent memory. Even in his old age, he never forgets about anyone he meets once. His positive attitude towards life is worthy of praise. He adds that, since Bhagavantha involved himself in cleaning the village, many more villagers willingly joined hands in cleaning programmes.
Bhagavantha’s daily diet
He has a strong physique that can endure about eight hours of intense physical labour. Maintaining a strong body has been the secret to his good health.
The Padthi couple lead a simple life. Bhagavantha says he does not consume any food that is laced with chemicals. In the morning, he eats ganji that his wife prepares for him. He only uses the vegetables, rice and other produce that grows in his fields. He insists on eating ‘ragi ganji’ every day. He also savours fish that he buys from the local fishmongers. All the food is prepared in a rustic style. By combining simple diet with hard work, he says, he has been able to keep himself fit.
His message to youngsters
He laments that the young of today are losing the way, involving themselves in unproductive work. He advises to desist from consuming alcohol and cigarettes. If one involves oneself in agriculture, mother earth will always protect us, he adds. He says, modern food culture is ruining people’s health.
Bhagavantha’s golden rule for success is sincere hard work. He says that many youth of today are lazy and are leading wasteful life. He wants the youth to immerse themselves in productive work.
Clarity in thinking, simplistic diet and constant work protects one’s health says Bhagavantha Padthi.