Serial grassroots innovator from Dharwad, Karnataka, Abdul Khader Nadakattin, is amongst the 107 Padma Shri awardees announced for the year 2022 in the Others (Grassroots Innovation) category.
Nadakattin’s prominent innovations include a device to separate tamarind seeds, ploughing blade manufacturing machine, seed cum fertiliser drill, water-heating boiler, an automatic sugarcane sowing driller, and a wheel tiller. All his innovations demonstrate principles of sustainability, cost-effectiveness, eco-friendliness, and social acceptance.
His first innovation was a “A Wa(h!)ter Alarm,” which was his personalised attempt to solve his own nature of sleeping till late in the mornings. He tied a thin rope at the end of the key of 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.
Owing to his portfolio of innovations related to tamarind, people started calling him ‘hunase huccha (tamarind maniac)’. It started with his success in growing tamarind with scarce but alkaline water and further graduated with experiments like the technique for harvesting tamarind from the tree and also the highly accepted machine to separate tamarind seeds. This inspired him to develop a machine for slicing tamarind. In furtherance of success with tamarind, he came up with innovations to address agriculture operations like deep ploughing, sowing of seeds, and also fuel-efficient water heating boiler.
For several years in a row, the grassroots innovators are being recognized at 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 inspiring the generation to innovate further!