NEW DELHI: Abdul Khader Nadakattin, a serial grassroots innovator from Dharwad, Karnataka, is one of 107 Padma Shri recipients in the Others (Grassroots Innovation) category named for the year 2022.
Abdul Khader Nadakattin is a serial innovator whose notable innovations include a tamarind seed separation device, a ploughing blade making machine, a seed cum fertiliser drill, a water-heating boiler, an automatic sugarcane sowing driller, and a wheel tiller.
All of his solutions demonstrate sustainability, cost-effectiveness, environmental friendliness, and, most significantly, societal acceptance. His extensive knowledge of agro-climatic conditions and soil characteristics has inspired other farmers throughout the country.
His first invention was a “A Wa(h!)ter Alarm,” which was his own attempt to overcome his own problem of sleeping late in the mornings. He knotted a thin rope to the end of the alarm’s key in such a way that when the key unwound itself, the string tied to the key became wound. The thread was then linked to a bottle of water, and when the key was entirely unravelled, the bottle tilted and the water fell on his face. Later, he created agri-technologies and tools that met a variety of local people’s demands while remaining relevant to modern agriculture.
National Innovation Foundation (NIF) – India, an autonomous entity of the Government of India’s Department of Science and Technology (DST), provided support. Abdul Khader Nadakattin received a Lifetime Achievement Award from then-Indian President Pranab Mukherjee in 2015, during the NIF’s 8th National Grassroots Innovation and Outstanding Traditional Knowledge Awards.
True to his grassroots attitude and as a symbol of respect for the prize, he elected to walk barefoot and therefore became known as the country’s “barefoot scientist.”
People began referring to him as “hunase huccha,” which translates to “tamarind crazy,” because of his portfolio of tamarind-related ideas. It began with his accomplishment in cultivating tamarind with scant but alkaline water and progressed to trials such as the technique for harvesting tamarind from the tree and the widely adopted machine for separating tamarind seeds. This prompted him to create a tamarind-slicing machine. In order to build on his success with tamarind, he developed innovations for agricultural operations including as deep ploughing, seed planting, and a fuel-efficient water heating boiler.
For several years in a row, grassroots innovators have been recognised in various categories of the Padma awards, one of India’s highest civilian awards given in various disciplines such as literature and education, arts, science and engineering, trade and industry, civil services, public affairs, sports, and medicine, and inspiring the next generation to innovate further!