‘Halli Mane’ a huge crowd-puller with age-old and rare agriculture implements, household items
By Mohan Kayaka
Life in a village is not a walk in the park by any means. Farming is one of the most difficult jobs and crops need close attention and efforts for a successful harvest. At the same time, life in a village is vibrant and lively with lots of cooperation and bonhomie.
To give a glimpse of village life and environs to the city-bred population, a ‘Halli Mane’ has been set up at the Dasara Exhibition Grounds and the design and premises of the house say it all. It is an experience of village life that includes model farming, animal husbandry, pisciculture and poultry.
The ‘Halli Mane’ has been naturally set up and there are fresh greens all over the place. There is an impressive collection of agricultural implements and household articles that have been passed on from the earlier generations to the present. The collection of metal wares, storage items that were used to store grains so that they do not rot, grinding, pouring and the traditional ploughs are on display.
The facility has been established by the Agriculture Department and is spread over an area of one acre. Some of the items that are stored here include old grain measuring items like seru, valle, paavu, chataaku, balla, kolaga, gudani, vaade, thakkadi, kuttani and others that have literally faded away from the memory of this generation.
Unique items like ajji cheela or buda cheela where old women keep betel leaves, areca nuts and tobacco, old cooling instruments (beesanike), old radio and manually-operated TVs without the ubiquitous remote control, cages to restrain poultry birds from straying out of the home compound, easy chair to relieve physical stress and back pain, sickle, pickaxe and several mud-digging implements are on display.
Cooking and storage items
Also, there is an impressive collection of old cooking items, copper and bronze vessels, the mask-like object tied to the mouths of cattle so that they do not eat away the crops while at work, have been kept for public-viewing. Drawings have been made to demonstrate how paddy, ragi, jowar and millets are considered sacred and how they are carried inside the house after harvest and how pujas are performed when Dhanyalakshmi enters the house.
There is a section dedicated for millets where their benefits for health are highlighted. Using biofertilisers and biopesticides, adopting new techniques to replenish the soil with nutrients from human and animal waste have been demonstrated. The exhibits acknowledge that mindless use of fertilisers and pesticides had yielded declining results and was leaving the soil depleted of life-sustaining nutrients.
Natural farming methods have been put on display at the back of the ‘Halli Mane’ where there are demonstrations of rainwater harvesting to replenish groundwater, use of open wells and creation of organic manure without using any pesticides. Apart from the displays, visitors can see the crops that have been grown using natural methods at the exhibition site.
“Methods to protect crops from excess rainfall, soil conservation, judicious use of water, comprehensive and integrated farming methods and diversification of one-acre land where multiple crops can be grown have been put on display,” Joint Director of Agriculture Department Dr. B.S. Chandrashekar told Star of Mysore.
“Many schemes have been initiated by the Governments and there have been research studies to minimise use of chemicals in agriculture. It is important that all this reaches the farmer who works at the grassroots. Our farmers are no strangers to challenges. With their hard work, they are ready to go that extra mile to overcome obstacles and ensure safe and healthy food,” he added.
The response from the visitors to ‘Halli Mane’ is encouraging as hundreds of them are lining up every day to see the country’s roots and also a typical village set up. Though they do not know the names and uses of most of the agricultural and storage implements, they are showing keen interest in learning them.
If somebody wants to get the village experience they should visit a real village not an exhibition!