Big Shift! Meet This Tribal Man From Odisha Who Gave Up Hunting To Grow Veggies On Mountains
Balasore: Sooner or later in the journey of life, every person gets at least one chance to undergo a complete self-transformation. Grabbing that infrequent opportunity with both the hands, Padmalochan Soren is now making a lasting contribution to the forest ecosystem.
Padmalochan, a resident of Khumakuta village under Oupada block of the district, survived by hunting wild animals in the forests and made it a source of livelihood for many years. But he had to pay a big price for that as he faced arrest for wildlife hunting.
It all began after he was released from the jail. Defying the age-old tradition of hunting, Padmalochan switched to full-time farming, so much engrossed that it eventually earned him the tag of ‘Mountain Man’ amongst the tribespeople.
He is not the lone person in his tribe to have changed his way of life. Padmalochan has managed to convince many others in his village to give away hunting and adapt to farming.
In the mountain range close to his village, Padmalochan along with his fellow villagers has initiated a plantation drive covering vast area of the forest land. Brinjal, Cabbage, Moringa (commonly known as drumstick) and Singapore Banana plantation can be seen in the mountains.
“I went through a lot of struggle in the initial days when I started farming, as there was no farm tool or agricultural equipment. I used whatever resources were available to me to carry out small-scale cropping system. We have worked really hard to turn this area into a vegetable hub,” narrates Padmalochan pointing towards the green veggie-cover which surrounded him from all sides.
“Waking up early in the morning and coming to the farmland has become a routine for all of us. Post lunch, we again keep ourselves busy in farming activities till dusk settles over the mountain,” says Rinamani Soren, wife of the Mountain Man.