By Rabindra Dakua
Berhampur: At a time when tractors, sprayers, improved seeds and chemical fertilisers are the buzzwords in agriculture, farmers in Ganjam have stuck steadfastly to their traditional ways of farming.
In crop fields across the district, the humble ‘plough’ still rules the roost. Farmers can be seen tilling their land with their ‘hala-langala’, the wooden plough attached to the shoulders of a pair of buffaloes, while merrily humming a song. With the soil already softened by rains, tilling the land is a walk in the park for them.
On their part, women too sing in chorus a host of folk songs while engaged in transplantation. Besides the sense of bonding they create among the women working in the fields, these songs have enriched the local folk traditions, culture and literature. Periodic ‘hulahuli’(ululation) by them while working adds to the musical ambience of the paddy fields.
The family lunch on the dividers of agricultural land is a sight to behold. The whole family – men, women, children – partake of ‘pakhala’, the quintessentially Odia dish of fermented rice, with vegetables together out in the open, creating a bonding that lasts a lifetime.
The rest of the world may have moved on to the high road of modern, scientific and hi-tech farming. But the farmers of Ganjam are happy sticking to their centuries-old ways, which make cultivation a pleasure all the way for the whole family.