Necessity is the mother of invention and no one epitomizes this better than India’ ace innovator – Uddhab Bharali. With some 140 inventions under his belt, this nondescript man from Assam has changed lives with his simple and user friendly inventions, mainly for farmers.
Right from a gadget to dessed pomegranate to peeling garlic to paddy seeding and tea processing, Bharali has invented machines for all.
A very bright child, he finished schooling at the age of 14 and opted for engineering at the Jorhat Engineering College. But inability to pay fees, father’s debt forced him to quit college and he started working. His first creation was a polythene making machine to cater to the demand from surrounding tea estates in Assam.
After repaying his father’s debts, in 1995, Bharali got a contract for the maintenance of the machinery used in a hydro power project in Arunachal Pradesh but he had to return home after three years as his elder brother had passed away due to liver sclerosis.
He concentrated on making products to serve rural public and commercial purposes. And his most inspiring words, “I have seen so many low moments in my life. Had I sat back and complained, I would never have known what I was capable of. I kept working and thinking until I overcame whatever hurdle came my way. So, I believe failure is just a situation. Your action is the solution.”
From 1990 to 2005, he invented 24 machines. His talent was noticed by National Innovation Foundation, Ahmedabad in 2005 and he joined them as a grassroots innovator. In 2006, his design for a pomegranate de-seeding machine was recognised as the first of its kind not only in India, but across the world. It can de-seed 55 kgs of pomegranate per hour.
There are other innovations like - tobacco leaf cutter, paddy thresher, cane stripping machine, brass utensil polishing machine, safed musli peeling machine, jatropha de-seeder, mechanised weeding machine, passion fruit juice extractor, trench digger and a chopper for cattle and fisheries feed are popular and being used in foreign countries. He has also created a mini green tea and CCT tea plant – consuming just 2 kW of electricity, equivalent to the power consumption of an average household, and can be run by semi-skilled labour. Green tea from this machine has fetched Rs.3,000 per kg in tea auctions. And the machine only costs Rs. 3.75 lakh. His cement brick-making machine is another marvel that can be operated by anyone—including people with disabilities.
How does he use the money earned? A large part of the profit goes into his research and in supporting 21 families (whose main breadwinner is disabled). His favourite innovation, in fact, is the one that helps people with disabilities—those who have lost their hands—to eat and clean themselves. He says, “I believe that if you cannot help society through your knowledge and capabilities, you are living a worthless life.” Truly inspiring!