A school dropout, he once discovered something so revolutionary that it changed the fate of paddy farming forever. Back in 1983, a farmer observed few spikes of a new variety of paddy in his farm, which he experimented on in the years to come.
A cultivator and a self-trained plant breeder, 81-year-old Dadaji Ramaji Khobragade is the reason behind a high-yielding variety of paddy. It was due to his efforts, this variety gave high yields as compared to the varieties available at that time. In 1990, the variety was given a name HMT Rice.
Dadaji is from a little forest village of Nanded in Naghbid Village of Chandrapur district of Maharashtra. With seven members of the family, what makes it difficult for him is that he is the only earning member of his family. And unfortunately, now he is suffering from paralysis.
To take a closer look at the cause and understand it better, LifeBeyondNumbers got in touch with the 28- year-old Sukhada Chaudhury, a digital marketing consultant in Nagpur, about her crowdfunding initiative to help the ailing Dadaji Ramaji Khobragade and her thoughts on why it is necessary for everyone to have social accountability.
On asking about her one-week-old campaign, Sukhada says, “I came to know about Khobragade through social media and newspapers, during the time when farmer marches and protests were being carried out across the country.”
Khobragade has got over 100 awards for his work and Sukhada felt that it was unfair for a man like him to suffer from paralysis and die without treatment. When she called Dadaji’s son, she found out that this man was going through ayurvedic treatment because of the financial crisis and that kick-started the campaign to raise 2 lakhs for his treatment.
Despite his contribution in the field of agriculture, Khobragade is living under poverty. He got some recognition when Forbes magazine named him among seven most powerful entrepreneurs of India in 2010. He became landless due to a sudden financial crisis and had to sell his three-acre farmland. Also, many people earned great profits and luxuries due to his work and eventually became rich. But he remained poor. Khobragade got 100’s of awards including one from the former president of India Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam.
Thanks to the efforts of Sukhada, Khobragade is being now treated at a private hospital in Brahmapuri, Maharashtra and once more funds are raised, he will be shifted to a bigger hospital with better treatment facilities.
The government of India has presented Dadaji with Krishi Gaurav Award and CM of Maharashtra has assisted him by offering 2 lakhs. With people coming forward to support the cause, Sukhada has already raised 6 lakhs through crowdfunding and aims to fulfill the target of 8 lakhs, so that it can contribute to Ddaji’s healthy living after recovery.
Regarding the social accountability, Sukhada feels, “Sometimes we fall into the trap of thinking that who will listen to us if we go forward with our ideas to help people, because we don’t have credentials or authority, but I feel if there is a cause that bothers you, at the end of the day it is better to do something than sitting idle and doing nothing.”
Click here if you wish to help Dadaji Ramaji Khobragade to reclaim a healthy life.