Rivière-des-Anguilles: Dhiraj defying the law of gravity

20 février 2024, 19:05


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Rivière-des-Anguilles: Dhiraj defying the law of gravity

Dhiraj lives with a disabled right hand from a road accident. He is married and father of two college-going boys. I met him in a small plot of land he rents to grow seasonal crops on the outskirt of morcellement La Vanille, Rivière-des-Anguilles. I found his discourse loaded with ambition nourished from the shock of his accident. He would never give up. He would stand for his family through thick and thin.

So, Dhiraj took to growing crops, sometimes eggplants, sometimes margoza, and side by side, a small square of voheme. He learnt his trade from his late father, a sugarcane labourer of the Bel-Air Sugar Estate. Besides growing vegetables on the homestead, the father grew bananas. Today, the son applies lessons learnt like intelligent use of poultry and cow dung to fertilise, reinforce the plants and ensure a reasonable harvest. True it is, he has to apply the technology available, for example, for the control of flies. Otherwise, he would suffer a loss which only a future successful crop could repair. “In this activity, one has to learn all the time and one needs a little bit of chance: when the rains are not destructive, the winds are gentle and the predators prefer to roam elsewhere.” He has adopted the “high rise system” whereby his margoza, voheme plants are placed to creep on horizontal lines. Thus, they will not be washed away by heavy rain water or uprooted by strong winds.

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It is early Sunday morning. Like many, he observes that the majority of our young fellow citizens shun working in the field, let alone as a part time activity and still less as a hobby. Dhiraj is 50. He has to operate one-handedly holding a tool, assisted by his wife and children. He is eager to provide whatever the children need specially for their education. “I inculcate the spirit of discipline, assiduity and management of time in them to grow into responsible citizens,” he observes. Therefore, the produce of the garden should add to the family income to survive. Nothing is gained without hard labour, he adds.

Dhiraj says that nature gives back in a special way to those who treat her well. He does not abuse chemical fertilisers and follows scrupulously technical advice tendered to him. He is aware of the impact of climatic change on crop production; what if there is heavy rainfall, and what if it does not rain? He could be a role model for young people who do not live by slogans only but also by “met zot lame dan later”.

In the meantime, Dhiraj is defying the law of gravity like the scientist who passes a stick through an apple, hits the stick on a flat surface; the apple will go down and when he hits the stick on its upper tip the apple will go up. In simple words, he reaps what he sows.

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