Natural farmer P Ganesan from Perungamanallur village in Madurai, Tamil Nadu, is well-versed in all points of agriculture. He turned his nine-acre farmland into a licensed natural farm round 5 years in the past.
Ganesan says that cow dung is without doubt one of the most important elements in eco-friendly farming. So, when he switched to natural farming, he purchased just a few native breeds of cows to supply sufficient dung to make natural fertilisers like jeevamrutha and panchagavya.
However to his shock, Ganesan says “I obtained much more cow dung than what I required in my farmland. That’s after I began considering of another for not letting it go to waste.”
He quickly discovered an answer to the conundrum by making artefacts utilizing solely cow dung and cow urine.
A really distinctive and natural means of crafting handicrafts, Ganesan mastered this system over the previous 5 years. He began by making small Ganesha idols. At present, he makes over 150 completely different merchandise, which embody utility, in addition to ornamental gadgets. He even receives customised order requests from throughout the state and generally, from outdoors.
“I craft it by my fingers. There is no such thing as a equipment or mould concerned, and I don’t add any components apart from cow dung and cow urine. It’s 100 per cent pure and eco-friendly,” says the 52-year-old.
A craft near custom
Whereas rising up, Ganesan remembers the occasions when his household used to make small Ganesha idols utilizing cow dung. “These idols had been largely symbolic of Ganesha, therefore weren’t as detailed as those I make. They had been majorly made throughout festivities or through the starting of harvesting. I discovered inspiration from it and developed the thought,” he says.
“Moreover, I had seen how cow dung turns exhausting and strong as soon as it dries below the solar. Dry dung desserts are nonetheless getting used as gas for cooking. It has a powerful bonding property even with out mixing it with some other ingredient,” he elaborates.
Across the time he switched to natural farming, Ganesan occurred to attend a coaching programme the place a scholar steered concepts on utilising cow dung in several methods. “In reality, I conceived the thought after that coaching session and determined to make Ganesha idols for Vinayagar Chaturthi,” he provides.
The 60 idols he made offered out shortly. This inspired Ganesan to take his artwork to the following degree. “I began experimenting and added extra number of merchandise yearly. By promoting the Ganesha idols, I obtained round Rs 12,000 within the first 12 months. The subsequent 12 months, I added some new merchandise and was in a position to garner round Rs 25,000, and round Rs 75,000 within the third 12 months,” he says.
Ganesan provides, “However within the following two years the gross sales went down because of the pandemic. Now I’m attempting to amp up because the pandemic-induced restrictions have diminished.”
Utility gadgets like kumkum packing containers, spice packing containers, pen stands, fruit stands, and ornamental gadgets like wall hangings, torans (ornamental door hangings), chains, plaques with non secular symbols, and faces of gods/goddesses are a number of the gadgets made utilizing cow dung.
A six-foot tall Buddha statue made utilizing 30 kg of cow dung is without doubt one of the masterpieces made by Ganesan.
A painstaking handmade course of
Every product made by Ganesan are distinctive as it’s utterly handmade. Although it’s made simply utilizing cow dung and cow urine, he says that the whole course of requires numerous time and endurance. So it’s troublesome to mass-produce them.
“Recent cow dung is used to make all of the merchandise. As soon as the dung is taken, the sculpting must be performed inside 1–2 hours. After that, it must be dried below the solar for a number of days in response to the thickness of the product. A lot of the merchandise are stored for at the least a time interval of 20 days earlier than dispatching it,” elaborates Ganesan. He provides that he additionally formulated a six-step course of for bringing the merchandise to perfection.
Because the merchandise must be dried below the solar, he solely works in these months when it doesn’t rain. “Humid climate might result in the expansion of worms or fungus within the uncooked materials, which might have an effect on the power of the product. So, I don’t make them through the monsoons. The merchandise end up good solely once they get good publicity to the solar,” he says.
It took him round 5 years to experiment with the artwork and to provide you with a well-thought course of, by means of trial and error technique. “I might guarantee that each one these artefacts — if maintained properly below non-humid circumstances — would final for at the least 10 years,” he provides.
In line with him, one of the best factor about cow dung artefacts is that they’re 100 per cent natural, eco-friendly, and even recyclable.
He elaborates, “Even when the product is disposed of after just a few years, it will flip into manure. It will also be recycled and used as an natural powder, which will be blended with water and sprayed on vegetation.”
J Suresh Kannan, a businessman from Madurai, purchased just a few merchandise from Ganesan just a few years in the past. “I purchased a Vinayagar idol, a pen stand, and a toran from him round two years again. They’re nonetheless nearly as good as they had been on the time I purchased them and I haven’t seen even a single crack on their floor. His artwork could be very distinctive and I really feel it requires extra appreciation,” says Suresh.
The value vary of the merchandise begins from Rs 5 and goes as much as Rs 3,000. “The cow dung cake is priced at Rs 5 and the most costly amongst my merchandise is the Buddha statue,” says Ganesan, including that almost all of his merchandise are offered by means of expos.
“I don’t have a advertising and marketing technique as such. Many individuals study my merchandise by means of word-of-mouth and customary connections. To date, I’ve obtained orders from throughout the state and even from different components of the nation,” says Ganesan who additionally conducts coaching on the craft.
For order-related queries, contact Ganesan at 99420 85413.
Edited by Pranita Bhat