Adyar Bakery - since 1952
Vol 5 Issue 38, Sep 19 - 25, 2014
    Citizen Reporters      |   | Submit Story
testpage

He lives in the thick of a forest, created by him

   By  AP Muhammed Afsal
   Kasargod
24 Sep 2014
Posted 17-Sep-2010
Vol 1 Issue 3

Since 1986, P Abdul Kareem lives inside a 32-acre forest, which is host to hundreds of bee-hives, snake pits and nests.  Point out any wild tree to him and he comes out with its local and botanical name instantly.  Of course, it’s not something one needs to be surprised about. For, Kareem is not just the owner of the forest but also its creator.

Kerala's Forest Research Institute sends scientists to study the trees planted by him and the state’s textbook committee has introduced a chapter on this 'man-made forest' in the sixth standard textbook.

Agricultural scientist, M S  Swaminathan,  who once stopped by, has been a frequent visitor ever since. And Kareem was one of the 20 persons honoured in 2009 by Limca Book of Records as "People of the Year".

In 2005, Indian Oil Corporation released a full-page newspaper ad in its 'India Inspired' series, extolling Kareem's efforts, and followed it up by gifting him a fuel station to sustain his conservation efforts. However, behind Kareem’s success lies a strong will and years of hard work, propelled by a dream.

When Kareem first set his eyes on the lateritic hillside during his weekend getaways at his wife’s house in Puliyankulam, the entire stretch was barren. In 1977, he bought five acres of land with an almost non-functional well for Rs 3,750.

Next year, he planted mature saplings of wild trees, but all of them withered soon. The second attempt too was unsuccessful.  However, in the third attempt, several saplings survived and started growing.

In those days, Kareem used to fetch water in cans on his motorbike from a source a kilometre away - several times a day. He cared for passing birds too. He put small water-filled pots around the land to attract them. They brought in more diversity to his land, discharging varied seeds through droppings.

Green Paradise: a dream come true

He planted 800 species of forest trees and 300 medicinal plants. He has never weeded his land, never cut a tree, never swept or set on fire the leaves ever since. “The most important revelation for me was the impact of humus on the hard rock.

The fallen leaves form a thick layer on the rocky surface and get decomposed over the years. This accelerated the disintegration of laterite into small gravel and slowly to fine soil which in turn helps seeds spread by the insects and birds to grow roots and germinate,” he says.

He kept away all fertilizers, insecticides and pesticides. He dug rainwater catch pits and raised walls with boulders across the slopes in order to capture soil carried by run-off water.

Soon, the ground water rose to a comfortable level. He stepped up his efforts. Weeds grew amidst the rare herbs and medicinal plants – many not chosen by Kareem.  In 1982, he bought another 27 acres of rocky land and today, “you dig five metres and you'll get water here,” says Kareem.

With hare, fowl and other small game appearing in the forests and sack-sized beehives emerging, Kareem built his house inside the forest in 1986. From a tank in the forest, he can now pump 100,000 litres at one go and the level will bounce back in a few minutes.

Today, Kareem supplies drinking water to the 100-odd families from the two wells and four ponds in his forest, situated in Puliyankulam.



Print  |  Email  | 
 Share   

You might also like:

Chasing a dream

Two young Canadian brothers of Indian origin have arrived in India with their trainer and two-time Olympic medallist Ben Johnson hoping to play for Salgaocar and eventually realise their dream of representing India. Abhishek Roy reports

Read More

Wild survivors

With several big-time poachers behind bars, and effective patrolling strategies in place, tiger poaching has dropped in India by nearly 60 percent in 2011, says Sanjeeb Baruah

Read More

IEYS 2014
FPJs Meet Vidyaakar
adyar bakery
 
Mentoring Tamil Nadu



Popular Stories

Milky way

The denial of visa shattered his dream to study in the land of milk and honey. But Bhasker Reddy managed to squeeze honey out of milk in India by starting a dairy business in Hyderabad. P C Vinoj Kumar meets the first generation entrepreneur

Read More

The challenger

It challenged the idea of Ice Bucket Challenge itself. Manju Latha Kalanidhi, a journo from Hyderabad, changed the course of a charity wave, turning it more relevant to Indian context. Akash Bisht spoke to the Rice Bucket Challenge pioneer

Read More

Sounds good

A device to detect hearing impairment in newborns will hit the market by 2016. Afsana Rashid spoke to designer Neeti Kailas, who explains how her innovation will help children born with hearing disability by facilitating an early intervention

Read More

Being the change

At an age of 28, Arun Daniel Yellamaty is already a known social worker, whose Youngistaan Foundation is into a plethora of activities in Hyderabad. P C Vinoj Kumar finds out from the former journalist how he changes the life of urban poor

Read More

Versatile rubber

Making use of rubber’s versatility, some scientists in Bhubaneswar have developed a ‘rubberised’ check dam. Kavita Kanan Chandra checks out the benefits of replacing concrete and cement with rubber and where all the new technology is going

Read More

Beautiful dream

Creating 3000 salons, 1000 women entrepreneurs and 50,000 jobs by 2020 is the dream of C K Kumaravel, who, despite hailing from a business family, had to start on his own. P C Vinoj Kumar traces the growth of Naturals beauty salons founder

Read More

Touching base

New York-born Ajaita Shah once applied for fellowship to work in India. Then she came back and also launched Frontier Markets to serve base of the pyramid households. Souzeina S Mushtaq spoke to the 29-year-old who knows the needs of villages

Read More

Donor par excellence

P Kalyansundaram, who donated his lifetime salary for charity, has inspired social workers in Tamil Nadu for years. P C Vinoj Kumar meets the happy man whose name is synonymous with simplicity

Read More

People’s doctor

Dr V Shanta heads the Adyar Cancer Institute in Chennai. Active even at 87 years, she talks to Manasa Ramraj about her childhood inspiration, adding: ‘Doctors must learn to treat their patients as human beings and not as mere commodities.’

Read More

Ticket to dream

It was no wild goose chase for Arun Athiappan, when he co-founded TicketGoose.com, a bus ticket booking portal. He always wanted to be an entrepreneur and has been losing sleep to come up with new ideas since he was 12, says P C Vinoj Kumar

Read More
 
Kudos image

"The Weekend Leader not only gives a glimpse of the better things happening around us but also tells stories of people who made it possible.”

Ajay Chaturvedi, Entrepreneur More Kudos
 
Archives  |   Columns  |   About Us  |   Contact Us  |   Feedback  |   Response  |     |   Cheers!  |   Support Us  |   Friends of Positive Journalism
© Copyright The Weekend Leader.com, 2010. All rights reserved.