A Short Biographical Note on Bhaskar Save
Often called ‘the living Gandhi of natural farming’, and ever happy to share his wealth of insights, Bhaskar Save has inspired many organic farmers all over India, particularly in Gujarat and Maharashtra.
Approaching the 86th year of his life – and still very active! – Shri Save, born on 27-1-22, has over six decades of deep, personal experience in growing a wide variety of food crops, including rice, wheat, pulses, vegetables and fruit.
Bhaskar Save’s magnificent, 14 acre orchard farm, Kalpavruksha, has been described as a ‘food forest’. Masanobu Fukuoka, the renowned Japanese farmer, declared it as the best farm he has seen in the world. Like a natural forest, it is a net supplier of water, energy and fertility to the eco-system of its region, rather than a net consumer! Economically too, it fetches a manifold higher return than most modern farms.
Born in the Wadwal community of traditional farm-tenders, Bhaskar Save was a school teacher for about 10 years, before he became a full-time farmer. He began using chemicals in the early fifties, and was soon hailed a ‘model’ for the new technology. But by about 1960, before most farmers in India had started on chemicals, Save had already seen the pitfalls and totally stopped its use.
From his early youth, Save was impressed with Gandhi’s saying, “Knowledge only forms through engaged personal experience.” (Before that, one has – at best – untested information!) This insight spurred him to conduct all manners of experiments in farming! Gandhi and Vinoba Bhave were two men he admired.
While Bhaskar Save gets very good yields from his two acres of organically cultivated field crops like rice, wheat, pulses and vegetables (in rotation), he has made outstanding pioneering contribution in natural orchard development with the simultaneous, mixed planting of alpa-jeevi (short lifespan), madhya-jeevi (medium lifespan), and deergha-jeevi (long lifespan) crops to rapidly regenerate the organic life of the soil, increase irrigation efficiency, and provide continuity of food yield right from the first few months until the long lifespan fruit trees begin to yield abundantly.
Save’s ‘platform and trench’ system (for irrigated fruit trees like banana, chikoo and coconut) enables a great saving in water, while the spongy soil under the canopy of the mature trees absorbs a huge amount of rainwater every monsoon to recharge the underlying aquifers. [See also ‘Water-efficient Trench Irrigation for Horticulture’ (on Bhaskar Save), published in ‘Good Practices & Innovative Experiences in the South’, Volume 2, 2001, co-published by UNDP, TWN & Zed Books.]
The extremely low-cost method of farming demonstrated by Bhaskar Save holds great promise for the livelihoods of millions at large. Till date, several dozen of articles have been written (in India and abroad) on Bhaskar Save and his way of natural farming – in English, Marathi, Gujarati, Hindi, Telugu, Malyalam, etc. Several TV channels have made and broadcast short films on him; and half a dozen or more awards have been conferred on him. A full-length book on Bhaskar Save and his way of farming, titled ‘The Vision of Natural Farming’ by Bharat Mansata will soon be published by Earthcare Books.
Kalpavruksha is open to visitors every Saturday, from 2 pm to 4.30 pm. Many thousands have visited over the years. Several hundreds have paid glowing tributes in the Visitors’ Opinion Book that runs into several volumes.
[Address: Bhaskar Save, Kalpavruksha, Coastal Highway, near village Dehri (southernmost coastal Gujarat), via Umergam, Dist Valsad, Gujarat – 396 170. Phone: 0260 – 2563866 & 2562126]