Jun - 2019

Dear nature lovers,
Greetings from oikos !
There have been various traditional tools and mechanisms to irrigate agricultural fields after monsoon, like mote (मोट) or pay rahat (पाय रहाट).
Mote is a system where water is lifted up with the help of a pair of bullocks. This device consists of a bucket or a leather bag, a rope and a pulley. Two ropes are tied to the two ends of the bag which passes over a two pulleys and finally fixed to the yoke of bullocks. This arrangement makes the bag stay in ‘U’ shape. When bullocks walk on the slope, the bag is lifted up. When bag comes to the top of the well, lower end is stretched straight and it gets emptied into the canal flowing into the field.
Looking at the availability of water in a given area, people had established very elaborate system of irrigation. The best known is phad system (फड). In this system water would get stored in the river behind a bund and then a system of main canal and its distributaries would supply water to each and every field within different parts of the phad system. This was a polyculture system so each part would have different crops from cash crops to diverse food crops depending upon water availability & requirement of each crop. Rotation of crops within different parts of phad, too would be observed to retain fertility of soil. There used to be supervisors to monitor equal distribution of water.
Overall this system is thought from a holistic perspective to maintain sustainability. But it started failing over the years due to multiple reasons - Firstly rivers stopped retaining water perennially, big dams were preferred, monoculture with cash crop was preferred over polyculture system. Add to this, land division within families, and further due to lack of social unity, traditional systems started failing.
Nevertheless, the holistic thought behind such systems can’t be ignored.
Ketaki & Manasi
With Team oikos !
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