Ottapalam: When people of his age are busy swiping their cell phone screens, 21-year-old Shahenshah is busy stacking rice harvested from his ancestral paddy field.
A final-year B.Com student of MES College in Cherpulassery, Shahenshah started farming on the barren land with encouragement from Anagadi agriculture officer V Sriram. Rice cultivation was resumed six years ago on the 2.19 acre unproductive land when rampant filling up of paddy fields and other unhealthy practices are rife across the state.
The childhood memories of the Panamanna-native revolve around his father Hussein and uncle sweating it out in the fields here in Palakkad district. Shahenshah learned some of the basics of farming from his uncle. Earlier, his native place was known as ‘Ponnadi’ meaning ‘land of gold harvest’.
Sriram had assured the family of government’s incentives for starting farming on barren land. The Krishi Bhavan chipped in with their efforts to make the land cultivable. Panchayat member P Prameela also supported the venture.
Panchayat president N R Renjith inaugurated the farming activities by sowing ‘Shreyas’ seeds, a new variety of paddy seeds. Shahenshah expects two crops next year.