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Category LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD(POSTHUMOUS)
 
Title A valiant effort to know and delve into the unknown
 
Details Parshottambhai began his association with SRISTI in 1998 when he worked to finalise the second Shodhyatra route from Amirgadh to Tundia (Gujarat). He continued to work in planning the Shodhyatra route till the 35th Shodhyatra conducted at Tripura in the year 2015. He would walk from one village to another, trying to estimate the distance between two villages, ascertain the Gram Sabha and infrastructural facilities in each village, think of ways to reach the maximum number of people in the shortest time and collecting as well as disseminating knowledge. He kept these principles and objectives in mind while planning the Shodhyatra routes. Parshottambhai would meet the locals and gather information about examples of local creative practices and its implementation in agriculture, animal husbandry, livestock, traditional medicine. He met many innovative people and documented their original ideas so that they could be felicitated during the Shodhyatra and also mobilise the local youth who would help us in planning logistics and post shodhyatra followup. There were many such instances where his presence of mind saved the day for the Shodhyatris. He had an uncanny ability to think on his feet. Despite meticulous planning, it is not very uncommon to have last minute changes and surprises in a Shodhyatra. Many Shodhyatris would recall the Chattisgarh Shodhyatra. This was a walk in the region marred by years of conflict and insurgency. Near Bastar region, Parshottambhai, encountered a young Naxalite in the dense forest during the Shodhyatra who took him to a valley and made all sorts of enquiries. A brave and composed Parshottambhai unflinchingly answered all his questions and conveyed the yatra’s objectives to the rebel. The youth was convinced and was so impressed by Parshottambhai and his work that throughout the Shodhyatra there were no problems from the rebels. Parshottambhai’s social capital With tears in her eyes, Yashodaben Srirambhai Chaudhary, a herbal practitioner from Vikarya village, Dang district narrated an incident related to her association with Parshottambhai. While reevaluating a practice in Vikarya, he visited Yashodaben at her home. At that time, she confided in him that she did not have enough money to treat her husband who had suddenly fallen ill. Parshottambhai immediately gave her Rs 1000 from the money granted to him for his field work. With time, Yashodaben returned the money and he formed a deep and lasting bond with this tribal family. Whenever he visited Dang, this family would be eager to help in SRISTI’s work. “I have experienced first-hand is bonding with this Adivasi family during my visit to Dangs,” recalls Hemaben. He made many friends during his field research. They looked up to him for advice and mediation even in domestic matters. Kodarji Kaluji Paghi and his family were shocked when they heard the news of Parshottambhai’s sudden demise. Kodarji from Lunawada Taluka in Panchmahal would regularly get in touch with him to provide mentorship to his grandson. He was to meet Kodarji at Kolwan after his field visit to Faizabad. Unfortunately, he could never visit him as he started showing signs of severe ailment right after his visit to Faizabad. A meticulous researcher He has played an pivotal role in re-evaluation of practices brought by SRISTI’s field workers and compiling the detailed practices. He effortlessly conducted the important task of training the field workers of SRISTI and assisting other members of the National Innovation Foundation in their tasks. His way of approaching a task with self driven efforts and his methodology of work was unique. He had helped in doctoral theses of many SRISTI team members. Parshottambhai’s contribution to the Sattvik -Traditional Food Festival In Sattvik, Parshottambhai did well to bring forward the traditional food from Panchmahal and Dahod. The first Sattvik Traditional Food Festival was organized in 2004. In this festival, the picture of villagers from Dhabudi and Sarjumi villages with their Bavta laddoo was published in the front page of a newspaper. Today Sattvik is one of the most awaited and well attended festivals in Ahmedabad.A key aide of the National Innovation Foundation Parshottambhai has played an important role in NIF’s Biennial National Awards for Grassroots Innovations and Outstanding Traditional Knowledge. He would patiently explain the importance of the awards to the family members of the innovators and dutifully bear the responsibility of ensuring they reach their homes safely after the festival. Many of these innovators are reluctant to travel always far. Without his persuasion many of these innovators would have never reached New Delhi. He has also played a significant role in bringing such innovators to the SRISTI Samman awards stage. The eternal journey SRISTI and Honey Bee Network are waiting his return from this journey as if he would return from one of his several journeys!He was an outstanding researcher and purveyor of social unmet needs and innovations. He may not be with us in person but his inspirational work and fond memories will continue to live in our hearts forever.
 
Volume No. Honey Bee 28(1) 13-14, 2017

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