The old man and his turmeric

Chuchuyimpang | March 7 : Retirement from government does not mean retirement from life. So when seventy one year old Takatemjen Jamir retired from as a government teacher in the year 1995, it was the starting of his life to do what he likes to do most – farming. But he has a purpose in his farming.
Last February he and his wife decided to plant some turmeric saplings in one corner of his tea estate. He planted ten ‘bags’ of the saplings in the less than half an acre of free land in his estate. Now he is harvesting about three tons of turmeric ready to be sold in the market.
But what is interesting is not the rich harvest, but the words of the old man who said that he decided to plant the turmeric plants for experimentation only and thereby show a lesson the youths that perhaps turmeric cultivation could bring rich dividends. “We are old folks, and it does not matter to us whether we get loss or profit out of the harvested turmeric. We just wanted to experiment and with the feeling that the younger youths would learn something from our action,” said the retired teacher. He disclosed that he got the saplings for plantation from the ‘Soil Department’. The harvested turmeric will be sold to a merchant at Assam for Rs 5 per kilo, he disclosed.
Talking about turmeric cultivation, Takatemjen Jamir said, unlike ginger cultivation, turmeric cultivation is quite simple. One need not have to clear the turmeric cultivated area after a few months, since the thick leaves from the turmeric plants covers the area leaving no room for weeds to grow. “This (turmeric) is one plant which one can grow without having to spend too much labour in clearing the cultivated area,” said the retired teachers with a smile.
Taking a lesson from his own life, Takatemjen Jamir asserted that if the Nagas worked hard, then there is no way for the Nagas to be not self-sufficient.
He pointed out that the lands are fertile and the climatic condition are favourable for growing any kind of crops, which can make any enterprising farmer to lead a comfortable through his own labour.  He cited an example of how he and wife earned Rs 29,450 in the year 2010 by cultivating mustard leaves and selling them in the market. “We just have to work hard with perseverance and dedication then even farming can be a nice employment option for the Naga youths,” he maintained while saying that he and his wife have to walk six kilometers everyday from the village to their tea estate.
While his turmeric experiments might not have brought him much profit as compared to his tea estate or mustard cultivation, the message his gives out is something worth contemplating – can’t farming be an employment option for the Naga youths?