‘Ama Gaon Dhinkisala’ - Reviving a Lost Knowledge
One of the most incredible aspects of our human stories is
‘Agriculture’. 10000 years back when the world climate became
warmer, parts of our planet turned into an oasis filled with wild
plants, some of which were edible. Agriculture was introduced
as a new way of life that not only settled our ancestors from
wandering place to place but also spurt a series of creativities.
Odisha, an eastern coastal state of India witnessed this
transformation 4000 years ago. From then on the farming of
wild and domestic varieties of rice has become an essential
part of Odia culture and heritage.
Researches argue that the region of Koraput Plateau was one
of the areas for the origin of rice. Even today hundreds of
varieties of indigenous rice are cultivated and harvested in the
mountains of the Eastern Ghats. For removing the husks, a
traditional pounding or grinding device made out of wood called
‘Dhinki’ is used. It is believed that Dhinki originated in the
mountains was brought to the coastal area, where it survived
until recently. However, with the introduction of rice mills, the
practice of pounding in a traditional Dhinki lost its importance.
Eventually, the rural folk forgot the knowledge.
Today we are used to polished rice as it looks attractive and is easier to cook. But at the same time, the polished rice lacks nutritional value when compared with the rice processed in a traditional ‘Dhinki’. Regular consumption of polished rice has also adverse health effects. There is now a realization about the revival of the old practice of ‘Dhinki’ and getting back to our roots.
Indian Institute of Education & Care (IIEC), a 25 year old organization of excellence in collaboration with ‘Indian Association of Nebraska’ and ‘The Odia Society of the Americas’ has initiated a unique initiative called ‘Ama Gaon Dhinkisala’ at village Bhairapur in Balipatna Block on the outskirt of Bhubaneswar City. The endeavour not only aims to bring back the traditional practice but also empower local women. This initiative is a part of the project, i.e, ‘Strengthening Rural Communities for Sustainable Livelihoods’ funded by the Odia enthusiasts and donors from USA.