Thiruvananthapuram: A 55-year-old teacher turned farmer from Kerala is winning praise for his unique Japanese based paddy art by planting different coloured rice varieties in huge fields, IANS reported.
Paddy art is an art form originating in Japan where people plant rice of various types and colours to create images in a paddy field.
Johnson Olippuram who was an English teacher in Andhra Pradesh and Uttarakhand for 13 long years decided to quit teaching one day and turn to his real calling – farming – in his home state.
In an attempt to promote farming, especially organic farming, among the youth, he has created a huge symbolic image of a lighted lamp ('dia') in his paddy field by planting various varieties of paddy of different colours.
Johnson took to farming like a fish to water and his resilience and never-say-die attitude even during the Covid-19 pandemic helped him excel in this field.
He has been preserving various rice varieties and has 28 varieties in his kitty.
"I created the lighted lamp in my paddy farm using four multi-hued varieties of rice. This was a symbolic move to prove that the farmers have not given up hope and that we will overcome the Covid challenges too," IANS quoted Johnson as saying.
The teacher-turned-farmer had created a lamp art in his paddy field spread across 20 cents. He has also created an Ashoka Chakra on the base of the dia (lamp).
The four varieties that are used for the paddy art include Nassarbath from Maharashtra, which gives coffee brown leaves for the flame, and the Kalabath variety that has black leaves and grains for the inner core of the flame. He also used the Clero rice variety, which has a golden brown colour, and Kakhishala with dark coloured grains. The last variety, according to him, is from Odisha.
Johnson has also grown 19 other traditional rice varieties in the same field.
"Paddy art is my way of communicating to the masses as to what I am doing. Once people see this art, curiosity arises and they enquire about me and my farm," the teacher-turned-farmer told IANS.
"The turning point of my farming carrier was when I came across Bolan Peruman, the tribal head of a small community in Wayanad. He shared his rich farming experience with me, which helped me know about the various varieties of rice and the medicinal value of these items," he said.
As far as paddy art is concerned, Johnson has been dabbling into it for the past six years and each year he comes up with different art. He had even tried a floral design during the Onam season - the harvest festival of Kerala.