With 147 incredible innovations, this man is the king of innovation
GUWAHATI : Uddhab Bharali was born and brought up in Lakhimpur in a family that was is financial doldrums. He was a bright student since his early days, but that hardly helped. He could not complete his studies due to financial constraints.
His family was burdened with debt and continuing with education was not something that was even an option. His early life was basically about poverty-stricken days and hungry nights; he hardly has any good memories of his childhood. But then, it was those hard days that actually made him the colossus that he is today.
This person has always been in love with mathematics and science. He was promoted to the 3rd standard from 1st (double promotion), and when he appeared for the Grade 6 examination, he was directly promoted to Grade 8.
From a very young age, Uddhab was made to stand outside the classroom because he asked difficult questions to the teacher. That however never deterred his curiosity to learn new things. Today, from machines to help the physically challenged to the very popular pomegranate deseeding machine, Uddhab Bharali has 147 innovations to his name.
Burdened by debt, Uddhab took up a project with a polythene making company where he invented a polythene making machine to help the tea garden workers. The machine was invented at a subsidized cost of Rs 67,000. This was his first project that went a long way towards paying off his debts.
Talking about his journey, the innovator said, “People often begin their success stories from zero, but mine was not the same. My journey started with minus Rs 18 lakhs. That was the amount of debt that my family had to clear. It was during those hard days only that I got the chance to work for the polythene making company.”
This innovation opened new floodgates of opportunities for him.
“My life has been a very difficult one. I would not have been capable of anything, if I’d have sat and complained. I kept grabbing new opportunities in life giving the best of the knowledge I had. Hard times come to all people. What matters is how you deal with it,” Uddhab Bharali
The innovator invented 24 machines between the years 1990 and 2005.
In 2006, Uddhab invented a pomegranate seed peeling machine which became one of his most popular innovations. The machine was designed to separate the outer skin from the thinner membrane without any damage to the seed. The machine can de-seed approximately 55 kgs of pomegranates in an hour. This machine actually helped him in building his identity as an innovator.
The machine made news across the globe in mere days. Soon, orders for the deseeding machine came pouring from US, Japan and Turkey.
In addition to this machine, the innovator has invented machines that could peel garlic, cut tobacco leaf, strip canes, polish brass utensils, peel passion fruit seeds and juice etc. His innovation “Areca Nut Peeler” can peel 100-120 nuts per minute. Then there is the “Cassava Peeler” - an electronic gadget that can process up to 5 kgs of cassava per minute. All his inventions are made to make life and living easier for the common people.
Another major innovation that won him recognition and fame is a mini tea plant for green tea. The plant that is designed to help tea workers consumes very little electricity and has grown to be a big hit already.
His rice planting machine is yet another marvel. The low cost machine is designed in a manner that doubles the rice yield to boost the economy of the state of Assam. “Conventional rice cultivation yields 10 muna or 40 kgs of rice from one bigha (14,400 sq ft) of land. With my paddy seeding machine the yield will be double,” Uddhab said.
The practice of preparing the paddy seed bed, its maintenance and transplanting is cumbersome, and demands intensive labour. The machine designed by Uddhab will plant the encased paddy seeds into the soil at an exact gap of 10 inches thereby removing the transplantation process.
According to Uddhab Bharali, Assam is a state which is rich in natural resources. But the fact thatn people are in the race to buy materialistic stuff saddens him. “Our state has everything that can make the young generation innovative. He said, “For example, instead of buying rakhis from shops during Raksha Bandhan, why doesn’t the generation try to make one? With bamboos available in abundance it’s just so easy to make one!”
Several people relate him to the character of Ranchodas Shyamaldas Chanchad played by Aamir Khan in the movie “3 Idiots.” He is one to believe in the power of learning and not scoring marks. He holds that everyone is capable of creating wonders but that will only happen if we begin working on them.
He is a recipient of President’s Grassroots Innovation Award, 2009. In 2007, he got Shristi Samman Award. He is the winner of engineering design contest organized by NASA Tech “Create the Future Design Contest” for the year 2012 and 2013. He is also the recipient of Rashtriya Ekta Samman in 2013. He was one of the speakers in TEDx ISM, Dhanbad held in October 2014.