Maheswar Khillar

Shri Maheswar Khillar is a retired officer of Odisha administration. His efforts in the fields of organic farming are praiseworthy. He is an inspiration for many people. He has made a rooftop garden where he has plants bearing various fruits and flowers. Also, he has been successful in establishment of an organic farm at Saheed Nagar for the better idea of people. This farm has got all knowledge regarding organic farming and the organic ingredients like manure, baby plants etc. which are available in affordable price. Shri Khillar as the managing trustee of the Kitchen Gardener's association in Bhubaneswar has been explaining the idea of preparing organic farming, rooftop gardens, manure from vegetable skins etc. Every year on the last Sunday of August, this Association celebrates the World Kitchen Gardener's Day.

Maheswar Khillar

Describe something about yourself.
My name is Maheswar Khillar. I am a retired officer of the cooperative department. Due to lack of space, I have made a rooftop garden where I grow various pesticide free organic vegetables. I have been spreading ideas regarding rooftop gardens and growth of organic vegetables in village and town levels.

What do you mean by organic farming?
The farming where organic biodegradable materials are used which are converted to manure by the help of insects, animals and plants is called organic farming.

How did the idea of rooftop garden come to your mind?
It is very difficult to get fresh, tasty and organic vegetables these days. The terrace is easily available. I can get fertilizer and medicines for plants from my kitchen. My family members are ready to help and care. It is not only a method of organic farming but also a way of entertainment.

What vegetables can you grow there?
Seasonal fruits, vegetables, medicinal plants and greens can be planted as per your necessities and the capacity of the terrace.

What is the alternative for insecticides in organic farming?
A lot of insects are the friends of plants. So instead of killing the insects, they should be controlled. The insects have feelings for strong smell. Therefore, neem or Karanja oil can be used. Some strong-smelling leaf juices can also be used.

What is the easiest way of making a garden in a small place and what is the amount of investment to be made for it?
Every direction around the place should be taken share of and one should know one’s necessities. The water should easily be removed from the terrace, the sun rays should be appropriately falling on the plants, proper aeration should be there. The size of pots is determined from the size of roots. The pots should be arranged such that all of them get good sunlight. To increase soil fertility, dried and fallen leaves, vegetable skins and cow dung manure are necessary.
There is no proper amount for investment. You can use some discarded containers, cartons, small bags. The containers should be kept separated from the boundary wall of the terrace. There are several containers for sale these days.

Which is your favourite Odia dish, Odia song and Odia movie and why?
I love eating Dalma and parboiled vegetables. I listen to devotional songs. I don't watch movies.

Tell us something about your childhood memories.
I remember taking cattles for grazing to fields during holidays. We used to play games like bagudi khela, get wet in rains, eat Kiya, kenda and kesura. We also used to sing songs.

Which are the tourist destinations in Odisha you have visited? Share some memories related to it.
I have visited Gonasika in Keonjhar, Deojhar in Phulbani, Deomali in Koraput. I love to spend time in the lap of nature.

Have you ever got any inspiration from any Odia personality? If yes, why?
Acharya Harihar Das. When I was in school, he had put his hand on my head and blessed me. His attractive personality inspired me to know more about the Panchsakha of Satyabadi. His life story has excited me a lot.

Which is your favourite Odia book?
Life stories of Panchsakha.

What is your dream regarding the increase of organic farming?
Amruta Batika: to make the terrace farming more famous the Kitchen Gardener's association have established and exhibition cum research centre of 475'* 28' at Saheed Nagar, Bhubaneswar. A concrete road which was once captured by antisocial and abandoned people is being transformed into a garden. The garden will have organic vegetables. There are various students, tourists and researchers who come from abroad to visit this place. Sometimes training programmes for school students, senior citizens, housewives are also conducted. The organic products of this place are of great demand.
The organic ways of life should be adopted by every person in physical, intellectual and spiritual way. For this, nonviolent farming which is natural atmosphere is necessary. The goods and bads of life are also organic. A lotus also takes birth from mud still it is beautiful and fragrant. When the lotus dies, it returns to mud. Hence the cycle of Lotus and mud, if understood by all, life would be easier.

Other than farming, what else do you keep interest in?
Helping people for their development.

What is your message for the future generations?
They should learn to love themselves and spread love to others.

REFERENCES:Various Sources

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