Muthu Murugan

#Achhakaam : Story Of Coimbatore Farmer Who Lives In Harmony With Birds

Updated: Sep 19,2020,05:55 PM IST Unnati Khandelwal

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Coimbatore (TamilNadu) :  Muthu Murugan, who's an old organic farmer but young by heart lives in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, who's fond of birds, expresses his affection by allotting half an acre of his land for exclusively cultivating pearl millets and sorghum crop just to feed his feathery friends, birds. 

62-year old farmer, Murugan, strolls across his farm as the sun goes down at Thondamuthur, Coimbatire. “He is a regular. He does not run away at my sight,” he said, spotting a beautiful peacock at a distance. For years; four decades to be precise, his walk at the fall of dusk has been a part of Mr Muthu's routine. The farmer talked about his best place as he said, “For me, this is the best place on the planet. I live in harmony with the animals and insects here". He indeed is so humble.

Amid Coronavirus lockdown in India, he cultivated a part of his land with pearl millets and sorghum crops just so birds can feed on it. He shared that seeds were sowed in the month of April and took 3 months for plants to yield. Birds welcome themselves and have been coming in large numbers. “Last week I saw a flock of Munias. They came in hundreds. Sadly, I could not document that moment,” he said.
Talk about having guests daily, farmer Muthu has spotted pigeons, crows, bats, sparrows, peacocks, parakeets, kingfishers, and squirrels at the millet field, also justifying ' More the Merrier' idiom perfectly.

Arrangements at it's best, as he has also, very thoughtfully, arranged birdbath as his guests may get thirsty while enjoying the feast. “Many farmers think of birds as a menace. But, I don’t see a problem with sharing what I produce with them.” He further added, “I don’t disturb them and watch from a distance. Most of the birds come in early mornings and late evenings.

Varun Alagar Surendran, a Wildlife cinematographer, visited his farm to capture photographs of the birds. He said, “I could not spot the birds on my first visit. I came back the next day and photographed Ashy prinia, Scaly-breasted munia and White-rumped munia.”Farmer Muthu Murugan has been cultivating pulses and vegetables from a young age. “I have always cultivated them along the boundaries of my farm. But this is the first time that I have exclusively reserved a patch of my land for it". He also grows beans, tomatoes, bitter gourd, ladies’ fingers, and fodder for his cattle on the rest of his property.

Being very thoughtful and considerate, he shared, “With farmers switching to cash crops and buildings taking up agricultural land, birds are not able to find food. This has reduced the bird count in our city and I want to bring them back". He puts away chemical pesticides and instead uses cow dung as manure for millets and rainwater for irrigation, “It alters the food chain of the locality as it kills the worms and other insects, that are food for birds and small animals", he expressed.

Living with as well as appreciating nature, Muthu’s farm is surrounded by trees that he has planted for the birds to nest. “Some of those trees grew from seeds dropped by birds. These are all small ways of giving back to Nature.” Farmer from the coastal state plans to continue allocating portions of his land for birds in the future. He said, “I hope this will be an inspiration to others. It is heart-warming to hear them chirp.”

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