Along with Nammalvar, his brothers Balakrishnan, an engineer, and Ilangovan, a former MLA, practised organic farming.

Chirping of birds rented the air. Gentle breeze from hundreds of trees blew across the farm. It was the farm maintained by the family of G. Nammalvar (75), organic farming scientist, who passed away on December 30, at Ilankadu, his native village near Thirukattupalli.

It was a hot summer in June 2004, when this reporter visited that place to see Nammalvar along with V.Palaniappan, Adviser to Thiruvaiyaru Knowledge Resource Centre of Dr. M. S. Swaminathan Foundation.

Rays of sun and summer heat could not enter the place as it was a mini woodland with all kinds of trees. Birds were in large numbers and went on chirping.

Nammalvar, with his green head gear and flowing beard, was sitting on a wooden coir mesh cot under a tree.

As he took us through the farm and explained the activities, we understood that Nammalvar not only preached organic farming but also practised it in his family farm.

Along with Nammalvar, his brothers Balakrishnan, an engineer, and Ilangovan, a former MLA, practised organic farming.

Nammalvar showed the variety of trees he and his brothers had planted in the farm.

He showed how the leaves that withered from trees and other biological waste were turned into compost.

He also demonstrated the ‘Pancha Kavyam’ was prepared using five products -- cow's urine, dung and milk, ghee and buttermilk. “Pancha Kavyam can be used as a growth regulator and pesticide repellent for crops,” he said.

It was Nammalvar's padayatra for ‘reviving natural resources and fertility’ (Iyarkai Valam Meetpu Nadaipayanam) in 2004, organised by Centre for Ecology and Research, a voluntary organisation, that made people rally behind him.

The yatra which commenced on June 5, 2004 covered a distance of 550 km in 25 days from Poompuhar to Grand Anicut, passing via 344 villages in Cauvery delta districts.

The padayatra created public awareness of the importance of organic farming, sustainable agriculture and participatory development at Thirukattupalli, Thiruvaiyaru and Orathanadu.

His last campaign for nearly a month from December 1 in Cauvery delta districts was against the proposed methane extraction project.

He was planning to organise a rally at Mannargudi on January 25 to protest against the proposed project.

Hundreds of people, mostly farmers, paid homage to late Nammalvar whose body was kept at Bharath College of Science and Management here.

R.Vaithilingam, State Minister for Housing and Urban Development, paid homage to Nammalvar. The Minister placed a wreath on the body of Nammalvar on behalf of Tamil Nadu Government, said a press release issued here on Tuesday.