Kerala

Priests await blessings from earth too

Members of Sreedhareeyam, a collective of temple priests, along with officials of the Agriculture Department and the Kanjikuzhy grama panchayat, sowing paddy seeds on a field.

Members of Sreedhareeyam, a collective of temple priests, along with officials of the Agriculture Department and the Kanjikuzhy grama panchayat, sowing paddy seeds on a field. | Photo Credit: HANDOUT

They are the ones closer both to God and nature. A group of 16 temple priests from in and around Kanjikuzhy in Alappuzha is proving that farmer togs too suit them. The priests have recently joined the 'Njangalum Krishiyilek' campaign of the Agriculture Department by launching paddy cultivation on four acres of land taken on lease at Karikuzhi paddy polder.

“It is always great to be engaged in agriculture. Connecting with nature improves our well-being and generates a sense of belonging. We have completed the sowing and are looking forward to immersing ourselves in paddy farming in the coming weeks,” says Bineesh Mohan, a member of the group.

160 kg of seeds for free

The priests-cum-farmers who juggle between religious duties and agriculture say they do both without much hassle. The farming is being done under the aegis of Sreedhareeyam, a collective of temple priests with the support of the Agriculture Department and Kanjikuzhy grama panchayat. The department has provided the group with 160 kg of 'virippu' and 'mundakan' seeds for free.

"It is great to see people from different walks of life doing farming. The department is providing all possible help to the priests who have shown a great interest in paddy cultivation. Apart from the seeds, they will also be given subsidy," says Suresh V.T., agriculture assistant, Krishi Bhavan, Kanjikuzhy.

Earlier experience

It is not the first time the priests have done collective farming. Their first tryst with agriculture was in 2020 after the pandemic disrupted everyday life. Back then, 11 members of the group joined hands to cultivate paddy and green gram in Kanjikuzhy. By doing so they revived a three-acre upland rice field that had been lying idle for 10 years.

“We turned to agriculture after COVID-19 suspended religious activities and prevented devotees from coming to temples. Though we were inexperienced, it turned out to be a good experience. We got a good yield and decided to continue farming even after the religious activities resumed. After Cyclone Tauktae hampered the process last year, we saw another opportunity this year and decided to try our luck again,” says Mr. Mohan who is also the secretary of Sreedhareeyam.

Though the rain has affected the farming activities this time too, both the priests and agriculture officials hope the paddy cultivation would eventually turn up to be a big success.


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Printable version | Jun 26, 2022 7:05:06 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/priests-await-blessings-from-earth-too/article65439911.ece