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The man who invented 'Bullet Santi'

Last updated on: August 18, 2010 20:03 IST

The man who invented 'Bullet Santi'

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Manu A B in Mumbai

Mansukhbhai Jagani is not an educated man. He hails from a family of poor farmers in Mota Devaliya village in Amreli district, Gujarat. But what makes him remarkable is that he has won patents for his innovation in India and the United States.

Mansukhbhai's life was rife with problems. The family's financial condition did not allow him to study. He dropped out of primary school and started helping his father in farming. However, Mansukhbhai always had a positive approach towards life.

He made sure these problems did not affect him. Instead he focussed on converting these problems into big opportunities. "I always wanted to be an innovator and develop things that never existed," says Mansukhbhai.

The farmers in his village were going through a terrible crisis. A severe drought had crippled them. Farmers were forced to give up farming due to water shortage and death of bullocks, which were used to till the land. They could not afford to buy tractors either.

It was then that Mansukhbhai started working on developing a device that could solve the problems of thousands of farmers in the region.

You can send an e-mail to Mansukhbhai, e-mail at info@nifindia.org ; Mobile number: 9925447400

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Photographs, courtesy: National Innovation Foundation


Image: Mansukhbhai Jagani with the Bullet Santi.

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The early years

After working for a while as a farm labourer, he wanted to try his luck in the diamond industry. He joined a diamond factory in Surat but later gave up as it was not what really excited him.

"I was in a dilemma on whether to continue with agriculture or open my own workshop. Finally, I decided to start a workshop on my own. I also continued to do farming," he says.

A small repairing and fabrication unit was just the beginning. Passionate about mechanics, he turned his ideas into cost-effective equipment to help farmers who needed handy tools to earn a better livelihood.

Since the last two decades, he has been offering a range of services like repairing diesel engines and farm implements, besides manufacturing various farm equipments.

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Image: Bullet Santi.

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The turning point

After 4-5 years of experiments, Mansukhbhai developed an attachment for a motorbike -- a multi-purpose tool bar -- in 1994. This could be attached to any 325cc motorcycle by replacing the rear wheel with an assembly unit.

The 'super plough' called Bullet Santi (a cultivator that pulverizes or smoothens the soil is locally called as santi), can carry out various farming activities like furrow opening, sowing, inter-culturing and spraying operations.

"The farmers have immensely benefited from Bullet Santi. This innovation helped them to increase productivity as they did not had to worry about the labour cost or bullocks to plough the land," says Mansukhbhai.

Bullet Santi, which won a patent in India and the US, has been a blessing for hundreds of farmers in India. Yet, no company has expressed an interest to develop this device on a large scale.

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Image: Bullet Santi.

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The man who invented 'Bullet Santi'

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Bullet Santi

Santi, the cost-effective plough, is an ideal device for farming. It can plough one acre (0.4 hectares) of land in less than half an hour, using just two litres of diesel.

Santi can de-weed in a typical field for just Rs 8 per hectare. This device considerably reduces costs for farmers, who cannot afford to buy tractors.

The best part about the Santi is that the bike can be used for travelling once the field work is over. It takes about half an hour for this transition. The Santi costs about Rs 38,000.

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Image: Mansukhbhai's invention.

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The man who invented 'Bullet Santi'

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The innovation workshop

From a small rented place, today Mansukhbhai owns a big workshop. "My workshop is doing well. Recently, the Grassroots Innovation Augmentation Network and the National Innovtaion Foundation helped me with a grant to expand the workshop and purchase more equipment. However, the lack of skilled labour is. adversely affecting my business," he says.

Besides, selling equipment, Mansukhbhai also helps farmers in repairing and maintaining their existing farm products in a good condition. He has also developed several other equipments which have turned out to farmers' best friends.

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Image: Mansukhbhai Jagani.

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The man who invented 'Bullet Santi'

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Farmers' saviour

Mansukhbhai developed an efficient and affordable sprayer that can be mounted on a bicycle. This sprayer is easier to operate, as its height is adjustable.

Unlike other sprayers, this gives farmers greater flexibility while using it for different types of crops. The sprayer works well as it needs less space to move compared to sprayers on tractors. It can considerably reduce costs as it takes just 45 minutes to cover an acre of land.

The cycle, just like the Bullet Santi, can be dismantled to be used as a bicycle when it is not used in the farm. The sprayer costs Rs 2,200 (excluding the bicycle).

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Image: Sprayer on a cycle.

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The man who invented 'Bullet Santi'

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The appreciation

Mansukhbhai has also developed a seed-cum fertiliser dibbler. This device makes sowing more efficient, faster and cheaper than the existing options.

 "I have won the appreciation of all people. This has given me a lot of motivation and enthusiasm to work further. Bullet Santi gave me a new business, which has helped me earn well," says Mansukhbhai, who has sold 400 units of Santi.

Jagani's Santi also caught the attention of many people at the Indian Science Congress at Pune, besides being showcased at an exhibition in South Africa.  "I was quite excited about wining the patents, especially when I saw the US patent with its printed red colour ribbon," he says.

He considers the fame and appreciation he has got his biggest gifts.  "My children are very happy whenever I am felicitated. My daughter is quite creative and wins awards in various drawing/painting competitions," says a happy Mansukhbhai.

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Image: Seed-cum fertiliser dibbler.

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For a person who had hardly travelled anywhere, a trip to South Africa was an unforgettable experience for Mansukhbhai.

"I thoroughly enjoyed my first trip abroad. I observed the style of agriculture was a bit primitive in African countries. There is a lot that African countries can learn from our work. There is a lot of scope for improvement. The people were very happy to know that farmers from India had come to interact with them," he says.

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Image: Bullet Santi.

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Mansukhbhai is today a real life hero in his village. People from far flung villages come to his workshop. While helping them, his income has improved as well.

Before he started the workshop, his income was quite erratic. On an average, his income annual was about Rs 30,000. Today he earns Rs 10,000-12,000 per month, on an average. This varies depending on the work. While some months fetch him good business, the net income is quite low during the off season.

"The best moment of my life was receiving an award from President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, while he was the President. This was followed by a lot of felicitations at the state/local level by different government functionaries.

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Image: Bullet Santi.

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Any regrets on giving up education?

I don't regret it much. But sometimes I feel if I had learnt English, I would have been able to connect with a lot of people.

His advice to innovators?

Don't try to do incremental innovations, develop something entirely new on your own.

Any future plans?

"I am working on a machine that can help draw water easily from deep wells. There are a few ideas on which I am working right now. It is too early to comment on them," he says.


Image: Bullet Santi.

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