Rice Harvest.

This photograph is that of a very close family friend who is among the very few still farming in my native district and close to the farm house where my father had lived post his retirement. Most of his contemporaries as well as mine, have moved out to cities in pursuit of other more remunerative and less strenuous / risky occupations. But this intrepid man has literally ploughed on and has been quite successful.

The machine at the back is a Paddy Harvester. I have never seen one before. What I remember of harvesting of paddy is of women manually harvesting in many parts of our country.
Yes, mostly handled by women and I in fact don’t remember seeing men harvesting ever.

My friend is wearing what we call a Veshti in Tamil Nadu. My readers will be more familiar with dhoti.

The advantage of wearing veshti is that it can be folded up and tied around the waist to provide the ease comparable to wearing shorts over trousers. This method is called wearing it half-mast in jest!

He and his supervisor are wearing turbans on their heads.  These are actually towels cast over their shoulders when indoors but used as turbans when out in the sun.  It is a multipurpose piece of apparel that comes very handy in hot climates.

There are times that I wish I could be like my friend in our rural parts.  Those times however are very rare now that I am at the twilight of my life and can not be as active as one needs to be in those parts to just survive!

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19 Responses to Rice Harvest.

  1. tammy j says:

    all I can think of is the back breaking labor of the women!
    and never a man doing it?
    and no one ever questions it? WOW.
    I would soon be imprisoned for my opinions!!! 😀
    tammy j recently posted..moving on old bean

    • Babu says:

      Very nicely presented.
      Now a days women workers are used only to transplant paddy seedlings.I had even avoided work force for that and using mechanical paddy transplanter. I shall send you some photos.

    • Tammy, mechanisation for rice farming has been a recent development. For thousands of years, all rice growing nations have depended on manual labour for this and it is only now that labour had become expensive that mechanisation has come into play. Yes, men too are employed but I chose the picture for the colourful effect.

  2. That was my first reaction too. Thank goodness for the Paddy Harvester!
    Cheerful Monk recently posted..So Much for Stress-Hardiness

  3. That looks like back-breaking work to me. I don’t think I’d have the stamina for it.
    Secret Agent Woman recently posted..Do you ever feel like there is so much going on that posting about daily life seems trivial?

    • Nor I. These ladies however have been doing it from very young age and are a sturdy lot. In any case, they are now being rapidly replaced by mechanical methods as alternate occupations are available in a growing economy for our women.

  4. Not only are the women doing back breaking physical work, they are doing it while encumbered by their clothing (heavy fabrics, long skirts they have to navigate around). And where are their hats, to protect them from the sun? Don’t get me started…

  5. Max Coutinho says:

    Hi Rummy,

    I have never witnessed a rice harvest event myself. I am ashamed to admit that I am too urban, unfortunately. But one day, I intend to move to the country and learn more about how our food is grown and harvested. Until then, I will have to remain ignorant.

    I believe Women (with capital W) are excellent professionals in most of the things they decide to do. I don’t know, perhaps it’s their energy? Complex yet fascinating beings.

    Cheers

  6. shackman says:

    I have never seen rice harvested though I have seen many other grains done – rice harvest to me was simply going to a grocery store and selecting a bag of the desired type. I typically prefer what is called popcorn rice – good stuff and it does remind me of popcorn (the taste).

    As to the woman issue – I take pride in the fact that Lynn often said to people I was the least chauvanistic man she had ever met. I did make two cross-country moves for her job (well – we did) And as the ladies pointed out, women typically do substantial labor-intensive jobs in less developed societies – at least in the case of your friend he has modernized the operation.
    shackman recently posted..Cause and Effect LBC 09/15/2017 cause

    • Women agricultural workers were and are a major component of all agricultural operations except where mechanisation has taken place. You will see that even transplanting which is even more strenuous is also now being done by a machine.

  7. Wisewebwoman says:

    Wow, those poor women, touches my my heart how they had to work and more than likely for a pittance to feed their families.

    I wonder what the do today with machines taking their jobs?

    XO
    WWW
    Wisewebwoman recently posted..Prequel

    • Machines have had to be developed because of labour shortage. Women now find much more lucrative opportunities in semi-urban and urban areas in India. Part of the progress/development process. In India, you will find them in all sectors not only in the agricultural one. Multi-income households are very common now.

  8. I would imagine that those women end up with very painful back conditions in old age – that’s if they reach retirement age at all…

    But as we non-rice growing countries observe, and for that matter urban area in such growing places – the rice needs to be harvested, sold on for the consumer…

    And as you noted – the survival rate of families – means that everyone has to share that burden…just seems that more machinery should be available to save those women from the conditions we see here…

    • Far from it Cathy. At least all the old ladies that I have met in our rural parts and even urban areas employed in hard manual labour do not seem to develop any of the ailments that chair bound working women do. With increasing development, our rural women have been finding alternative sources and that is among the most important causes for the rapid mechanisation here.

  9. Tikno says:

    That is a similar sight and can be found in rural areas in Indonesia.
    But that sight will slowly disappear by agricultural technology. A missed memories of naturally beautiful scene by our generation.

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