“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have“. This excellent quote of Maya Angelou perfectly fits on Padma Shri Dr. Uddhab Kumar Bharali, who is known for more than 161 innovations like pomegranate de-seeder, paddy thresher, cane stripping machine, and low-cost incinerator, and many more.
Uddhab Bharali was born in the Lakhimpur district of Assam on 7-April-1962. His father was a small businessman, and he was brought up in a middle-class family.
As the coming events cast their shadows before, Uddhab’s intelligence can be seen from his schooling days. Due to his extraordinary brain, he was promoted to 3rd class from 1st class and again to 8th class from 6th class. Mathematics was his favourite subject, and he enjoyed it a lot. In his 8th standard, he was able to solve maths problems of 10th and even 12th standards.
After his schooling at 14, he decided to take admission in the Jorhat Engineering college, but he had to drop out of college because he could not afford the fee.
In 1988 when his family was in debt, he decided to start a polyethylene making business, but to set up a business and purchasing machinery of Rs. 5,70,000 was impossible for him, so he designed his own machine, which cost him about Rs. 67,000. Uddhab then decided to continue building machines on his own instead of purchasing them.
In the span of 32 years, he has done more than 161 innovations and most of them focusing on agricultural output like peeler machines to peel Betel Nut, Cassava, Garlic, Jatropha, and Safed Musli re-designed paddy grinder that could be operated by only turning a wheel Bamboo, Cutters for and Green tea leaves and tobacco leafs, Processing Machine to cut-polish-surface finish long Bamboo, cement brick making machine, fisheries feed, trench digger, and many more.
But his most remarkable and attention seeker invention was the pomegranate de-seeder. This machine can easily separate the outer cover and the inner membrane of the pomegranate without damaging its seeds. The machine is very effective since it can de-seeds 50-55 kgs of pomegranates per hour. The demand for it is not even in India but also abroad. For his pomegranate de-seeder, he was entered into an online competition for the NASA Exceptional Technology Achievement medal in 2012.
Except for this, in 2007, he is also the recipient of ‘SRISTI Samman’. He got National Innovation Foundation-India’s National Grassroots Innovation Award, 2009. In 2013 he received ‘Rashtriya Ekta Samman’. He was one of the speakers in TEDx at ISM Dhanbad held in 2014. In 2019 the government of India awarded him with Padmashree, the 4th highest civilian award of the country.
The best thing about the innovation of Uddhab is he focuses on making life easier at the grassroots level. The maximum of his invention is agriculture-based and helps in increasing productivity and income of the rural population. Recently he started a cost-free training program, in which he selects up to 10 students and invites them for a three-month training program where he exclusively teaches them how to use technology and to make self-reliance. Till now, he has trained more than 50 youths technically from the rural areas. Uddhab Bharali has many clients across the globe and has over 118 innovations in his hand to work upon. He says, ” making money is not my motive. Through my innovations, I want to reach out to those who are living below the poverty line, nationally and internationally.”
In his recent appearance at Dibrugarh University, he advised the students to work continuously and not to stop after their first success. “Every toughest problem has the simplest solution,” he stated that whenever a new project comes up, he goes for extensive research on the topic, only to end up with the simplest solution to the problem. He believed in finding something which is not yet being made, something that makes life easy. He defines innovation as the application of the common sense of common people.