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A rickshaw puller in Rashtrapati Bhavan

New Delhi, July 8 (): A rickshaw puller in Delhi is now the guest of President of India for twenty days. He neither did any brave act and saved any life nor is he a relative of Pranab Mukherjee.

27 years back, Dharmveer over a tiff with his father left his village Yamunanagar in Haryana to come to Delhi. Like any newcomer to the capital, he too roamed the streets of Delhi to see the huge buildings built by the British. He stood outside Rashtrapti Bhavan at Raisna Hills and looked at  it in awe. He wondered at the people who stayed in this palatial building and those who drove past him into the fortified palace.

On July 1, this rickshaw puller spent his night at the Rashtrapati Bhavan and will continue to do so till 20th of this month. Dharmveer Khamboj has designed a multipurpose food processing machine that can do on-farm processing of herbs, flowers and fruits. The unit can process 100 kilograms of aloe vera plant in an hour. It also has a boiler provision. In one hour, the pulp can be extracted from 200 kilos of tomatoes. This machine can be used for all kinds of herbs and fruits. He has been chosen by National Innovation Foundation to receive the award from the President.

Dharmveer got the interest in herbs from his mother who used to go around collecting them. His mother used the flowers to make colours for Holi. He and his brothers tilled two acres of land that the family owned. After his marriage and three days after his daughter was born, he had to leave home due to a tiff with his father.

Dharmveer became a rickshaw puller in Delhi and his regular customers were traders who would go to Old Delhi Kharo Boli to buy the herbs. An accident cut short his stay in Delhi as he could no longer pull the rickshaw. He was shifted back to his village. Here he diversified into planting herbs like aloe vera. He then started cultivating hybrid tomatoes and slowly shifted to sugarcane, bitter gourd and soft corn. He devised a spraying machine using the battery of tape recorder. He devised a machine that automatically swept the floor. The machine got him a lot of visitors but no buyers.

A bank manager came to the village and told him about the business prospects of aloe vera and the extraction machine. Since the cost was too high, he decided to make one on his own. It took him 11 months to make one. After three modifications, GIAN North bought one and exported it to Kenya. He has sold 7 units in Haryana itself.

Dharmveer’s wife single-handedly supported the family of two kids and allowed him to pursue his innovation and organic farming. She along with her daughter and son withstood the barbs from villagers who thought their father was nuts. He later got the license and employs around 20 women in the manufacturing of the machine. He also sells the by-products.

Today, he is a hero to the villagers and the regional media has made him popular. GIAN North and National Innovation Foundation support made it possible to be the recipient of the National Award from the President.

People like Dharmveer show that a rickshaw puller who stood on the sidewalk when Presidents and the mighty who ruled the nation whizzed past can also be an achiever. Yamunanagar in Haryana is no place for TV cameras but Dharmveer showed that in such places many more like him  do exist doing innovations without any publicity but dubbed a crackpot.

In an era where a man who sold tea and slept on the benches of RSS office can govern from 7 Race Course road, an address that was meant only Shehzades , a rickshaw puller turned farmer to be an innovator is truly India Shining and that ‘acche din’ is just round the corner.

.com salutes this humble rickshaw puller!