A Personal Note of Gratitude from the Chair and Founder-Trustee
Basudha never received any institutional support – from neither any domestic nor international organization. All of Basudha’s activities have been financed chiefly from the personal earnings of its Founder-Trustee, Debal Deb, and by periodical donations from friends.
Basudha has been extremely fortunate to have a circle of great friends who have generously supported all activities of Basudha and Vrihi, by financial contribution as well as service and assistance. It would be impossible to name all of these friends, but we must especially mention Dr. Paoloroberto Imperiali, DV Sridharan, Jason Taylor, Avik Saha, Dr. Anupam Paul, Swapan Mukherjee, Bhaskar Sur, Martyn Brown, David Rowe, Partha Majumder, Dr. Anuradha Joshi, Prof. Oliver Springate-Baginski, Dr. Gautam Saha, Tathagata Banerjee, Alan Wilkinson, Alex Jensen, Rahul Vaswani, Anantha Sayanan, Anna Marie Nicolaysen, Anna Kauber, Andrew Weeks, Ms Anjali Pathak, Dr. Barbara Haya, Giancarlo Cammerini, Dr. Massimo Spadoni, Roberto Cerrina, Susan Kanga, Sharath Kumar, Ms Kasturi Sengupta, Ms Maitreyee Ghosh, Ms Jui Gupta, Unnamalai Thiagarajan, Sharath Kumar, Nilkantha Acharjee, and Ms Vijaya Nagarajan.
Following our Announcement of Basudha’s financial and personnel crunch in 2009, I received many helping hands from friends who believe that Basudha’s existence is necessary at least in order to prove that sustainable and healthy living is possible. Basudha’s campaign to (a) conserve rice landraces on-farm, (b) demonstrate the efficacy of ecological agricultural methods on a dryland farm, and (c) galvanize the rural community into action for protecting their natural resource base must not be terminated, opined our friends.
After a couple of informal meetings in 2009 with friends from Durgapur Science and Cultural Forum, from Panchal Bigyan O Samaj, and from Balagarh Jan Bigyan Samiti, we agreed to accept personal donations to Basudha to support its activities. Within two months they collected about Rs. 16,000 to support Basudha’s farm activities.
Later on, Dr. Darryl Eyles of Queensland University, Australia, Alex Jensen and his friends from California, USA, Mrs. Linda Selvey of Highgate Hill, Queensland, Australia, and Dr. Paoloroberto Imperiali of Circolo Culturale Ambientescienze, Cremona, Italy, sent in their donations. (Dr. Eyles had hosted a “Help Basudha Dinner” to raise fund.) All this I have received on my personal account and earmarked for staff salary and farm expenditure.
With this support I was able to employ a new farm worker, and to build a new hutment on Basudha campus in 2010. We sowed the seeds of 612 rice landraces including those of new accessions of the year 2010. I visited the Sunderban islands, ravaged by the storm Aila, to give some salt-tolerant rice seeds to some farmers. I also gave training in ecological agriculture to farmers of 6 districts. Expenses for all these programs were partly met from the donated fund. This fund was also used in organizing the Basudha Festival VII and the Day of Rice Action in November 2010 (see Events Archive).
Finally, after we opened a bank account of Basudha in early 2011, several friends, especially Bhaskar Sur of Chandannagar, Swapan Mukherjee of Haldia, Dr. Gautam Saha of Kolkata, Anupam Paul of Barrackpore, and O.P. Rana of Beijing sent in their donations to the account. Film maker Jason Taylor donated Rs. 60,000 to cover the entire cost of transfer of all rice seeds to Odisha farm and for building seeds preservation infrastructure. Film maker Andrew Weeks from UK sponsored an important cultural tour in Bangladesh in November 2011, and generously donated toward establishing our new farm in Orissa, where we have shifted all our agro-biodiversity conservation work in 2011. A group of unseen friends, through contact of Ms Anjali Pathak of Lucknow and Kasturi of Kalyani, also sent in their donations to Basudha. Most notable among these friends include Sharath Kumar, Jui Gupta, Maitreyee Ghosh and friends. D.V. Sridharan of Chennai visited the new Basudha farm to see our work in 2012, and have been donating Basudha every month ever since.
My fund raising lecture tour in UK in December 2013 won me many new friends. Rowan Phillimore organized to raise some individual donations and sent to my personal account in early 2014.
In early 2014, lawyer and cultural activist Avik Saha, upon hearing my lament over my inability to conduct research in biochemistry and molecular biology of the hundreds of rice landraces in my accession, made a huge donation to set up Basudha’s Biotechnology Laboratory for Conservation in Kolkata. After setting up a cutting edge biotechnology laboratory, he also raises personal donations to maintain the lab work, covering salaries of 4 research assistants and all infrastructural and incidental costs.
I have regained my conviction that lack of money is never the most formidable obstacle to any meaningful work. The motivation of my co-workers and the voluntary assistance from my friends will surely keep Basudha’s work alive.
Thank you, friends.