My rewarding trip to India, birthplace of the wheel...

1. The bamboo bicycle and other bikes

2. The SSAC football (soccer) team in Purulia

3. Jiu-jitsu, known as a self-defence technique in Japan has its origins in India...

In search of technical innovations in rural areas, The calcutta Telegraph reporters came across a bicycle made of bamboo.

Except for tubes and tyres, which are of standard rubber, the piston, handles and barrels of his bicycle are all made of bamboo.

He wears a bamboo jacket and bamboo shoes, plays a bamboo flute and grins to display his three front teeth chiselled out of-you know what. Dodhi Pathak, an otherwise anonymous craftsman from Sandheli in Nalhari district of Assam,was in New Delhi recently, rubbing shoulders with India's top science and technology policy-makers, picking up a cheque of Rs 25,000 and being labelled, with 21 others, a "national grassroots innovator".

Like most of the innovators, Pathak, too was driven by necessity. He didn't have money to buy even a second-hand bicycle, so he built a bicycle out of bamboo. Except for tubes and tyres, which are of standard rubber, the piston, handles and barrels of his bicycle are all made of bamboo. Similarly,when he lost three teeth in a bad fall, he sat down and chiselled bamboo teeth for himself. His innovative skill has come in handy to his fellow villagers as well, for he has helped some of them acquire bamboo teeth. "I think of selling them at Rs. 20 a piece", he comments."Believe me, they are tough enough to chew chicken."

Pathak belongs to the breed of inventors who, without a laboratory or research infrastructure, and sometimes without a formal education even, have churned out valuable innovations. In addition to meeting their own needs, those inventions may turn into commercial products for the indian,and perhaps even global markets.

other bikes...

India's standard bike for all-round use with a strong luggage carrier is made by Avon, Hero or Atlas, all companies indigenous to India with no imported parts. Its heavy, but strong and has no gears. It costs only Rs. 1500 (about $32).A mountainbike with 5X2 gears can also be bought with primitive shocks for double the price. I bought one simple one and had fun as long as there was no elevations...

With a growing middle-class of consumers, the quality of the mountainbikes could easily be improved and we could see an entirely indigenous bike, fit for races in the hills...

In a store, checking out the latest mountain-bike

 

Rose-painted and w. a blue light...good for cross-dressers maybe ?

One of the main uses of bikes... Transporting merchandise, people, saving valuable mineral resources and avoiding pollution... Keeping fit is a by-product...

2.The SSAC football-team of Purulia keeps winning...

Spiritualists' Sports and Adventurer's Club has started a football team about three years ago from many of the students and teachers of the local AM Gurukul schools. They are now farmers or work in factories around the area, but when it comes to a tournament, they are all there...and win... Thanks to the enthusiasm of the local monks. The hero is the famous dribbler no. 9 who shoots most of the goals for his team.

 

Last year they won 10 bikes for their team as a price of the tournament. They play with major teams in Calcutta and Ranchi (Calcutta is about 200 miles away and Ranchi about 100 miles).

3.Jiu-jitsu is a famous fighter in the mahabharata epic...

Did you know that Jiu-jitsu was a famous fighter in the epic battle of Mahabharata ? India is also the birthplace of martial arts, unknown to many. There are some secret schools, that only one westerner has ever attended so far. I could not gather more information, but I am doing research as to who exactly jiu-jitsu was, and where these secret schools could be.