Category: Anil K Gupta


Agarbatti making is a large industry in India employing 800,000 people. An agarbatti making worker- who are mostly women and children- has to bend down and work on a wooden board for 8 to 10 hours a day in order to roll 5,000 Agarbatti. This kind of hard labor leads to spinal pain, abdominal pain and pain in the hands and legs.

This prototype aims to mitigate this hardship of agarbatti workers through a low cost agarbatti maker which can be used at home also to make agarbattis. This machine is a low-cost, semi-automatic and hand driven machine which may double the production capacity. The machine is ergonomically designed to mitigate back pain and other spinal problems. Using this machine, a woman may be able to roll about 6000 sticks a day.
The prototype consists of a roller mechanism in which dough is fed. In the machine, the black agarbatti paste is flattened using calendar rolling systems. The flat paste is then cut into strips of required width using cutting roller, which is later wrapped around the bamboo stick using wooden roller.

The final assembly consists of rollers made up of wood, rubber conveyor belts, steel pipes. Therefore owing to the simple component and assembly the cost of final machine may be low.

The project received appreciation under the ‘More from less’ category at the Gandhian Young Technology Awards 2013.

Keshav G,IIT Gandhinagar
Project Guide: Prof Murali Damodaran, Prof. K. Sudhakar

Sanjay and Tula, an engineer and a computer professional, got together several years ago to bring about a small change in the world through ‘Vishwagram’, ‘Yuvagram’, and ‘Karunagram’ initiatives. They decided not to seek any funds from private or public sources, national and international agencies. Their belief was simple – if they are useful to society, then society must find a way to sustain them. Not a bad logic at all! They decided to live in a small village, work with school and college teachers, and teach children themselves.

The engineer-computer guy duo also set up an ashram for children who ran away from their homes, and were found loitering at the railway station. These 19 kids of different age groups are being enabled to face the world with greater hopes and faith.

One of these kids used to run away often. Sanjay asked him why he did that. His answer – he missed home, the railway station.

Kids, who have such concepts of a home, need their place under the sun and a chance to grow as a worthy citizen of our society. Even one such child rehabilitated means one lamp lighted to make the world a better place.

Homeless kids aside, Sanjay and Tula organise workshops for teachers at very low costs. I recently attend one of such workshops at a resort where the place was donated by the owner, apart from boarding facilities at cost basis. A very frugal workshop thus took place in which a whole range of ideas about education were discussed. One of the questions I asked was – are there questions which teachers cannot answer? What have teachers learned from students?

There were children who asked a question as to why did they have to study all the subjects and achieve better marks in them. Why could they not focus on only a few and excel in them, and perform just satisfactory in others?

This is a question that is at the core of educational policy.

Perhaps, one day, children who need freedom of this kind, will get it. Another teacher mentioned how sometimes teachers are so full of themselves, that they don’t pay attention to the questions of children. Not answering questions is a lesser problem but a bigger problem is of not paying attention. The question should carve out some space in our consciousness. Sanjay and Tula have created a lot of space for such questions in the minds of teachers and through that, they have expanded the space for the questions of children.

They also work with youth and organise camps for them to ask basic questions. And at One such camp, Sanjay had met Tula. They get help from all kinds of quarters. Some religious preachers made a contribution, few friends pitched in and sometimes, even strangers did their bit. They don’t ask, they wait.

The issue at hand, however, is we need more such volunteers to contribute towards social good, help abandoned children, conserve nature, trigger hopes among teachers and thus help in making a difference. There is not an organised platform for sup porting such change agents. SRISTI wishes to support such silent, scattered and significant forces of change. Creation of public good, strengthening society’s moral fabric through practice and not preaching, and expanding space for free spirit, questioning minds and communitarian culture are necessary for inclusive development.

The concept of social enterprise is rather very restricted in scope. Bringing about new consciousness among youth, children and teachers is not an enterprise for Sanjay and Tula. Let us look within ourselves. Maybe, we will find a path and that may pass through service to strangers.