In a village of Dooru-Shahabad of district Anantnag, a small community workshop is surrounded by bare trees and a few houses. Far from the hustle and bustle, Mushtaq Ahmad Dar, an innovator spends much of the time in the center supported by National Innovation Foundation- India, to give shape to his innovative ideas.
Mushtaq is a serial innovator and has many innovations to his credit. Through his innovations, he wanted to help the society by making the work easier and also providing employment to others.
“I have done a lot of innovations which have reduced the manpower and made work easier. Many of my innovations are in the market and I am getting good responses to those,” said Mushtaq who is associated with National Innovation Foundation, Ahmadabad.
Walnut cracker, walnut peeling machine, maize and corn threshing machine, foldable ladder and gas cylinder lifting machines are some of his successful innovations. He said that he gets innovative ideas while finding solutions to the problems faced by the people. He has two patents to his credit and other two are in consideration.
“For walnut cracking machines, there has been a huge demand from the last two years. I couldn’t make more machines as per the order due to the less resources and labor. Then I hired some technical people and we were able to make 50 machines in 25 days. We really worked hard during that period,” he said.
He has planned to make 150 machines in 2022 to cater the demand. “The feedback was also taken from people of other districts and we received a good response from them,” he added.
Talking about his walnut cracker he said that cracking walnuts manually is a time consuming and tedious job. He started imagining something that reduces the efforts of a person in doing the job and came up with an idea of the machine. The walnut cracker can crack the walnut despite its size and hardness without damaging the fruit inside.
The machine has a feeding hopper at the top and a motor which is connected to the belt and a pulley. The rollers have iron strips inside which on rotating can crack the walnut. The gaps between the rollers can also be altered depending upon the size of a walnut.
The machine was earlier designed for cracking walnuts only but Mushtaq found the same machine can be used for peeling green walnuts as well by using food grade aluminum rollers for smoother functioning.
“The people in many villages used to peel the green walnuts manually by using a small hammer or a small stone. It’s very difficult to peel green walnuts as it not only blackens the hands but also causes skin irritation. The stone or hammer would sometimes hit the hand and cause injury. With the machine, the peeling process is done in no time without any problems,” he said.
During childhood, to find solace he used to spend much time in his apple orchids and walnut gardens that inspired him to make the innovations which revolutionized the working patterns of the associated people.
It's the off-season but he is still preparing the machines. Keeping in view the good demands, he said the manpower has reduced to 70% and now the orders are flowing and there is no stop. “We also have an agreement with Honda for walnut peeler in the market,” he said.
Mushtaq said, “There is no one who makes such machines. My machines are affordable and it doesn’t need water and requires less human effort as they are easy to operate. The field I choose has given me a chance to help my people a lot.”
He has received five awards till date including Amazing Indian award and National Grassroot Innovation Award. He said, “Two times the president of India has awarded me. Akshay Kumar got me to promote his movie Padman. He also gave me a prize of Rs 5 lakh. I was a guest for two weeks in 2019 for president of India. In Singapore we have also demonstrated the machines and received huge praises for our innovations.”
Watching people carrying loads of gas cylinders on their shoulders in the traditional way, Mushtaq devised a foldable cylinder carrier. “With the heavy weight of the gas cylinder, women and old can suffer back issues because of the unbalanced load on their shoulders while some people who roll the cylinder on the roads are also not good as it can damage the gas cylinder. For this I made a gas cylinder carrier. Kids and ladies can also use the machine as it is easy to operate,” he said.
The foldable cylinder carrier is supported by a wheel. The gas cylinder can be carried on the machine by hooking and placing it on the carrier. The handle fixed with the carrier can be pushed which moves the carrier with the help of wheels.
While climbing the tree in his childhood, he fell down and hurt his leg. The injury later on makes him invent the tree cum pole climber. The pole uses body weight to lock the climbing steps and one can take rest while climbing it. The notable thing about the pole is the pair of supporting frames for each foot and various belts to grip the pole with the body and the tree.
With the same concept, he has also made a Foldable ladder for climbing trees, linemen for reading meters and any other domestic chores. The ladder can be folded into a table as well by fixing a rod. “This is very simple yet strong and there is no risk of falling. This is easily portable, light in weight and also occupies a small space,” he said.
After losing his father when he was in grade 10th, he was dropped out of the school because of his financial conditions. Shy and quiet since his childhood, he never thought that he would be an innovator but he always believed that God had plans for him.
Mushtaq usually works on multiple innovations. To him working on a single innovation bores him and reduces the flow of ideas. He said, “Sometimes ideas flow like a stream and I let it flow and work in all directions.
Apart from this, Mushtaq has come up with a device to restrict nicotine inhalation for smokers, manual electricity generator, magnetic leveler for fields, handy fruit plucker and a seed broadcasting machine. Time and again, he is invited to various workshops and fairs. Currently he is preparing to participate in an innovation fair at Ahmedabad.
In his innovation center, Mushtaq works with 6 more people. One of them does the job of marketing while the other fetches material for the machines.
Adnan Ahmad Shah does marketing of the innovations. He said, “We have started this so that we can be employed and can give employment to others. We do innovations so that we can help people who need these little things.”
For his journey from a small village to various places, he gives credit to many people who have helped him. “NIF Ahmedabad, Giyan, Mr. GM Bhat and his staff have helped me in carrying forward my innovations. Also, my family has been a great support throughout my journey,” he said.