Dakshina Kannada District has now come to being a communally disturbed district. The district witnesses frequent communal unrest. While some get influenced by these riots and harbour hatred in their hearts, some nurture love despite deteriorating situations around them. Herbert D' Souza, a farmer from Kadekaru, Jeppinamogaru is surely the person who has only nurtured love for human beings and in his own small way he has been a crusader heralding the message of communal harmony.
Herbert has been distributing newly grown paddy to several temples and churches across Karnataka and abroad free of cost from last 10 years.
Harvest festival is being celebrated by both Hindus and Christians. Herbert grows and supplies paddy solely for these festivals giving us a dose of hope in the midst of communal harmony in Mangaluru. He has been distributing paddy to Sharavu Shri Mahaganaphy temple, Kudroli Shri Gokarnanatheshwara temple, Kadekaru Mallikarjuna temple, Bajal Janardhana temple and 15 other temples and Valencia, Milagres, Permannur and 20 other churches in the city.
He also supplied paddy during Ganeshotsava festival held in Jeppinamogaru recently and he does not expect monetary benefits for the same.
Herbert, keeping in mind festivals of Chauti and Nativity, starts preparation in advance. He sows paddy seeds and he does not wait for rains. Instead he uses pump water so that it can be supplied on time. He is supported by his wife Freeda Dsouza.
His paddy is being supplied to foreign countries too. He gets orders from Doha, Qatar, Kuwait, Dubai, Canada and America.
Speaking to Newskarnataka, Herbert said, "Earlier we used to grow paddy in around 4 acres of field. But now due to shortage of labourers, no one is interested in paddy cultivation. We grow it solely with the intention of supplying it to churches and temples during festivals. We do not expect any profit. Our intention is to preserve and continue our age old tradition.
Nativity Feast, is celebrated along with harvest festival where new crops are offered to God. In preparation 9-day novena is being held in all the churches where adults and children offer fresh flowers to Mother Mary. On the day of feast, community members and devotees take out procession with newly grown paddy corn, which is blessed and distributed to every family after the mass. There is also a belief that since St Anne, mother of Mother Mary could conceive a child even till she was crossing the productive age, her child symbolises a journeybfrom barrenness to fertility. Hence the harvest festival is celebrated on the same day.
The new grain called 'Noven' is mixed with milk and served to all on the day of feast along with only vegetarian food served on banana leaf. The new grain is also sent to family members who are away from home