#534 A busman and his bees

Honeybee

Honeybee photo by Jennifer C., via Flickr Creative Commons

The bees of Gobichettypalayam in Tamil Nadu have an ally. I learned about Mr. A. Parthiban thanks to an article in The Hindu.

Mr. Parhiban drives a bus three days a week. His days are long, nearly twelve hours, but when he is not driving a bus he is working with his beloved bees. He sets up bee boxes for people in his region and teaches them how to maintain them. He also harvests and sells honey.

Mr. Parthiban understands the role bees play in the cycle of life. He told The Hindu:

The insects are essential for our food security. Without them many of our fruits, vegetables or flowers would become extinct. But sadly modern science doesn’t seem to realize this. In the name of advancement we are destroying many things that play an important role. Productive and rapidly declining honeybees are one such.

According to M. J. Prabu, who wrote about the beekeeper, most of the bus driver’s neighbours do not recognize the busy little pollinators’ value to our food system. Mr. Parhiban is turning them into believers. One tamarind farmer increased his yield from 1,000 kilos to 4,350, thanks to the bees.

Aditi Garg wrote about Mr. Parthiban for Halabol, an Indian social media site. This sentence sums up why the example of this bus conductor gives me hope:

What Parthiban has done individually is a great inspiration for all of us who might be held back by the belief that a single person cannot affect change.

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