Mansukhbhai R. Prajapati- Rural Innovator
Manuskhbhai from Gujarat is an incredible self-made innovator. From being a simple potter, he transformed himself into a successful businessman. In 2005, Prajapati received recognition for his outstanding innovation – ‘mitticool.’ In 2010, he was named in the Forbes list of Top 7 Rural Entrepreneurs.
Prajapati started his journey by working in Jagdamba Potteries as a trainee in 1985, where he earned a minimum wage of Rs.300. From there, he thought of an idea of making his earthen pots by deploying a tile press from the wheel. He borrowed 30,000 Rupees from a money lender and bought a piece of land to start his manufacturing unit. He started making various products from clay, such as pressure cooker, water filter, nonstick clay Tava, and many more. At first, he only began with making hand pressed machines and roof tiles and later shifted to other products. When a businessman approached him for water filters, he showcased his beautifully designed filters, which can keep the water fresh for a long time and luckily got an order of worth 1 lakh! In 1990 Mansukhbhai registered his company.
In 2001 Gujarat survived a massive earthquake. Mansukhbhai was amazed at the idea of a broken fridge, which was featured in the Sandesh Gujarati Daily captioned as “the broken fridge of poor.” So he started making a more cost adequate fridge which can be easily purchased by the poor and just like that he ended up making “mitticool” in 2005. This clay fridge can keep the vegetables fresh for a week. Priced at Rs 2,500-3,500, it cools water by almost 10 degrees and keeps perishable items like milk safe and clean. This fridge is eco-friendly and cost-effective and also the first fridge to run without electricity. Mansukhbhai made an unusual addition of sawdust and sand, which made the soil more porous and the interiors cool. The products are not only supplied all over India, but he has also received orders from 41 countries. In 2011-12, he posted a turnover of Rs 25 lakh, and the company is growing at 15% annually.
Former Indian President Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam named Prajapati as a ‘true scientist’ of India. His innovations are cheap and eco-friendly; thus, he is also playing his part best by creating less pollution as well. Mitticool was featured recently at a conference organized by the Centre for India & Global Business, Judge Business School, University of Cambridge, the UK, in May 2009.
Mansukhbhai is an inspiration for everyone. His small innovation today is helping many. He proved that change doesn’t only come through educated minds but mostly through enlightened minds. Social welfare doesn’t need one to be an activist or a worker; anyone can do social good; all you need is passion and love for your country. We wish Mansukhbhai to keep innovating things for the ones deprived of necessities.