Automatic Pump Operator

Name : Manoharmayam Manihar Sharmadsc_0306

District & State :  Imphal, Manipur

Category : Agricultural (General)

Award :   National

Award Function :   5th National Grassroots Innovation Awards

Award Year : 2009

Innovation Description

M Manihar Sharma (59), a mechanic and an innovator, has developed a system for automatic control of the water pumps for domestic and industrial use, in filling up overhead water tanks and ground reservoirs.

Second eldest among seven siblings, Manihar lost his mother when he was eight years old. He was brought up by his aunt. His father, a priest by profession, was a good scholar of Sanskrit. After Manihar passed class two, his father shifted him to a Sanskrit school, which did not go well with him. He left the school and completed his studies till class six privately and resumed regular schooling thereafter. After matriculation, he abandoned his studies due to financial problems and got married in 1972. He then started working as a labourer on muster  roll for two years with the Engineering Department, Thoubal. The job was on daily wages basis.

Given the irregular nature of the job, he switched over and joined a shoe shop as a salesman but because of his health, had to leave it within a few months. He then decided to drive an auto rickshaw. Starting early in the day and working till late night, he did well as an auto driver and became the Secretary of the Auto Association of Manipur in a few years. His irregular eating had an adverse effect on his already weak body system. Frustrated at being unable to give the desired attention to his family, specially children, he gradually started reducing his working hours and finally left driving in 1992.

Doing some jobs off and on, he started his restaurant in 1994. The restaurant ran well and he could earn a surplus and even buy some gold for his family. One day, during a regular medical check up, his Doctor friend asked him to join him and manage his clinic. Initially, he was a bit skeptical but later decided to go ahead as the job gave him plenty of time for his other innovative pursuits. This continued for twelve years after which their association ended due to some misunderstanding.

Since childhood, Manihar had never played with anything bought from the market rather he had always developed his own stuff like toys and small machineries. As a young man, he mastered all the nuances of repairing and maintenance of light vehicles and other engines. His constant inspiration has been his mechanic teacher, who used to repair or modify complicated and advanced machineries without any use of sophisticated tools and equipments. The mechanical tips and logical but informal steps, shared by his teacher have been the backbone of his innovative spirit.

After working as an auto rickshaw driver, running a small restaurant, serving as an assistant to his doctor friend, Manihar Sharma is now a full time innovator. His innate creativity has not been tampered by the constant struggle of making his ends meet on a day-to-day basis. The society and his own family members mockingly branded him as the man who would go to “numit” (sun) for his lack of pragmatism.

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