Guwahati: Mustafa Ahmed might be only in Class 9, but his life has already taught him valuable lessons, though not always by choice. A student of Cinnamora Higher Secondary School, Jorhat, Assam, Ahmed grew up seeing farmers in his home and neighbourhood struggle hard against all odds.
It was this struggle which inspired him to become of the winners of ‘extra-ordinary merit project’ as a child scientist during the 23rd National Children Science Congress (NCSC) at Chandigarh last month.
Ahmed’s innovative project of developing an insect-free scientific seed storage system placed him in the top 16 projects among more than 600 children across the country.
“My project will provide safe storage of various kinds of seeds as no moth can damage it during preservation. Scientists at the NCSC asked several questions which I answered properly. It was wonderful feeling and I’m extremely happy at the way people in my hometown and have welcomed me,” Mustafa, the youngest of five siblings, told TwoCircles.net.
Now, the Department of Science and Technology of the Central Government will provide facilities for further research and development to Mustafa and 15 other children-scientists at prestigious institutes like IIT as their innovative projects were selected as the extraordinary merit projects.
“Now, I’m more confident. Everybody during the event praised my project and told me to work more on it. They have also assured me of providing help in future,” he added.
Assam Science Technology and Environment Council (ASTEC) director Arup Kumar Misra said that Mustafa’s talent and success will inspire the young talents of state in future.
“His innovative project has been selected among the 16 extra-ordinary merit projects. He is the only child-scientist of the state to achieve this kind of success in this year’s NCSC. Altogether 25 students took part in the event from Assam,” said Misra.
The seed bank model is made using bamboo, straw, chalk and knotgrass, which can store any kind of seeds of rice and pulses.
“I was told by my project-guide Bhagawan Barua to create an environment for the insects which is unfavourable for them. So, I worked on that area and tried to create a zone without oxygen. And finally it worked. I need to work more on it. I think farmers of our state will immensely benefit from it,” Mustafa added.
The origin of the idea: Mustafa said that as growing up in an environment of farming and agriculture, he noticed that farmers had to struggle to keep the seeds safe.
“So, somehow, somewhere it was in my mind if I could do something for them. That’s how it started. When the projected was sanctioned, I went to our neighbourhood meeting farmers and interacting with them, which helped me a lot,” said Mustafa.
Narrating the help of his project-guide Bhagawan Barua, Mustafa said that he was deeply motivated by the simple but innovative techniques of the guide who had already provided necessary suggestions to several children-scientists in Jorhat in some past years.
“Besides my parents, Barua sir has been immensely helpful and inspiring. Our principal madam Pinkumoni Tamuli has also been helpful as always and the district coordinator of Children Science Congress, Budhin Dutta who assisted me a lot,” said Mustafa.
Now, Mustafa wants to study science and carry on research works on various topics including on agriculture.
His father Sarifuddin Ahmed who is an Islamic cleric expressed his happiness at the success of his son. “I have no words to express my happiness. I hope he will continue to excel and bring a good name for his school, area and the state,” said Ahmed.
(Photo: Amir AZ Hazarika)