In this video Swapnil demonstrates that with a proper technique, the Vikalp Scythe can be as easily operated by women as by men. She invites all women taking part in wheat and paddy harvesting to pick up a scythe and become users or trainers themselves!
At many scythe demonstrations in India, I’ve observed that it is the men who are first to step up to try the scythe for themselves. However, scythes have no gender biases. As Swapnil points out, most of the harvesting is done by women, therefore it’s women who could benefit the most.
Video source: YouTube Channel Vikalp, video by Anant Chaturvedi
Here is the full transcript of the interview with Swapnil Kushwaha, from the village Bighapur, Unnao, Uttar Pradesh, India.
Q: Were you using the Vikalp Scythe here?
A: Yes, I was using the Vikalp Scythe… practicing. I really enjoyed it. It is the first time that I harvested an entire field by myself.
Q: How much did you harvest?
A: This morning I’ve harvested the entire area you can see.
Q: Did you harvested this alone?
A: Yes, I have been harvesting since morning, with intermittent breaks.
Q: In your opinion, what are the best qualities of the Vikalp Scythe?
A: It is very light… anybody can use it with ease, be it women or men. Harvesting with this is a breeze… it’s just like wielding a broom. Just like we clean our houses in the village with a broom. With a similar motion, we can cut our crops now!
Q: How did you harvest crops previously?
A: I used to harvest with a sickle… had to bend or squat.
Q: So earlier you harvested with a sickle?
Q: How does the Vikalp Scythe feel compared to the sickle?
A: Harvesting with a sickle takes a lot of time… harvesting this much would have easily taken 2-3 days. Now with the scythe, I can complete the job in just a few hours.
Q: There are many women who see a scythe and call us saying that it looks too heavy, it must take a lot of effort, only suitable for men. What would you like to say to them?
A: I think women are the ones most involved in farming. In my village, most of the harvesting is done by women. There is no reason for them to think that they can’t do this. It will be very easy for them to harvest with a scythe. They might think it is heavy, but it is not!
Q: Is it light and easy to use?
A: Yes, it just needs to be held like this and wielded like a broom.
Q: Can you also sharpen the blade yourself?
A: Yes, I sharpen it myself, and anyone can do the same.
Q: So if women adopt a scythe, they’ll be less dependent on others?
A: They won’t be dependant… that can become totally self-reliant when harvesting crops.
So Swapnil’s message for other women is loud and clear: “Adopt a scythe and become self-reliant (aatmnirbhar) !”
In this video, Swapnil is using the Vikalp scythe for cutting berseem.
Video source: YouTube Channel Vikalp
Read more about how Swapnil shared her scything skills on a dairy farm in Jabalpur in 2022.