Natural Farming

“India does tend to be the last refuge of defeated systems of knowledge and lost causes. It has remained, by default, a cultural gene bank of the world. It is not so because it has a surfeit of defiant individuals ideologically committed to alternative visions, but because many of the little cultures of India, caught in a time warp, have somehow survived and, though under severe stress, represent and leave out fragments of alternative visions of a good society unwittingly and unselfconsciously. “Ashis Nandy. The Intimate Enemy, 1983.

We farm in the lap of Prakriti, one with the enormous diversity of thousands of trees, bushes, grasses, birds and animals and the unseen world of billions of bacteria, fungus and viruses. Here, no insect is a pest, no plant is a weed, no tree is unwanted. Farming thus, we have flowed into an ever increasing union with nature, deepening the bond each day, month and year. There is no greater Guru than doing, and every mistake we make brings us ever so slowly closer to what nature intends for us. Gradually, this harmonious farming enables the freedom to connect to the world of potentialities within us.

The expansion of our awareness of Prakriti has depended on the intensity of our practice, combined with the knowledge gathered and processed by the intellect. This intellect, however, by itself is wholly inadequate to comprehend the sublime order in the chaos. If we remain engrossed only in organic farming techniques, we miss the opportunity of a very personal transformation.  

Our farming is undertaken for the joy it brings, the cultivation of the land for home, the peasants who work here and the animals we have. We are blessed that there is no pressure to undertake commerce, so we are able to hold on to the peasant’s traditional view of farming while absorbing new ways of looking, thinking and doing. This Prakritik gaze enables us apply methods to develop healthy soil, produce healthy food, healthy animals and humans.

Aman Bagh reclaims a time when land was not monetised, and the village was the foundation of a more natural way of living. We learn from a self-sustaining rural India of 1959, a far cry from the productivity and cash obsessed economy of 2022, when the self-cultivating peasant family lived an exchange-based life within inter-dependant village communities. The peasant grew food which he exchanged with the village weaver, carpenter, potter, blacksmith, trader, barber and priest for their services. There were few machines that replaced manual labor, and no chemical fertilisers, pesticides or herbicides. Hard labor, followed by extended periods of rest, was a way of life. Pests were controlled by a growing a diversity of crops and crop rotation. Nature kept insects harmful to cultivated crops in balance, and desi methods were used to control those insects that did end up harming crops. Intercropping and keeping land fallow for intermittent periods retained soil fertility. Cattle were fed farm produce, their dung a source of manuring the soil to keep it rich and teeming with hundreds of billions of microorganisms in species and quantity.

The night was pitch dark.

खेती धर्म है केवल व्यवसाय नहीं
खेती धर्म है
व्यवसाय नहीं

Rural relationships were close-knit and inter-dependent, and the settled-agricultural village was a mostly self-sufficient socio-economic unit where man and animal lived in an attempted balance with nature. Modernity and the market was not the all-encompassing paradigm it is today, and self-sufficiency was the rule with the attendant benefits of economic backwardness. Today, progress that leads to development brings its own problems.  

Indian village life is unequal, feudal, caste-ridden, sexist and communal – all these demand change. To these issues of human inequality and the pressures of modernity copied from the West, we have added the annihilation of nature. However unequal, though, and howsoever fragmented by modernity, village India yet remains fragments of an organic, unalienated community.

Not all was well before modernity arrived in India, where agriculture had been engaged in a gradual destruction of Prakriti. Wet, tropical forests are said to have covered parts of the Ganga-Yamuna Doab 2000 years ago have disappeared; as have the later dry, deciduous forests of Sal and Dhak in which the Mughals hunted wild pigs, bears, buffaloes, tigers, lions and elephants during the 16-17th Centuries. Our growing population cleared forests for agriculture, grazing, construction of homes and firewood. Forest-less living and tree-less agriculture became an accepted norm under the pressure of population. Now, in our GDP-led economic blindness, we bring to bear on this tree-less horizon the unbearable pressure of machines of the most sophisticated kinds to cut, dig and move what is above and below the earth. Along with this, we poison the soil and the food we grow with chemicals of the most unbelievable variety.   

The monetisation of living by a powerful alliance of the modern nation state and corporations creates the mirage of a consumer paradise that beckons all of us. Village India too is giving up the rhythm of well-established natural farming and community traditions and has not developed new ones to harmonise with nature. Urban India provides little alternative. A civilisation that famously embraced life in the forests is paying a terrible ecological price, the Aranya of Indic myth holds no attraction for the modern Indian despite the lip service to religion and to the occasional planting of trees.  

“The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops but the cultivation and perfection of human beings.” Masanobu Fukuoka

Aman Bagh does away with hand wringing and seeks a balance in relationships between humans and nature that are neither discriminatory nor dominating. Our common Prakriti binds us to each other through a new understanding of inter-dependence. While we build on our traditional peasant farming practices, we transcend barriers of caste, religion and gender. We drop what we know to be harmful and destructive to relationships in the natural world.

Aman Bagh is a little less than 1 hectare –  about 2.7 acres – (80% of India’s peasant tilled farms are smaller than 5 acres), on soil that has been pesticide and chemical fertiliser free for ever. The location – in a valley surrounded by the low hills of the Aravali range 14 kilometres from Gurgaon – is especially bountiful each year from the onset of monsoon in July till the start of summer in April. The ancient Mangar Bani, the rare 200 hectare forest of indigenous Dhau trees, is 10 minutes away; as are the Dhauj rocks. Our land is undulating and is on multiple levels, ideal for ploughing by bullocks.

“A small place, as I know from my own experience can provide opportunities of work and learning, and a fund of beauty, solace, and pleasure—in addition to its difficulties—that cannot be exhausted in a lifetime or in generations.” Wendell Berry

Our one room home and kitchen, the adjoining cow shed, the bonga hay shed and the staff room for the farm hands are architecturally local in design and manufactured by local artisans, as ecologically friendly as contemporary construction materials allow. When you visit in mid-summer, you will be struck by the 8 degree difference of temperature between the outdoors and our rooms protected by a roof of stone, mud and baked terracotta pots.

“I decided that I could not do better than watch the operations of these peasants, and acquire their traditional knowledge as rapidly as possible. For the time being, therefore, I regarded them as my professors of agriculture.” Albert Howard (1873-1947). An Agricultural Testament.

Howard lived in India from 1905 to 1931 and is considered to be founder of the organic farming movement in the West. 

We have desi Hariana cows leading a peaceful life under the shade of desi trees, fed on farm produce; ghee is extracted by hand from dahi set in baked terracotta utensils. Our land is ploughed by two beautiful, healthy bullocks born on our land. Our grains, lentils, oils and vegetables are grown from desi, open-pollinated seeds and are free of pesticides and fertiliser. We rarely use bio-pesticides as our land’s natural predator-pest balance doesn’t need us to – in any case, we are not obsessed with productivity. Our bio-fertiliser is rich with micro-organisms created from fermenting cow dung, urine, jaggery and lentils. The floating drum gobar methane gas plant provides a steady source of manure slurry and gas for cooking. 

We have planted a rich biodiversity of fruit, flowering and shade trees, as well as local bushes, shrubs and grasses. One quarter of an acre is a Bani – a forest, inspired by Fukuoka. None of our fruit trees are local to the Aravali, and we continue to experiment joyfully. Some trees grow in groves; some along the farm periphery; and others carefully thought out on the edges of the crop land.

Amrood, Kinnow and Nimbu are imports that do well in our sandy soil and alternating weather extremes of hot, wet and cold. Some of our other fruit trees are Suhajan, Chakotra, Narangi, Aam, Shahtoot, Anjeer, Anaar, Jamun, Shareefa, Kathal, Bel, Ber, Kela, Papita, Aadu, Nashpati, Loquat, Imli, Amla. In addition to fruit, we have hundreds of trees of Shisham, Babool, Neem, Bakain, Jamun, Papri, Semal, Mahua, Khatta, Peepal, Bargad, Goolar, Sagwan, Dhak, Dhau, Kosum, and many more, all local to our ecology.  Then there are the dry, sandy soil friendly varieties like ronjh, jhinjheri, kareel, barna, bistendu, kankera, kadam, pilu and a sprinkling of flowering varieties kachnar, amaltash, gulmohar and jacaranda. Finally, the local bushes of kala vasa, vajradanti (desi vasa), adusa (piya vasa), and ashwagandha (akhsand) and grasses like sesbania and vetiver (khus).

We have a network of drip & sprinkler irrigation to serve our sandy soil and semi-arid environment, haven’t figured out a way to farm without exploiting underground water aquifers. We do plant only local varieties of all crops that grow in the infrequent rains, with far fewer irrigation cycles than the high-yielding green revolution hybrids demand. Hybrid seeds are not allowed entry. The farm runs on a solar system, and there are no air conditioners.

There is exertion in manual labor, but there is also much good health. I’ve been educated by my Jat self-cultivating peasant ancestry that there is little in life without the sweat of one’s brow – in the field, or on the desk. 

The uncounted species of insects, butterflies, worms, bees, birds and other animals  have multiplied manifold since we commenced farming and building the soil here in 2012. They have been drawn by the food and shelter they find in abundance. The welcoming peace is accentuated by the chirping of innumerable birds at dusk, the occasional call of the peacocks, the rooster, the the sounds of the bells as cows chew the cud. The welcoming sounds of a peaceful village home at work and in repose.

Here is our story till today: Five Years of Natural Systems Farming at Aman Bagh: 2012-2017. Here is a presentation on our natural farming practices in the spirit of sharing for organic farmers, aspiring farmers and mindful consumers: A presentation on Practices of Natural Systems Farming at Aman Bagh, 2017. 

Here is a perspective on Aman Bagh, in someone else’s words –


47 Responses to Natural Farming

  1. A noble effort by a great leader & mentor who has transformed my personal and professional life.


  2. Acky Kamdar says:

    In all of us, there is a farmer somewhere. Reading this article, reminds me that there are many exciting possibilities besides what we do on day to day basis. The difference is that Harsh has made it real in Amanbagh for all of us, and I hope to someday share the experience with him.


  3. Muriel & Mario says:

    Wow Harsh! Cannot wait to get to Amanbagh, though it does seem like a distant dream, with the loads of things we have on our hands.

    And talking of dreams, you are doings the things that we only dream of at the moment.

    Much success and lots of solidarity, in a common mission.

    Your organic and Permaculture neighbours in Goa,

    Muriel & Mario.


  4. Proud of you bhai – planning to get kids over so they get a touch of reality.


  5. Jasjit says:

    Proud of you my friend. You are following your dreams.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Alok Sharma says:

    Harsh Sir,
    This narrative is very nostalgic. Seems like I am looking over my shoulder 50 years distance and watching my grand parents actually living what is described.
    it is indeed unimaginable for today’s generation. Establishing a community and the whole secured ecosystem around it; this only a leader like you can envision and practice. Still learning from you in many ways.
    Aman Bagh, is emerging as a motivational center for the society, I can see, Have been fortunate to be in your proximity and mentored.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. You have gone back to your roots Harsh and are inspiring us to go that way- through supporting your efforts and partaking of the organic produce of ‘Aman Bagh’.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Aloke Paskar says:

    Harsh, This is back to the roots. Finally we all do and you have led the way. Looking forward to visiting the farm when I am next in India.


  9. Mohit Goyal says:

    Harsh, wonderful to have had an atleast 180 degree view of your life progression and your committment to every phase of it. You always had a great human quality & temperamant and one just knew you would not be content to rest on your laurels post HS. I’ll definitely check out some of your products! Take care, Mohit Goyal


  10. Sarita Vij says:

    Harsh, it was an amazing experience to visit your farm and see what you are doing. The location and ambiance of the farm is great. Some of the organic produce that i tried was very good indeed. Would love to visit again soon.


  11. Sandeep Sahai says:

    Follow your dreams
    Great to see this
    Have fun

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Rohit Baswani says:

    Real proud of you bhaiyya. Have to get the kids over soon.
    Harika and Rohit


  13. Nikhil says:

    Hi, what an achievement!!! The world aspires to be so close to mother nature but very few are able to do it. All the very best!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Sudeb Mandal says:


    We had a wonderful time when we visited your farm last year. You have once again setup a great thing and this time in a different field altogether. Really privileged to have worked under your leadership and you continue to inspire.


    Liked by 1 person

  15. Rekha Gupta says:

    This is amazing. You have been an inspiration always and your passion is infectious.
    You do things with a style and that’s visible here too!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Karthik says:

    Such a joy to read this.
    Aman Bagh shows the leader, patriot, artisan and the entrepreneur in you. Your hand-print is clearly visible. Your efforts inspire us.
    There’s so much for all of us to learn and you keep re-iterating that through your endeavors.
    It’s a privilege to have worked with you.


    Liked by 1 person

  17. Murty Eranki says:

    Dear Harsh,

    This is really a great work. Even though many of us came from agricultural back ground, going back village and doing something like this is not an easy job. Your passion and leadership always inspires me.

    It was a great opportunity to work under your leadership.

    Murty Eranki

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Salina says:

    Wow Harsh, Aman Bagh seems to be absolutely amazing. Took me back to my childhood when I would visit my grandparents in Kerala during summer vacations. Never thought this could be recreated in this era. Hats off to you, Harsh. Admire your passion towards the environment we live in.


    Liked by 1 person

  19. Jeevan Pant says:

    Incredible, Inspiring, Nostalgic .. all at the same time. You have always been a true leader Harsh


    Liked by 1 person

  20. Radharaman Lath says:

    So very thoughtful! Heartfelt admiration for a genuine leadership!! I wish Aman Bagh to become a true change agent in making Mangar a model self-sufficient unit.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Yash Mishra says:

    Aman Bagh is indeed a great tribute to mother earth by adopting traditional organic farming aiming at village community self sufficiency for all round cohesive development and progress.

    In todays world where commercialisation and HYV’s are deep rooted in the the Agriculturists, Society, Technocrats and other preachers of the like, I personally feel that the endeavour of the promoters of the Farm need a NOBLE SALUTE with a sincere wish that there are more such motivators and followers.

    Warm Regards

    Yash P Mishra

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Aakash says:

    You are really a true leader. you have transformed and inspired the lives of so many people in around the world and you are still continuing the same. You are born to lead
    With all my best wishes in your new journey.


    Liked by 1 person

  23. Varun says:

    Hi Harsh,
    Wish you and yours a very Happy and prosperous New year 2014,
    Had been meaning to do this for a while, really wanted to say Hats off to you for such an initiative. My love for Organic is quite recent specially when I moved to US but now can really appreciate how great this is. I really wish I get an opportunity to come over to Amanbagh someday!
    Regards and best wishes,

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Kapil says:

    Harsh is a great personality ! I SALUTE him. A man who followed his dreams and went back to his roots. Reminds me of the book ‘The monk who sold his Ferrari. ‘

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Varsha says:

    Wow Harsh, Amanbagh sounds like a dream. I want to visit you there when we come to India in Dec 2014. We were in Lucknow in Feb. and mourned the ugly colors they have used on those magnificent buildings, and the neglect of our beloved city makes me want to cry. Hope you and Rabab are both doing well. Varsha

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Vani Narayan says:

    Hello Harsh, this mail might sound funny to you. I was with E&Y and had a chance to meet your wife and her beautiful Mother;they visited us at our wedding (way back in ’97) just wanted to know if Ammamma is doing well. Cheers, Vani.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Vishal Sareen says:

    Harsh has really proved that Great leaders have Super Great Thoughts and implementation..
    Salute to Harsh!!

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Atthihally devraj says:

    It is nice practice. our ancesters done only this, our modern scintists brout all these chemical practice. when i was a member in board of regents in University of Agricultural sciences Bengaluru, I was asking the scintists cant w do it without chemical use? can we controll isects in organical methods? Even i put these questions to national level scintists ? The were unanswerable for my basic questions.
    Fortunately UASB preserving 1500 types of paddy varieties
    In karnataka so many people came back to organic farming, And also doing zero farlng or natural farming. Using desi seeds also
    Thank you AMANBAG FAMILY


    Liked by 1 person

  29. Varun Gera says:

    Hi Harsh….very inspiring and now a benchmark!
    Varun Gera

    Liked by 1 person

  30. shekhar vajpayee says:

    Hi Harsh…. You have done a great job, being close with the nature only can be experienced.


  31. nitin babbar says:

    Great work Harsh,

    You have always been a phenomenal leader and innovator….
    Feels great to have worked with you and even better to know of the new initiative that you have taken after leaving headstrong…

    Great going Sir!


  32. Amit Ghosal says:

    Great going Harsh,
    I do look forward to catching up with you as soon as possible.
    Best wishes as always.
    Amit Ghosal


  33. shekhar vajpayee says:

    Harsh Ji,
    Very much motivational and I would like to visit.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. harshlohit says:

    Sure, you are most welcome. Call me on 9810032223 to schedule a visit.


  35. Shivangi says:

    Great endeavour Sir. We all know farming is a big gamble and you tossed your super job for farming… is astonishing for most of us! I have heard so many good things about you from my husband (Abhishek) and I am too glad to find you here. Your life sort of reminds me of the famous lines from IF by Rudyard Kipling –
    If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
    And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss…
    All the best Sir… may you pave the path for others to follow…

    Liked by 1 person

  36. saltnpeppernlife says:

    Harsh….bow to you …what can i say more …a dream for me .. a reality by you …….a meaningful and worthy way of living and livelihood ……for which one now longs every moment … ………..a bliss and blessed way of life …..
    Regards,Shivani Srivastava


    • Shivani, thanks for your sentiments. Lets us both be careful, however, not to romanticise Aman Bagh as the problems humans have created are too vast and deep to be addressed by organic farming. Our whole way of consuming life needs to be reset, I get tired at the complexity of the endeavour.


      • saltnpeppernlife says:

        Yes completely agree with the line ‘Our whole way of consuming life needs to be reset, I get tired at the complexity of the endeavour’…


  37. Amit Tyagi says:

    Hi Sir, I am in IT right now. I live in Ghaziabad and work in Noida. About 50 Km Away I have close to 60 Bigha of land in UP. I am looking forward to move to Farming and leave IT job. I want to get some guidance and what are the pitfalls of leaving the job and doing farming.



    • Harsh Lohit says:

      60 bighas – assuming 15 acres – can provide a living, but that will mean giving up your job and living with fewer conveniences, and living in or near your farm. Most probably you will not earn as much cash on the farm as you do and can in an IT services job. The benefits will be more than financial though, health and a certain way of life come to mind. You need to think this through very carefully as the comforts of city life are difficult to give up. As your home is close to your farm, maybe you can find a way to setup the farm while remaining at your job and staying in Ghaziabad on the weekdays. These are all thoughts you need to mull through, with your family. On the farming plan, yes I can suggest what can be done.


  38. Adrian Cleo says:

    Hi, My son is on an EVM project and we’d like to speak with you. Could you please send us contact details? Thank you


  39. Neha Nigam says:

    Always inspired by your positive aura.. I carry back splendid memories of our meetings and townhalls. We remeber working our work schedules to ensure, not even a single session is missed with you. You have been a candid mentor and guide and a wonderful human. Warm Regards..


  40. Neha Nigam says:

    Always inspired by your positive aura.. I carry back splendid memories of our meetings and townhalls. We remeber working our work schedules to ensure, not even a single session is missed with you. You have been a candid mentor and guide and a wonderful human. Warm Regards..


  41. Rajiv Jain says:

    Hello Harsh, Known you through school and later as a silent performer. Even as house captain you were never loud. Came to know from Arvind of your being my immediate neighbour at Noida-59 for over a decade came as a surprise too. On reading your article and advise to some makes me feel how original you remain to truth on today’s people and preserving the roots. Earlier I read of your certain nomadic long trips also. Sure you’re living it up your way. I’m no one to say the right or wrong in it as long as you love it.Keep on brother. God bless


  42. Rajiv Jain says:

    I’m Rajiv Jain (iv)


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