Robin Singh learnt to love animals from his mother. From saving puppies fallen in the drain to starting the Peepal Farm, it has been an interesting journey for an animal lover.
Robin worked as a professional hacker in America. But things changed when he visited India in 2011. He says, “When I was 31, I felt disillusioned with my work there. I felt an angst to find the purpose of my life. I realised I would never be happy till I followed my passion. And that was when I met Lorraine. She took care of 60 dogs then. So, I decided to join forces with her. This was the birth of the Peepal Farm.”
Robin says, “We were searching for an appropriate place, and we decided on Dharamshala because of the right climate and altitude. Also, we wanted visitors with the right mindset. And with a monastery so close, we hoped the right people would visit us.”
Peepal Farm was started with seed funding. Now they have a farm, and the produce grown here is sold online as well as offline. They also receive some donations. But the plan is to turn Peepal Farm into a self-sustaining model.
Robin says, “I want to create a space where stray animals can have some sort of storytelling. Now the laws don’t protect the stray animals nor the humans they hurt. This causes an escalation of the man-animal conflict. “
Robin also feels that Peepal Farm has the luxury of experimenting to increase farm produce. He says, “The actual producers live on subsistence. It is a hand-to-mouth existence for them. If they face problems with organic farming, they cannot afford it. So, we try to experiment with different solutions at Peepal Farm, and when something succeeds, we implement it among the farmers around.”
Robin has also implemented the interesting concept of Culture Jamming. He says, “Some people think rationally, and some take decisions based on other factors, like what is trending. For instance, the ritual of feeding a black dog on Saturday. The purpose is to feed a stray dog, but the rationale is religious. Culture Jamming is aligning the end objective with culture. This way we can mould behaviour, and get the desired result.”
Robin also says that people create a huge ‘suffering footprint’ by consuming from nature mindlessly. He feels that we should consume products from nature, whether directly or indirectly, by following mindful consumption. He says, “Whether you kill an animal for meat, or you milk it, you are causing suffering in nature. And we should try to contain this by consuming mindfully.”
Robin Singh found his calling in Peepal Farm and turned his love for animals into a place where the stray animals will find care and nurture.