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Mumbai – Man wants to save lives with his ‘ anti-suicide’ ceiling fan rods

Mulund man wants to save lives with his ‘anti-suicide’ ceiling fan rods
Sharad Ashani’s invention costs Rs 250 and can be retrofitted into old units.

Sharad Ashani says it was model Nafisa Joseph‘s suicide, in June 2004, that spurred him into creating his ‘anti-suicide’ ceiling fan rods. Over the last 12 years, Ashani, a retired Crompton Greaves assistant general manager, has improved upon the original design of the rod, and two months ago, started production of the safety down rod at his workshop in Bhandup West.

“Data from the National Crime Record Bureau says that out of about 1.3 lakh people who commit suicide each year, 60,000 do so by hanging themselves, and the ceiling fan features in half of these suicides. What I am doing is stopping people from accessing the most used avenue to commit suicides in the country,” says Ashani.

Ashani’s plan to save lives hinges on the safety down rod. When someone tries to hang themselves, the rod disengages from the fan, and deposits the person safely on the ground. The rod comes with an unlatching mechanism that is activated the moment the load on the fan exceeds a determined value. Ashani, who has obtained a patent for his invention, wants every ceiling fan to feature his safety rod instead of the regular rod fans comes with today.

“The spring expands and the person lands on the ground safety without the motor housing or blades causing injuries. This is my way of giving back to society. We are least bothered about safety. The helmet had to be made mandatory for people to start wearing it. I’d think this rod too could save many lives if its use is popularised,” says Ashani, whose idea was one of the winners of Mahindra’s Spark The Rise competition, in 2011.

Last week the electrical engineer, a Mulund resident, sought an approval from the Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises to incorporate ‘wiring’ into his safety down rod. Ashani claims to have conducted nearly 500 trials of his product in the last decade, and says that the design of the spring used in the rod, too, has been created in-house. “Designing a spring is the work of a mechanical engineer, but I did a lot of research and got around to creating one. When I was testing it many years ago, the fan fell on my head, but thankfully, I was wearing a helmet. Now, my equipment is fully tested and safe.”

The 61-year-old has so far produced over 100 rods, and says that his firm is equipped to build about 10,000 units a month. He is also open to donating rods to hostels, and will soon start meeting fan manufacturers to gauge their interest. “I will also look at the used market to reach out to more people. Around 25 lakh ceiling fans are manufactured every month, and the market is huge, so we need to reach out.” Ashani, who is at his workshop at 9am every day and stays back till late, says that his safety down rod, which will be marketed under the ‘Gold Life’ brand name, is like open source software, and every fan manufacturer can use it. “It can also be purchased for Rs 250 and can be retrofitted into both new and old fans,” says Ashani.

Ashani says that unlike most retirees, he does not intent to travel, or relax, and, instead, is already working on adding more features to the safety down rod. “I’m trying to incorporate an alarm into the set-up, so that people will be alerted.”

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Comments (2)


    The invention of such rods is helpful. They can be installed in colleges and universities where suicide rate is high. The inventor should be heartily congratulated

  2. Dr. Satyendra Bhandari

    I feel haapy that someone has thought on the exact same lines as I did quite sometime ago. Now this may look self advertisement, but I can share the entire idea of mine which I described in my email to my friend in Indore many months ago. This exists on Gmail. I can share the details. Surprisingly Sharad’s idea runs exactly on the same lines.

    I am a Retd. Space Scientist from ISRO and do keep coming with such ideas. I would not like to say that Sharad has copied my idea. Perhpas it is the idea for which the TIME had come.

    It would be nice if Sharad interacts with me to know the reality of my claim.

    Dr. Satyendra Bhandari,


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