The safety of women in public transports has been an issue of concern with the cases of harassment rising at an alarming rate. Various measures are been taken by public transport authorities across the country to make it safe again for women. One such effort is the ‘DURGA’ alarms installed by the Banglore Metropolitan Transport Corporation(BMTC) in its buses. According to the Deccan Herald, this initiative was taken to safeguard women and children against any sort of harassment in public transport.
How does this Alarm work
The BMTC has made a pact with Dare To Understand behaviour, Respond appropriately and Guard ourselves Ably (DURGA), a citizen initiative started by Priya Varadarajan for the installations of these alarms. Each of them is priced at Rs 7000 and has been designed by the students of MS Ramaiah Institute of Technology. The manufacturing was done by a Bengaluru based firm.
According to the New India Express, the switches for the alarms are placed on both sides of the buses on the panel between the windows, making them easily accessible even by children. To tackle the problems faced due to the language barrier, pictorial representation of the working of the alarms is also shown.
A protocol has to be followed after the alarm has been triggered, which consists of the driver taking the bus to the left-most part of the road and halting it. The conductor will know where the alarm has been raised and can intervene. If the situation is not addressable at that time, the Depot manager will be alerted who can call the police, if the situation requires. The Alarm has been pressed 10 times since February out of which 4 were the cases of sexual harassment, says Priya.
What is the DURGA
DURGA is a citizens initiative. This initiative was started by Priya Varadarajan to build the skills among girls and women required to recognize inappropriate behaviour and respond to public harassment. On the topic of the alarms, Priya told New India Express that these alarms have not only been used in the case of sexual harassment cases but also in the times of chain snatching and pickpocketing. “Soon the panic alarm system will be integrated with a GPS location of the buses, so that every time the alarm is pressed, the depot manager and traffic command centre of BMTC gets an alert”, Priya added.
Providing means of safety outside buses too
Apart from the alarms, DURGA has started a lot of other campaigns to make women aware of the means to defend themselves. The organisation recently started a drive called the ‘Safe Neighbourhood action programme’, under which they have identified numerous underprivileged schools and colleges in Jayanagar area and intends on teaching them how to respond to emergency situations. DURGA plans to train 1,500 girls by the end of this year and make them capable of tackling any harassment they might face on their own. The organisation also has an online module called ‘Anybody Can Be Durga’, under which they teach people how to tackle harassment by the means of video tutorials.
Even at 76, Pradip Burman, the zestful chairman of Mobius Foundation radiates a contagious enthusiasm when he is talking about sustainability. The environmental crusader, better known to many as the great-grandson of Dabur founder Dr S.K.Burman, has devoted substantial attention towards promoting the concept of sustainability in all aspects of life. He refuses to conform to the convenience and comfort in today’s world which ultimately adds on to the adverse effects of climate change.
Talking to The Logical Indian, Burman emphasised why sustainability as a concept is indispensable for us. “We ought to be aware of what lies ahead of us. Soon we will finish the oil, iron, tin, and coal, and our next generations will be left with nothing. Recycling, banning plastics, stop felling trees for paper… This should become a part of everyone’s lifestyle,” he urges.
Traditional wisdom and modern research
A mechanical engineer from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA, Burman had always nurtured a keen interest in helping the society, as evident from his graduation project of designing a sonic aid for the visually challenged, which detected obstacles in the way using ultrasonic wave signals.
As an executive for the nature-centric company Dabur, Burman has always opted for natural alternatives to solve his everyday problems like taking Ayurvedic medicine to cure his Arthritis. He later launched the veterinary wing for Dabur – Ayurvet – which provides nature-friendly solutions for animal health care.
A patron of the ancient scientific wisdom of India, Burman always hailed the confluence of “traditional knowledge and modern research”, which he advocated as the Ayurvet motto.
As part of the CSR initiative of Dabur, Pradip Burman founded SUNDESH (Sustainable Development Society) which has been tirelessly working for last 25 years in remote villages for uplifting the rural communities in an environmentally sustainable way.
An advocate of sustainability
Burman believes that sustainability is the indispensable mantra for the world at present. Due to uncontrolled utilisation of the planet’s resources by human beings, the world today stands at a juncture of destabilisation. Today the human race has reached the pinnacle of progress but the advancement is happening in a very unsustainable manner.
Through energy-efficient use of everyday essentials like transport, communication, altered habits of diet, clothing and daily living, some crusaders of sustainability try to reduce their carbon footprint. Pradip Burman’s Mobius Foundation is one of the forerunners toward sustainability goals.
Mobius Foundation aims to change the sustainability dynamics
In 2015, Burman paved the way for the start of Mobius Foundation, focused on sustainability. Named after 18th-century German mathematician August Ferdinand Mobius, the famous Mobius strip has an important philosophical significance. The extraordinary shape symbolises balance and union.
Similar is the essence of Mobius Foundation which wishes to enhance the “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” principle to a widespread basis in India, helping generations to come.
Founder Pradip Burman wishes to achieve notable development in education, population stabilisation and renewable energy projects.
A dream school in the making
At Coorg, Pradip Burman’s Mobius Foundation is constructing the World Environment School, Coorg (WESc) where the curriculum will surpass the boundaries of books and classrooms, with a special focus on hands-on learning in close collaboration with the environment. Amidst the pristine natural beauty of Coorg, the school will nurture young minds to grow up into future green leaders. As of now, the school will be open to teenagers, welcoming students from standards 6 to 12.
Needless to say, World Environment School will be the first-of-its-kind not only in India but also in entire South Asia. The school is expected to start from March 2020.
The school promises to nurture the responsible behaviour of citizens of our future.
The Sustainability Conference of 2019
In 2019, the Mobius Foundation has planned an international conference, on the lines of the celebrated earth summits over the past decade. The 2019 International Conference on Sustainability Education (ICSE 2019) aims to bring together environmental activists, practitioners of sustainable development as well as climate change experts to help develop a sustainability-focused curriculum.
It is surmised that the conference will give a platform to innovative concepts of Sustainability Education including an essential change in the existing education system ensuring a wholesome personal development for a student.
The Sustainability crusader
The Mobius founder strongly believes that it is high time to sprout sustainability awareness among a society drowning in consumerism and unknowingly doing irreparable harm to the planet, every second. The best way to achieve this goal is through education which is available to all. At present, the education system is predominantly career-oriented, making the learners a victim of materialism, and thus, their dreams are also outlined in those colours.
Living beyond the limits
When asked about his wish to attain the age of hundred, he strongly asserts that more than becoming a centurion, he wishes his life and work continue to better the society even in his absence. “I have lived my life. I wish that whatever I start before I go, will continue – for the betterment of my country,” says Mr Pradip Burman.
He is also a trustee of the Climate Reality Project – India (affiliated to Mr. Al Gore of the Climate Reality Project Foundation, USA). Climate Reality Project, India, has been actively engaged igniting the spark and spreading the message of climate change amongst educators, policy makers and civil society. The India branch looks after more than 500 trained Climate Leaders, and more than 900 volunteers spread all over the country.
In his journey, Pradip Burman has been a beacon of hope for millions, motivating many to join the movement for sustainability. We wish he continues his tireless efforts for promoting sustainability awareness and inspire generations to come.