Hate speech is on the rise in India, especially from people in positions of power. While social media outrage is the common reaction to such divisive rhetoric, people usually get away with their statements.
So we are asking them to eat their words
Public servants, political figures, media personalities, film stars, internet celebrities have the power to sway public opinion, but with power comes responsibility. In recent example, Rajith Kumar, a biology professor from Kerala said “women who wear jeans & shirts and dress like men give birth to transgender children.” Not only is this scientifically ridiculous, it questions women’s freedom of choice and expression. In a country where we regularly hear news of rapes and victim blaming, statements like this can only make things worse.
“We will do to Deepika what Lakshman did to Shurpanakha,” said Mahipal Singh Makrana, a member of Rajput Karni Sena, during the Padmaavat fiasco. This made followers of the same ideology as that of Karni Sena to go on a rampage against Deepika Padukone. People burnt her effigies. Her life itself was in danger, all because of an irresponsible statement.
That’s when The Logical Indian released a tongue-in-cheek campaign to urge the people behind these words to take back their statements. Eat Your Words, a novel social movement in which offending words are turned into designer cookies. These are then packaged and hand delivered to the very people in power to whom the words belong; a message from every logical Indian who want those words retracted.
Today, the words of the influential have the power to sway the opinions of millions more than ever before. Yet, sometimes they say the most outrageous things. Comment with their names, the statements that you think they should take back, and tell us why. We’ll do our best to have the message delivered to them. #EatYourWords. A new way for us logical Indians to get the powerful to retract illogical statements.
But sorry is often the hardest word, even more so for people in the public eye. Eat Your Words makes apologies a little more accessible by replacing the gravitas of the act with a touch of humour. To show that they are willing to take back the statement, all the recipient has to do is upload a photo of them eating the cookie and share it on social media.
Eat Your Words cookies have already been sent to Salman Khan for his statement that normalises rape, to Sunil Pal for making homophobic statements, Abhijeet Bhattacharya for insulting the economically weaker, Paresh Rawal for suggesting that Arundhati Roy be tied to a jeep and driven around.
If you also believe that it is important for the influential to admit when their words are damaging, please tag your friends in this video and talk about it in the comments. So the next time someone powerful says something that is hurtful, divisive, or just plain illogical, we can tell them that they too need to eat their words.
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.