In an ongoing remarkable movement in the four districts of North Karnataka, activists of Gram Seva Sangh are walking 246 kilometers in 16 days demanding better price for handmade goods. The ‘Padayatra’ is led by theatre personality Prasanna.
He is also an acclaimed activist. The ‘yatra’ started from Kodekal in Yadgir district on January 30th. The activists will walk through Hampi and Hospet and end at Gollarahalli village in Bellary district on February 14.
What is the all ‘Padayatra’ about?
The activists of Gram Seva Sangh who are leading the ‘Padayatra’ aims to unify all the craftsmen and put up a demand to get better prices for their handmade goods. Prasanna who is leading the campaign said as quoted by The News Minute, “There are many aspects to this protest walk. One is to get a better price for handmade products, which is the larger issue we are concerned with. Another aspect is to give more respect to the people who make these products.
Former protest carried out in favor of handmade goods
Before the ‘Padayatra’ another movement called ‘Tax Denial Satyagraha’ was a hunger strike held last year in October. It was carried out against the Goods and Services Tax (GST) levied on the handmade goods. The activists demanded that the GST on handmade goods should be reduced to zero. As a result, Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley declared that 29 handmade goods shall be tax free.
However, it is unclear as to what are those specific 29 handmade goods. Prasanna says as reported by The News Minute that GST did not consider handmade goods as a separate category but through the ‘Tax Denial Satyagraha’, Prasanna along with the fellow activists first determined the definition of handmade goods. The Gram Seva Sangh defined handmade products as any product that uses not less than two thirds of the hand process and not more than one third of the hand process.
How does ‘Padayatra’ strive to fulfil its objective?
After the ‘Tax Denial Satyagraha’, Prasanna carried out a couple of other hunger strikes and protest marches. However, the on going ‘padayatra’ aims to join the craftsmen along the route and unanimously demand better price for handmade goods and respect for the craftsmen. The News Minute also reports that through the ongoing protest march, Prasanna strives to ‘transmit the richness of social lives of handmade workers’.
The Logical Indian Take
The Logical Indian believes that handmade goods are not just cultural carrier of different groups but most importantly it remains one of the major source of income for the artisans and craftsmen who work to sustain a living for themselves and their families. Craftsmen and their handicrafts must be preserved by encouraging them with not just a fair compensation by also by having utmost reverence for their art.
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.