When success comes knocking, we say it with sweets; no celebration is complete without a scrumptious feast; no medium of love as effective as a mouth-watering meal by the traditional wife or mother. But all that may change if the lifestyle trends of the population continue, for India stands to be the ‘Diabetes Capital of the World’: According to WHO estimates, about 50.9 million people in India suffer from diabetes, and this figure is likely to go up to 80 million by 2025.
Diabetes, Sugar, hyperglycemia, however you know it, is a lifelong illness that affects our body’s ability to utilize the energy derived from food. The human body breaks down carbohydrates into a simple sugar, glucose, which acts as fuel for the body’s cells. A naturally-produced hormone called insulin is necessary for the cells to take up this glucose from the bloodstream. People with diabetes either do not produce enough insulin, cannot use the insulin produced, or both. Hence, the unused glucose builds up in the blood, and in high levels can damage tiny blood vessels of the kidneys, heart, eyes or nervous system. The accumulated glucose also decreases the body’s ability to fight microorganisms like bacteria and serve as a suitable environment for them to flourish in, increasing risk of infections.
It can arise due to multiple reasons. For some, it runs in the family and Indians also fall into the high-risk category ethnicity. Some people get it because of an auto-immune process where the body starts attacking its own insulin-producing cells. Few may get it following diseases of the pancreas, the organ responsible for insulin production and release. But the most common reason for India’s alarming rise in diabetics is a combination of sedentary lifestyle, bad nutrition and chronic stress. Too many of us are stuck indoors with no physical activity all day, conveniently gorging on oil-dripping, sugar-infused, fast food, or stressed out on a daily basis by everything from deadlines to relationships and future plans.
This has led to the increased incidence of diabetes at younger ages. At this rate, the next generation might even be the first to have a lower life expectancy than the parent generation! Add to that the high risk of developing blindness, renal failure, heart problems and ulcers requiring limb amputations in late diagnoses and uncontrolled disease, and even those who live into old age are bound to face a lot of misery.
But all is not lost, as we can still do our part in preventing, or at least delaying, this scenario. Taking measures to eat well, play well and sleep well will go a long way. People, including children, should be educated regarding nutrition, exercise, stress management and early screening for diabetes. Those who are diagnosed with the illness can lead a near-normal life with proper treatment and glucose control. Every battle can be overcome with the right amount of fight, and this one is no exception.
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.