“It’s very hard to fall in love again. Especially for a prostitute. Ever since I have understood life, every inch of my soul has suffered in grief. I have no idea what my age is or who my parents were. I have spent my life on the street. And my daughter was the only reason for my breath. I never told her what my profession was. She was a beautiful chubby child; it was very difficult to lie to her, especially when she smiled at me. Whenever she asked me, ‘Why are you going to work at night, amma?’ I could hardly speak to her, but sometimes I told her; ‘I never wanted to work at night.’ Without understanding anything, she’d always hug me before I left home. I wanted to get out of that gang. I tried to escape many times. I badly wanted to save my life. But I knew no one, nobody came to help me ever since I’ve woken up in this bastard world. Everyone used me, played with my heart. Left me devastated and I had no idea where I was going.
That was a rainy day, it was raining heavily; I was standing under a tree, waiting for the sunset. I did not even notice the beggar sitting in the wheel chair on the other side of the tree. I was crying hard and the rain was pouring onto me. I had no idea how long I had screamed in anger, in agony. I wanted to return to my daughter, I did not want to go anywhere with any stranger. I was very tired. Tired of being used at every place by everyone. Suddenly I heard the crack of the wheelchair; he coughed loudly to get my attention. I did not try to weep off my tears and told him that I had no money for a beggar. He handed me a fifty taka note and said that was all he had. He warned me about the coming storm and requested me to go back home. I was numb. The money was already wet but I kept that dearly in my plum. I saw him pushing his wheel chair while moving in the rain; saw him going far away from me. For the first time in my life that evening, someone gave me something without using me. That day I cried deeply while returning to my hut. That day for the first time, I felt loved.
That very same monsoon, I searched for him until I found him several days later, sitting under a tree. I came to know that his wife left him because of his disability. By gaining a lot of courage, I told him that I won’t be able to love again, but I could push his wheelchair for a lifetime. At that moment, he smiled and said, ‘Not everyone can push a wheelchair without love’. We are married for four years. During our wedding, he promised me, no matter what he would never let me cry again. Some days we do not have lunch. Even today, we have only one plate of chot pati and were sharing it together. We have already passed many difficult days, months and years. But I have never cried again, standing under any unknown tree. Abbas Miah has kept his promise.”
– Rajiya Begum
It’s very hard to fall in love again. Especially for a prostitute. Ever since I have understood life, every inch of my…
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.