“Last year we fled together. We never thought we could do that. I knew that our children may stop communicating with us. But I and my wife are living forty seven years together. Every day after sunrise she wakes up me first and together we do our prayers. Forty seven years we never had spent a day without each other. Seeing my wife’s face was the first thing happen to me every day. We struggled together with our six children. In the past, often times I was able to manage one time food for my family, I and my wife starved whole day after feeding our children. She never complained, never told me that I was failed as a husband. After so much suffering we never left each other’s side, never fought one single day, and never lost faith on each other. When my elder son took me and the youngest daughter took their mother, we did not realize that they decided to take us separately. Our children earn little and they have their expenses. After fulfilling their children’s need our need was burden to them. We knew everything but it was impossible for us to accept that we cannot be together anymore. I shamelessly asked my elder son and he was very surprised. He informed me that none of them are capable of taking care both of us.
I tried to adjust. But every morning when I wake up I wanted to see her smile. I spent my whole day by waiting for my son’s arrival so I could talk to her with the phone he had. But he arrived late night when on the other side my daughter usually went to sleep. The day when I was able to hear her voice none of us could speak a word. I heard how hard she tried to keep clam her tearful voice and I murmured stupid things. I never thought life can become so meaningless without each other. Every day I felt to run to my daughter’s house which was far away from mine. Then one day by gaining some courage I told her that I wanted to run together. By surprising me, she asked me to go right away. I took my walking stick and never looked back. We run away together with empty hand.
Now I sell children’s toy. I hardly can manage 100 taka every day and after I return to home I found food on our bed. Our children arrived once to see us last year; they told us how we failed them, how humiliated they felt for our behavior. We did not say anything. We do not want to hurt them. They decided to never come again. Sometimes we feel bad for our children, we miss them. But we know we are running out of time. I am fifteen years older than my wife. Any day I may die in the road while selling children’s toy. So I keep saving some money in a mud bank, I do not want my wife to beg to people to finish my last work. But every day my wife cries a lot during her prayer, whenever I ask her why she is crying so much, she would always say, ‘I want to die with you’.”
– Samsuddin Miah (77) with her wife Rekha Begum (62)
Last year we fled together. We never thought we could do that. I knew that our children may stop communicating with us….
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.