The Uttarakhand constitutional crises that has been in the news for around the last two months had begun on March 18, when the Appropriation bill went to vote in the state legislative assembly. 35 of the MLAs voted against the bill, where 27 were from BJP and rest were “rebel Congress leaders”. On the same day, nine rebel Congress leaders along with BJP legislators met with the Uttarakhand Governor KK Paul and asked him to dissolve the assembly and call for fresh elections.
The next day Chief Minister Harish Rawat met the governor and told him that Congress along with six members of Progressive Democratic Front still enjoyed majority in the house.
Governor gave Mr Rawat time till March 28 to prove his majority. On this, the Congress leaders claimed that the BJP government is making systematic attempts to topple governments headed by Congress in different states. Harish Rawat was later accused of horse-trading by the opposition and the Centre. Horse-trading is the unofficial negotiations between two parties, wherein an agreement is reached after shrewd bargaining, subsequent compromises and often exchange of money. It is seen as an unethical and illegal political practice.
On May 22, the BJP met Indian President Pranab Mukherjee asking him to expedite the floor test from March 28 to March 22 and requested him to dismiss the government immediately. Congress MLAs, including Rawat, led by Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, met the President with counterclaims.
The President rule was finally imposed on March 27 and the speaker of the assembly, Gobind Singh Kunjwal disqualified the nine rebel legislators under the anti-defection law. The nine members were put under judicial review.
On March 28, Harish Rawat moved to the Uttarakhand High Court questioning the President’s rule. The disqualified MLAs also filed a petition at HC challenging the Speaker’s action against them.
Meanwhile, the floor test was being continuously delayed, the HC ordered a verdict to lift the President’s rule on April 21, however, it was overruled by the Supreme Court the next day reinstating the President’s rule until April 27.
On April 23, Uttarakhand Assembly Speaker sought dismissal in High Court of the petition of the nine Congress MLAs against their disqualification. Later they told that they had not left the party but only wanted removal of the Chief Minister.
On May 6, the Supreme Court after a lot of delays ordered floor test in the Uttarakhand assembly on May 10 for the Chief Minister Harish Rawat to seek confidence.
Finally Harish Rawat won the floor test on May 10 after 33 votes from Congress and its allies were cast from him in legislative assembly. The Congress will again come to power in Uttarakhand assembly and the President’s rule will be lifted.
The Uttarakhand crises brought the limelight to chief minister Harish Rawat’s horse-trading. We also saw how the President’s rule was brought into action controversially, without much clarification. These instances are harmful for a democracy to perform full-fledgedly.
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.