According to popular belief, prisons act as the ideal method to transfer the principle of punishment to the society at large. But the “get tough” approach may not have the necessary data to back it to prove that incarceration, in fact, declines crime rate and reforms criminals into good citizens.
So the question that arises here is — correction or punishment?
When more than 3 lakh people of our population inhabit prisons, it is essential that our country’s jails don’t act as confinement rooms where criminals sit and ponder upon what they did wrong, but serve as a place for them to put their minds into constructive work.
The inmates of Nellore Central Prison have generated Rs 2 crore through their own sweat and blood by engaging in various production activities. More than 200 convicts have been directing their talents toward agriculture, horticulture, dairy farming and sheep rearing.
Speaking to The Logical Indian, Nellore Central Jail Superintendent MR Ravi Kiran, said, “Central prison Vellore has 25 acres of closed prison and 45 acres of semi-open prison. In the closed prison section we have empty enclosures for future expansion which are now being used for agriculture. The jail’s lands are used for cultivating medicinal plants and supplying to Himalaya Drugs. Parts of it are also built as compost land and another part will be converted into a brick industry shortly.”
“The entire project is the brainchild of Deputy Inspector General of Prisons G Jayavardhan to make the prison self-sustained. A dairy unit was started in the premises with 10 buffalos a year back. We had taken a loan of Rs 6 lakh from the head office – Andhra Pradesh prison – for the same. The investment was used to rear cattle and we have repaid the loan back. The strength of our daily cattle has also increased to 25 buffalos and 10 cows. The prison campus also houses 80 odd sheep,” he added.
The milk produced in the open jail dairy farm is sold to the closed jail for the consumption needs of its inmates. A part of the land in the open jail is also used to produce vegetables and any extra produce (the remaining after sale to closed prison) is sold in the open market.
“Around 200 prisoners, out of the 453 prison population, take part in this. The inmates of closed prison are not supposed to work, whereas the ones in simple imprisonment can be put to work only if they so desire. The only mandatory work for them is to maintain their own barracks. We put the other inmates to work,” said Kiran.
There are around 30 open jail prisoners who maintain the dairy and the sheep rearing unit and they get paid for their work.
The Logical Indian community commends the efforts of Nellore Central Jail for encouraging its inmates to take part in constructive production work. Incarceration should be associated with corrective and not retributive punishment.
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.