The Logical Indian community salutes Dutee Chand, the 19-year-old Odisha Sprinter who was successful in getting the ban on her revoked, paving the way for gender equality in sports! She had been dropped out from the Commonwealth Games in June, 2014, by the Athletic Federation of India because it was found that hyperandrogenism made her ineligible to compete as a female athlete.
Hyperandrogenism means excessive secretion of androgens (male sex hormones), which is suspected to give female athletes advantage over their female competitors. In 2011 International Association of Athletics Federation had established guidelines requiring female athletes to have testosterone levels below 10 nanomoles per liter.
The incident of banning her had been regarded as a breach of her right to be recognized as a woman and a slur on her dignity. Dutee felt that she lost all her honour. People had started suspecting whether she was a male or a female, her friends shunned her and in training centers, where girls use to share rooms, she was kept separately.
However, Dutee was undeterred and took the issue to the Court of Arbitration for Sport. She felt that the IAAF hyperandrogenism regulations were irrelevant in her case, as those features were in her body naturally, by birth, and not because of some drugs. For this reason she did not go in for a surgery, for removal of internal testes, which produce testosterone. She valiantly presented her case before the jury with the help of Katrina Karkazis and emotionally appealed that her right to be recognized as a woman be granted. And she won!
On Monday, the Court of Arbitration for Sports ruled in favour of suspending the hyperandrogenism regulation for female track and field sports for two years because there is no convincing scientific evidence that there is a link between enhanced androgen levels and improved athletic performance (in women athletes). The IAAF has been given two years to establish the link between the two. It has also been told to formulate a new basis for division of athletes into males and females because the question of whether an athlete is male or female does not have any easy answers, especially if a person is born with different hormonal levels. This effectively removes the suspension of Dutee from competition, clearing her to race again. She has been recognized as a woman and her levels of testosterone have been declared natural.
Indeed, Dutee has made history with her courageous decision to challenge a policy she felt was unfair to her and all woman athletes. She has paved the way for the benefit of a broad class of female athletes. Her fans and supporters are thrilled that she can resume running and wish her luck for all her future endeavours! We hope that she will prepare well for the Asian championship and other international events, bagging gold medals in tournaments to come.
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.