The day that changed his life for the worse It was a silent night of 20th February 1998. Mohammed Aamir Khan, an 18-year-old boy left his house in Old Delhi at 9 pm. He didn’t know what was coming his way until he was kidnapped by the people in the car. He was then tied and blindfolded and was forced to sit on the floor of a Maruti Gypsy, later he finds himself in a room filled with 10-12 people who were all dressed as civilians. They started interrogating him and used to torture him when he demanded the location of his whereabouts or when he requested them to let him go home. This painful ordeal went on for a week. This used to happen daily and every time he couldn’t give an answer he was tortured inhumanely. Aamir didn’t know at the time that who were those people and why did they abduct him. After 5-6 days he was asked to sign on a bunch of blank paper. He was again tortured when he refused to do so. His nails were pulled out and was tortured in different other methods until he didn’t give up. After days of torturing, he finally came to know the identity of the people and the reason behind he being picked up. The policemen had picked Aamir on the charge of being the prime conspirator of the 1996-1997 blasts, which shook the nation to the core. In prison, despite the torture, he decided to continue his studies.
Brutal ordeal continues
In the year 2000 after being put in a solitary confinement where he did not have any access to light or outside world and hence had to leave his studies. In the year 2007, he was transferred from Delhi to Ghaziabad, where no lawyer was ready to take his case and fight up for him before he finally got a lawyer from the Human Rights and filed for bail. At the time of hearing they had 15 witnesses, all had denied any accusations made against Aamir. In the year 2010, 15 out of 17 charges were dropped against him and in the year 2012, he was finally acquitted. Mohammed Aamir Khan, who had spent 14 years of his life, finally was a free man. Even after spending such a long time in jail and being a victim of false charges Aamir had reposed his faith in the Judicial system of the country. Mohammed Aamir now works as an NGO activist, is married and has a one-year-old child. He recently launched his book, “Framed as a terrorist”, in which he has narrated his experiences in Jail.
A record to forget
According to the reports made by National Crime Bureau Records of India in the year 2013, 66.2% of total inmates in India were being held in the prison without a trial. According to those reports, a total of 2 Lakhs 54 Thousand 8 Hundred and Fifty Seven are under trial prisoners in our country. The number of acquittals after being arrested in the wake of any terrorist attacks as in the case of Aamir khan is reflective of the arbitrariness of the arrests.
The Logical Indian appeals to the government to bring about mechanisms of speedy trials for the incarcerated people awaiting trials besides false arrests severely dents the credibility besides subjects the citizens to tremendous fear. Proper arrests, free and fair trial and upholding the rule of law are important aspects of democracy that should be strengthened by the government and administration.
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.