Born in an aristocratic family of Central Calcutta on 8th July, 1914, Jyotindra Basu or Jyoti Basu, went on to earn the distinction of being the longest-serving Chief Minister of any Indian state with his uninterrupted stint of 23 years of Chief Ministership of West Bengal. After receiving primary education at the Loreto School, Dharamtala, Jyoti Basu completed his schooling from St. Xavier’s School, graduated from the Presidency College (now University) and went to London for Higher Education in Law.
First Political Involvement While studying at the Honourable Society of Middle Temple, London, Jyoti Basu, interacted with eminent Leftist thinkers like Harold Laski, Rajani Palme Dutt, and Harry Pollitt and got engaged with the independence struggle too. Basu joined the India League and also became the General Secretary of the London Majlis (an organisation set up to create a favourable public opinion for Indian Independence and collect funds for students’ movements). There, he also interacted with leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru and Netaji.
Return from London Basu’s family got the biggest shock of their lives when he returned in 1940 and announced his plan to forego the practice of law and instead join the Communist Party of India. After much discouragement from them, Basu joined the Party. Soon, he became the secretary of the Bengal-Assam Railway Workers Union in 1941. In 1951, he became a member of the Central Committee of CPI. After independence, in 1951, he contested and won the elections from the Baranagar Constituency, a seat he retained till 1971. In 1977 he contested from the Satgachhia constituency and retained that seat until his retirement in 2001. On 21st June 1977, he was sworn in as the Chief Minister of West Bengal and finally relinquished his office on 6th November 2000, creating a record of holding the office of the CM for 23 years, 4 months and 17 days, the longest by any Indian!
Opportunity to become Prime Minister Former CBI director and Bengal DGP Arun Prasad Mukherjee wrote in his autobiography that during the politically tumultuous times of 1990-91, former Indian PM Rajiv Gandhi wanted to have Jyoti Basu as Prime Minister and again in 1996, Jyoti Basu was the consensus candidate for Prime Ministership in the United Front Government but once again he let his party decide about it and the party declined the offers as the Communist Party did not participate in the government, a decision which Jyoti Basu termed as a “historic blunder”.
Death Basu resigned from active politics in 2000 because of failing health. After a prolonged illness, he died on 17th January 2010, with a sea of people chanting “Jyoti Basu Amar Rahe” in memory of their beloved leader. Mr. Jyoti Basu’s love for the country, the poor, his political acumen and the respect he earned is second best to none in the world. The Logical Indian remembers Mr. Jyoti Basu from the history to remind our community one of the most celebrated leaders of post independent India. Submitted By – Zohaib Rauf
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.