Harekala Hajabba is an orange vendor in the city of Mangalore, Karnataka, and a well-known social reformer. He is known for the revolution he has brought in rural education within his state. He kept part of his savings from selling oranges, to start a school in the region he came from so that the children there could get educated. Today, the school, which has grown with government support and donations from private individuals, is known as Hajabba School. He is affectionately known as ‘ Akshara Santa’ (The saint of letters) in Mangalore city.
His Motivation Behind Opening the school
Daily, he takes a trip of 25 km to Mangaluru city from his native place Newpadupu village to sell oranges. Once he encountered a foreign couple, who asked him the prices of oranges Hajaba turned numb and felt embarrassed as he was not able to understand their language. This Incident affected Hajaba very emotionally and he pledged to put forth a primary school for the children of his village to educate them as he himself was not educated.
How the school started and the struggle
He spent his lifetime savings to build a school in his village, it brought a revolution in the arena of rural education.And all these didn’t come as easy as we talk about it. The altruistic man kept saving money for 15 years from his every day earning to support the cause.
Starting with mere 28 students and a strong desire to literate every child in the village, Hajaba began the school at a Madrasa-an educational premise most often in premises of a Mosque. With no intentions to halt just yet the man rendered all his efforts towards convincing the government to sanction land for building a proper school as the small premise wasn’t fulfilling all the needs. He kept pursuing the government offices to get the land for the school and finally in 2000 the primary school started functioning in its full fledge.
Further, Hajaba worked diligently to upgrade the school to high school in June 2011 and in June 2014, the dream came true as ‘Dakshina Kannada Zilla Panchayat Higher Primary School’. The high school came into force as a result of government support and funding from some private individuals.
His Present Condition
Hajaba fall prey to depression as he had spent all his savings for the school and hence couldn’t afford a repair of his house. Pertaining to the ill health Hajaba was admitted to the hospital, then the President of Union Christian Association (UCA) Alban Menezes was informed by Hajaba’s son about the scenario who gifted a 15 lakh house to the man spending 13.5 lakh on his own and the remaining 1.5 lakh was collected from UCA members.On receiving such an overwhelming response, Hajabba said, “I never dreamt of living a house worth Rs 15 lakh in my life. Today, I am extremely happy, thankful and I pray for the well-being of the donors who built me a house. I am an ordinary man and I have not earned a single rupee for myself.”
The Logical Indian Community salutes remarkable efforts by Hajaba, a man who still sweeps in his own established school and the person who doesn’t even own a single chair there, and feels obliged to him for taking up issues as pivotal as rural education which the government must have taken up way earlier.
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.