RB Shivkumar, a 41-year-old leaf merchant in Rajajinagar, Bangalore has become a ray of hope for the needy people in his city. He collects the leftover food from social gatherings, conventional halls in nearby areas, and distributes it amongst the poor people. In this manner, food is saved from wastage.
His journey started 16 years back when he was surprised to see the alarming rate at which food that was wasted every time a gathering was hosted. After pouring much thought to it he decided to lead the change.
It has not been a child’s play as there were emerging concerns regarding the food that might turn stale or unfit to be consumed if kept for long. For this reason, Shivkumar tasted the food first before distributing it to the people in need.
Food wastage in Bengaluru
The 2011 survey report by the University of Agricultural Sciences says that food worth 400 crore rupees are wasted every year in social gatherings in Bengaluru.
Shivkumar has tied up with almost 100 marriage halls in the city. Putting the food in large containers, it reaches around 20,000 people through his vehicle dedicated for this service. He received around 120 calls on the eve of Akshay Tritya and collected food from almost 40 halls and went ahead to feed 28,000 slum dwellers.
Shivkumar’s father is proud of this service which Shivkumar does for the society and he further adds, “I also distribute the leftover food at old-age homes and orphanages. I collect the leftover food from at least 10 marriage halls everyday during the marriage season.”
According to a report by The New Indian Express, Shivkumar finds it unfair to waste food when many still crave for a single meal in a day.
However, he is always ready to assist the ones’ who want to join this service. His good deeds do not end just here as he also supplies fresh drinking water at over 80 bus stands. In addition, to that, he has also built 20 built shelters.
He says, “I have asked my employees to plant two saplings a day and to water them daily. The forest department has assured me that they would supply 1,000 saplings,” he said in a report published in The New Indian Express.
The owner of Chikkamma Ramaiah Kalyana Mantapa, a Mantapa from where Shivkumar picks up food is satisfied that the food doesn’t get wasted anymore and reaches the hungry people.
Shivkumar’s deeds don’t just end here, as he also sponsors 10 school children every year, distributes textbooks and notebooks among government schools, lends bus passes to the lower income families and textbooks to their children all free of cost. It is inevitable that such exceptional work would go unnoticed and going by that Shivkumar also received a donation from a woman who noticed him on the rounds while he was busy working for the people.
The Logical Indian Community salutes such extraordinary efforts by the common man, who has been working selflessly for the welfare of the society.
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.