Ice-skating is not a sport that we associate with India. But despite the obscurity of the sport in the country, the 13th National Ice-skating Championship was held in Gurgaon on 5-6 January this year as competitors from various states of India and even some Indians from abroad locked horns against each other to be crowned the national champion. Initially scheduled to be held in Shimla, the lack of decent snowfall meant the thin layer of natural ice cover would not be suitable to host the event. Hence the game was shifted to iSkate at Gurgaon at the last moment which gave the host less than two days to welcome the skaters. The championships featured events as varied as Speed Skating India (Long Track), Short Track Speed Skating India & Figure Skating India and proved to be an exciting watch for several spectators who turned up for the event.
“In India, we do not have the ‘international standard’ infrastructure to conduct the ice skating events,” said Mr Avadhut S. Tawade, the head coach and chief referee for the Short Track Speed Skating Team India. He added, “Therefore, most of the times in India ISAI have to organise camps/championships in places where facilities are available at the last minute. In India, we have three major natural ice skating rinks at Leh/Ladakh, Shimla (Himachal Pradesh) & Gulmarg (Jammu & Kashmir).”
Most major Ice-skating Championships are scheduled in the months of August to September in various countries, the lack of proper infrastructure and necessary funds means that the championship is held in January in our country.
On January 5, 2017, Short Track Speed Skating Championship was successfully conducted. 150 participants from twelve states (Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamilnadu, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Jharkhand & Haryana) were part of it. Maharashtra and Karnataka dominated the podiums. On January 6, 2017, the Figure Skating Championship was successfully organised. There were 50 athletes in this event. Andhra Pradesh exclusively dominated the podium.
Mr Tawade seemed delighted at the success of the event despite all the adversities faced in the build up to it, claiming, “In India, we do not have standard ice skating rink, we do not have proper infrastructure to practice ice skating. But, overall this championship shows that Ice Skating in India is ‘alive’, and I am happy for that. Two of my male athletes successfully qualified for the Jr World Short Track Speed Skating Championship, Innsbruck Austria which will be conducted from 27-30 Jan 2017”.
Indeed, it is a matter of pride for our country that two young boys, Ashwin D Silva and CA Kavirajprithvi, with little to no support from the government, will be going to Austria to compete with some of the best in the world and shows the potential of the sport in our country.
Mr Tawade looked particularly upbeat about the future of Ice-Skating in our country. “I would say that the sport would grow a lot in the future. I am very hopeful for overall future scope & developments of Ice Skating in India”, he said in conclusion.
With the progress made in the last few years, it is safe to say that the future of the sport in our country looks bright and it might just be a matter of time before we discover an Olympian for ice-skating from India.
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.