A very popular motto goes “Self-help is the best help” which emphasizes the importance of self-initiative. The very fact has been proven by the farmers from Baheri District of Uttar Pradesh. They have taken a self-initiative to construct a dam.
History of the dam
The dam was constructed under British rule. It collapsed in 1990. The farmers started facing irrigation-related issues since then. After the incident, six MLAs were elected from Baheri but they failed to pay attention to the farmer’s request for getting a ‘pucca dam’.
The farmers from over 25 villages collected around Rs 70,000 while the other villagers contributed in kinds. The construction of this dam has begun on 17th October 2016 by using mud and sand bags. The dam will be ready by 28th October 2016. It is said to be 98-feet-long and 20-feet-wide.
Delay from government authorities
“Before 1990, the district administration used to construct a kutcha dam every rabi season. Dring the monsoon, the dam was not able to stand and was always remade just before winter. But after it got collapsed in 1990, the construction of the dam was stopped due to increased input cost. We had asked state government and even sent a proposal to them in 2014 for constructing a pucca dam but the proposal is still pending.” says SS Awasthi, Chief development officer (CDO), as reported by The Times of India.
He also said that the villagers had informed him about the construction of the dam with public participation at Tehra village and they will be starting the same work in neighboring Khamariya village from Friday.
Water Crisis and Deterioration of crops
The farmers of the Baheri village had been facing irrigation-related problems since last two decades. After several requests to the administration and waiting for the government to build the dam in their village, the farmers took a self-initiative to built the dam.
The farmers had been facing a lot of irrigation-related problems which would damage the crops. After the dam was collapsed the water was scarce for irrigation and that would deteriorate the quality of the crops.
Persuasion by former MLA
The former MLA and chief of Kisan Kalyan Samiti, Jaideep Singh Barar persuaded villagers to take the matter in their hands and construct a dam on their own.
“We met the officials but they told us that we would not be able to make a dam here on our own. We proved them wrong and after completing the construction here in Tehra village, we will now construct a dam at Khamariya village,” said Barar as reported by The Times of India.
Even though the farmers have constructed the dam, they want the administration to ensure its safety.
A farmer Khalil Ahmad said that the officials never paid attention to their request and now when the dam is constructed they are visiting the site.
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.