The people of Kashmir have a reason to smile. Curfews, shutdowns and restrictions on the public life have literally made the most controversial north Indian state, come to a standstill. Amidst such disorder, an eight-year-old girl from the state created history, on Friday, by winning the coveted gold medal for India in the World Kickboxing Championship of under-eight players in Italy’s southern coastal city of Andria, becoming the first player from the Valley to achieve such a feat.
Tajamul Islam, a class two student of the Army Goodwill School hails from Tarkpora village in Bandipora district, which is 65 km from Srinagar. She defeated her rival from USA to win the championship where ninety countries participated in the event.
Her coach Master Fasil Ali Dar beams with pride and this triumph indeed makes her the world’s youngest kick boxer to win an international gold. “She (Islam) has created history by winning a gold medal in the game at the age of eight,” said PDP leader Waheed Parra, who is also J&K State Sports Council secretary. Her coach added,“The sub-junior level closes at 14 years of age. Tajamul was the youngest in the category.”
In 2015, Islam gained the national recognition after bagging the gold medal in sub-junior category National Kickboxing Championship in New Delhi. The win paved the way for her participation in the World Championships. She had also won a gold medal in the Jammu and Kashmir Wushu Championships held at Haridwar, earlier this year.
She was coached by him for two years in the backyard of his house. “The girl came to me when she had just passed her upper kindergarten. Earlier, I had spotted Tajamul from a distance. She wasn’t yet completely conversant with the rules of the game but she had the speed. I found her instinctively aggressive,” said Fasal. And he also feels that her feat is more sterling keeping in mind the strained situation Kashmir has been facing for more than a century now.“We lack even the basic infrastructure. Yet, she won gold.”
Tajamul says in an interview, “I was walking near the stadium here when I saw many young boys and girls training. I saw them punching and I told my father that I wanted to join them and he let me.” Her father, Ghulam Mohammad Lone, is a driver for a construction company and somehow manages to make ends meet. There had been no lack of encouragement from him as he had sent Tajamul and her two sisters and two brothers to learn martial arts in Fasal’s academy.
This little girl’s story is inspiring and will motivate lot of girls to break barriers and achieve their dreams. “Our village is very backward but I, along with other kids like me, are going to take it to new heights,” she added.
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.