President’s rule used and mis-used again
Even before the Uttarakhand crisis came to its conclusion, the Arunachal Pradesh crisis happened and the Supreme court reinstated the government in Arunachal Pradesh. From the verdict, it is an easy conclusion that central government has indeed used constitutional powers to topple state government going against the spirit of federalism of India. But, it is not the first time that central government has indeed tried to meddle with state governments. History is replete with examples of the same, most noticeable being Indira Gandhi’s tenure when an emergency was declared and also many states specially with non-congress governments went under president’s rule.
Blame it on the mandate?
If there is any thread of commonality between the leaders who are not best known for respecting the federal structure of Indian constitution and India, it could well be the popularity of the governments and the size of the majority with which it is voted. But, no matter how large the size of the victory for the ruling party is, it has its pitfalls and positives. Indira Gandhi and Narendra Modi both stormed to power with a huge mandate, however, they are not the only ones to come to power with a huge mandate, nevertheless, both were historical victories.
Big victory margin vs small victory margin
It is hard not to see, that huge victory margins are indeed used as a facade to overreaching acts of central governments. Huge victory margins do contribute to effective policy making given the sizeable numbers in the Parliament and the consequential ease in passing of bills, on the contrary, not so large majority have often been criticized for policy logjam given the need to bring the opposition into the confidence of passage of crucial bills that requires a 2/3rd majority. If victories by huge margin will result in central governments not respecting the mandate of the state government’s, voters will then have a tough choice ahead. Having said that, an independent judiciary and a vibrant civil society can, in fact, keep in check the overreach of central governments.
Reviving federalism in India
PM Modi has quite often stressed in his speeches to people about Democracy and how it is our strength, yet, his government’s actions wrt Uttarakhand and Arunachal Pradesh do not match the good intent of his words. Democracy gave Mr. Modi and other leaders historic victories, it is up to the leaders to strengthen and revive the spirit of Democracy when in power. In the age of social media, any such overreach by the central government for the purpose of usurping power will not go down well with Indian citizens and for Indian democracy. The incumbent government at the center should not repeat mistakes, the same mistakes those are etched in the history of India. Mr. Modi has a fantastic charisma and leadership capabilities which should be channeled to maintain cordial relations with all states.
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.