Sharang Rathore is a big shot in the corporate world who is an ardent cyclist at heart but is in the business of selling high end cars by profession. He always wanted his name to be carved in the record books by doing something different, through his endurance.
The 41 year old from Gurgaon, Haryana approached it in style by creating a national record in the elevation gain through riding. He attained the feat of highest altitude gain of more than 8848 m – the height of Mount Everest – in 18 hours and 27 minutes on a geared bicycle on 24th March 2016. This feat has been has been rightly acknowledged by the Limca Book of Records.
He reiterated his ascending trip to Billing Take Off Point (2400m) in Kangra, Himachal Pradesh from Bir Village (1525m) four times with an average elevation gain of 2207 m each time. He then summed it up with another short ride of 30 m gain, thus covering a total distance of 127.6 km. He started his journey at 3:15am and finished by 9:42 pm. He did take some mini breaks in between to resuscitate himself..
The corporate biggie who turned 41 this November, wanted to ring in his 40th birthday by doing something massive, something that he would cherish for many years to come. He did not fail his family or himself as he went on to inscribe his name in the picturesque hills of Himachal Pradesh.
The Head of Corporate and Direct Sales division of BMW Group, India, Sharang had a tough time juggling between his work and passion. He told TOI, “To train for something big like this, I had to start very early in the morning, sometimes through the weekdays and especially the big rides of over 100 km over the weekends. And to an extent to cover my mileage I had also travelled from home to office and back everyday so that I was able to clock my 40 km or 50 km per day.”
He further elaborated, “If I was not able to cycle down to office – such as when I had to attend a big meeting where I have to be in formal attire – then I would do up and down 10 or 15 times via the stairs in the office building, as I sit on the seventh floor, and that also helped in building up muscles.”
He feels that his Manali-Leh trip was watershed for him. “The Manali-Leh trip was a turning point for me in terms of cycling because we could do a lot of high endurance stuff which I realized I could do on a cycle,” he said.
Rathore arduously voiced, “I would love to continue something or the other, maybe even someday do the Delhi-Bangkok-Malaysia route, along with other cyclists of our Manali-Leh group, which is opened up. If we are able to get a couple of weeks or may be a month off, we would be able to do that as well.”
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.