The 8th edition of the Syed Modi International Grand Prix Gold Badminton tournament concluded on 29 January 2016 and provided some great moments and excitement along the way. After being given a BWF Grand Prix status in 2009, the competition has provided a great platform for some of the younger badminton players to prove their mettle against some of the best in the world.
This year was no different as we saw some great young prospects in Indian Badminton such as Sameer Verma, Sai Praneeth, Harsheel Dani, Videhi Chowdhury and Rituparna Das among others go head to head against established players in the world game such as PV Sindhu, Srikanth Kidambi, Hans Kristian Vittinghus and Beatriz Corrales.
The mixed doubles draw, boasting the likes of Nielsen & Pederson from Denmark provided some great competition, but it was the two Indian pairs who managed to reach the finals. Sumeeth Reddy teaming up with Ashwini Ponappa went head to head with their compatriots Pranav Jerry Chopra and Sikki Reddy. It was a fierce battle with both teams trying their best. It was, however, Chopra and Reddy who emerged winners in the dying moments of the game, edging it 22-20. Gathering confidence with their first game win, they drew a comfortable win for the match with a 22-20, 21-10 win.
Unfortunately, this joy lasted only a little while as top seeds Juhl and Pederson lived up to their reputation and beat Chopra and Reddy 21-16, 21-18 in the mixed doubles finals.
The much-celebrated doubles pair of Mathia Boe and Carsten Morgensen outplayed their Chinese Taipei opponents to emerge winners in the men’s doubles finals with a 21-14, 21-15 score.
PV Sindhu, meanwhile, continued her great form leading up to the event as she claimed the Women’s Singles Gold defeating Gregoria Mariska of Indonesia in the final. The Indian did not drop a single game throughout the tournament and dispatched every challenge that came along the way with utmost ease. The final was no different as she seemed totally in control throughout the game as the match ended 21-13, 21-14. This was Sindhu’s first ever Syed Modi International title win.
The most intriguing story of the tournament was the men’s singles draw where we found two unlikely finalists in the form of Sameer Verma and Sai Praneeth who ensured their place in the finals after defeating much higher ranked opponents.
While Sai Praneeth defeated former world number 2 and Rio Quarterfinalist Srikanth Kidambi in the semi-final in a competitive contest lasting three games, Sameer Verma caused one of the biggest shocks of the tournament as he got the better of championship favourite Hans-Kristian Vittinghus 21-15, 21-13 in the quarterfinals.
Both the shuttlers were confident heading into the final, but it was Sameer who was the winner as the match ended 21-19, 21-16. The match was a close-contested affair with Sai Praneeth providing a great challenge to his counterpart, but Sameer ended up winning the more crucial points in the game and thus the match.
The Syed Modi International Grand Prix Gold Badminton tournament has been a breeding ground for many young Indian talents down the years and this year seemed no different. Hopefully, we will be seeing more of young Sameer Verma, Sai Praneeth and Harsheel Dani in the future and see them challenge the elites of the world game on a more consistent basis.
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.