Before I present the Paper … A few personal coordinates This is the City of Guwahati from the Map of India This is the Institution • That made me an Engineer • Shaped me as a Teacher & Counsellor • Inspired to make efforts towards Sustainability My Paper Networking Young India For Sustainable Development is Dedicated to my parents without whom my life would have been unsustainable My Family Why this theme out of so many? • Benefits of Networking • My training as a Communicator • My supreme faith in children & youth • Disillusionment with existing polity and society • My strong involvement with S&T Popularisation Sustainability in India • Very ancient concept, widely documented • But contexts have been changing fast • Sustainable to unsustainable? • What ails this great country? Root cause of all problems Explosion of Population • Population in the year 1947 : 340 million (year of independence) • Population in the last Census : 1040 million • Nothing else has multiplied 3 fold in these 57 years!! • Not food, neither energy, nor infrastructure. Can India be Sustainable ? Analysis of Reasons: 1. Too much of centralised Planning 2. Development against Gandhian Principles 3. Clear division between “India” and “Bharat” 4. English education & legacy outstripping others 5. Low literacy and awareness levels Lamenting for what we don’t have will not solve the problems. So we decided to convert our problems into opportunities. One major thrust area has been popularization of Science & Technology • Impart right kind of knowledge through formal systems • Train young people through non-formal systems • Create love for “scientific methods” • Stand against evils & superstitions • Promote sustainable development in all aspects of life VIPNET Clubs A new Dimension in Education • Created in 1998 by Ministry of Science & Technology • Existing and Fresh units offered free Registration • Intellectual support provided from the beginning • Trainings, workshops, seminars, contests organized • Voice to opinions through dedicated Newsletters • Dedicated websites, electronic connectivity provided • Excitement of Networking felt by all units Strength of our Efforts… • Conceived out of necessity; not for fun or pastime. • Rejection of reckless grants & endowment policies. • Promoting “Learning by Doing” philosophy. • Constant linkages between actions and community. • Utilizing the vast strength of networking. • Train on “sustainability” without “revivalism”. Give one fish to a person; he will be fed for a day. Teach him how to fish; he will be free from hunger. Spread of VIPNET: • 80% of Indian States & Union Territories covered • 6000 active units registered till date • Rural clubs clearly outnumbering urban • Variety of activities regularly carried out • Accountability fixed, quarterly reports sought • Popular issues are: Health & sanitation Astronomy & celestial phenomena Explaining science Use of folk art forms & behind miracles media Rocketry & associated Ecology & environment phenomena Ham radio Hydroponics Achievements of VIPNET Stand against reckless tourism: Kempty example Drinking water clean-up revolution: Ratlam example Achievements of VIPNET … Fight against social evils: Kandhamal example Forest management, resource sharing: JFM case Achievements of VIPNET … War against population explosion: countrywide Three Major Influences… Mahatma Gandhi: Priest of Non-violence • Left every comfort in life to identify with the masses • Without a single bullet, earned freedom for India • Defined “Sustainable Development” by actions • Could foresee disasters before they struck Three Major Influences… George Washington Carver: Sage of Tuskegee • Rose from slavery to great heights of scholarship • Gave freedom and voice to the African-Americans • Revolutionized agriculture in the Southern USA • Life of rare courage and sacrifice Three Major Influences… Rachel Carson: Mother of all Environmentalism • Challenged the might of the industrial lobby • Exposed pesticides & agrochemical industries • Fought a lonely battle to ban DDT in the USA • Gave “environmentalism” a new connotation ECOCENTRIC versus TECHNOCENTRIC view… • 400 million poor Indians looking for decent life • An eco-centric view would never pull them up • A techno-centric view would defile environment • International treaties & actions ineffective at times • Current initiatives lopsided & affected by corruption • Indians highly confused about “sustainability” • Solutions must be home grown, not imported Concluding Remarks… • India possesses tremendous psychic energy • People survive amidst all odds and adversities • Sustainable principles are inbuilt in our culture • Spiritualism plays a palliative role in most cases • Indians are very intelligent & resourceful people Therefore… • We are surely going to emerge out of our crises • The new generation will play the proactive role • Indians act as a “UNIT” during calamities • Unsustainability is nothing but a calamity Thinking globally, acting locally India would once again emerge out the impasse to take the leadership worldwide. Optimism and innovativeness, running high among all Indians, are the fuels of this great “sustainable development” war. One failure leads to another; so does success.
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