Linking weavers to end consumers

Innovator: Arup and Ruby Rakshit Vocation: Promoters of muslin weavers Location: Bardhaman, West Bengal Our latest parinda, Arup Rakshit, was teaching students at a government school in Howrah, West Bengal, after he completed his post-graduation in botany. As he had a keen interest in this field, Arup was also simultaneously working on a research project on Indian medicinal plants. It was during this research phase that he came across a bitter truth — our precious plants are not being utilised well due to the implications of modern development. The knowledge of using this traditional and medicinal flora seems to be disappearing from communities. If you’re wondering why, it is because…

View details

All the world’s a stage

Innovators: Ankur Roy Choudhary and Vartika Poddar Vocation: Playwright and actors Location: Kolkata, West Bengal Sustainable development cannot be discussed unless you discuss the issue of social injustice. India’s social structure is extremely complex; but our talks about environment protection are incomplete unless we understand this complexity. Even 52 Parindey’s efforts of last 10 months are incomplete unless we discuss the issue of social injustices. At every step of this society, one can witness discrimination and struggle of the underprivileged section. This discrimination can be seen between Brahmins and Dalits, between traders and labourers, and even between men and women. There are several layers to every struggle, and without understanding all…

View details

Soil holds our past, present and future

Innovator: Ishtiyaque Ahmad Vocation: Sustainable Agriculture Expert Location: Patna, Bihar   “The nation that destroys its soil, destroys itself.”  –Franklin D. Roosevelt, 1937   Most of us understand the importance of soil for life on earth. However, in the last few decades, we have adopted several modern techniques that had negatively affected our soil and reduced the content of necessary minerals and elements. This is the reason famine and starvation has become so common in the world. But people who do not have a direct relationship or contact with land will probably not understand this. People whose food comes from big grocery stores run by corporate houses or those who are…

View details

Our future is in the hands of our traditional food

Innovator: Jagannath Manjhi Vocation: Forest food preservation expert Location: Muniguda, Odisha Our latest parinda, Jagannath Manjhi, is a tribal who lives in Odisha’s beautiful Niyamgiri Hills. These are the same Niyamgiri Hills which were going to be dug up for bauxite after the government decided to give a contract for the same to a multi-national corporation called Vedanta Limited. If this plan had gone ahead, it would have endangered and displaced tribals from at least 400 villages on the hills. So far, the tribals of Niyamgiris have been successful in their struggle to save the hills, the forests and the rivers in the region. However, after the corporate giants had…

View details

Finding happiness

Innovator: Saraswati Kavula Vocation: Location: Hyderabad, Telangana When one lives amid nature, then one doesn’t need to make too much of an effort to build a relationship with nature. Lush green trees, a variety of colourful flowers, the sweet voice of birds, fresh air, pure water and so much more — things that are so beautiful that it’s hard to find words to describe them — attract us towards them. It is because of this natural attraction that we often develop a bond with nature and realise that we’re not very different from it. We’re, in fact, a part of it, and our existence is incomplete without it. Our latest…

View details

Extracting nature’s colours

Innovator: Tirumurugan and Shiva Raj Vocation: Natural dyers Location: Erode, Tamil Nadu Since ancient time, natural elements like minerals, plants and flowers have been used to colour (read dye) our clothes. In fact, dyeing is a beautiful art if we look at it from a historical perspective. However, this art began to lose its essence when scientists discovered methods to create artificial colours in 1856. Using various chemicals, scientists created a variety of new colours, which were successful in attracting people. At the same time, these artificial colours considerably reduced the cost of production for textiles and clothes. This completely changed the textile industry, and natural colours began to be…

View details

Saving ourselves from an early apocalypse

Innovator: Mansoor Khan Vocation: Film-maker and writer Location: Coonoor, Tamil Nadu Bollywood’s well-known director Mansoor Khan, who has made successful films like Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak and Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikandar, is these days settled in the small but beautiful town of Coonoor amid the mesmerizing Nilgiris. When I met, my first question to him was, “What made you leave the glistening world of Bollywood and settle in these hills?” He replied, “I never wanted to be ‘a part’ of the filmy world. I always knew I wanted to spend my life away from the fast pace of cities and amid natural surroundings. However, I had spent a lot of…

View details

Caring for Earth with craft from nature

Innovator: Anand and Girija Vocation: Coconut jewellers and craftsmen Location: Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu Like most people from middle-class families, Girija and Anand had simple and common dreams. Anand enjoyed travelling, spending time amid nature and learning new things. And these were interests stayed with him even after he got married to Girija. He was lucky that his life partner was somebody who understood and shared the same views and interests. Anand was an interior designer and Girija worked as a bank manager. Soon after their marriage, Girija was transferred from Madurai to Tirunelveli. During this period, every time Anand travelled to Tirunelveli to meet his wife, he would find himself…

View details

The colour of hope, sunshine, happiness and freshness

Innovator: Gowri and Krishnan Vocation: Social entrepreneurs Location: Madurai, Tamil Nadu Polythene bags were first introduced into our lives in 1977 when New York-based supermarkets replaced paper bags with plastic bags. Since then, plastic bags have become part and parcel of our daily lives. On an average, every individual in the world uses about 200 polythene bags in a year before disposing them in trash. We use one trillion plastic bags every year or 20 lakh every minute. And each plastic bag takes 1,000 years to decompose. Thus, one can imagine the grave situation that has been created in the world due to our indiscriminate consumption of plastic bags. According to a…

View details

Creating a direct link between farmers and consumers

Innovators: Parthasarathy and Rekha Vocation: Organic farmers and traders Location: Chennai, Tamil Nadu Prior to the Green Revolution, there was no such thing as organic or inorganic food. That divide only came after the Green Revolution was introduced and pesticides were given to our farmers with the message that it will prevent the decay of crops and promote faster and better harvest — therefore more money for the farmers. On the other hand, the common man in cities was told that if India wants to become self-dependent in the area of food production, the use of chemicals is important. It’s been more than 50 years since the Green Revolution now,…

View details