Celebrating the girl child, Celebrating the mother earth – Piplantri in Rajasthan is the torch bearer!

In a country that still favours the birth of a son, Piplantri village in Rajasthan not only embraces daughters but has created a tradition that benefits both the local people and the planet. This endearing village makes a conscious effort to save girl children and the green cover at the same time, by planting 111 trees every time a girl is born. A brilliant exercise in eco-feminism, this should inspire India and the rest of the world.

This wonderful eco-conscious tradition ensures that an increase in human population will never come at a cost to the environment. It is literally helping to ensure a greener future with each new generation.

The village gathers as a community and plants 111 fruit trees in honour of every newborn female child. Village residents collect Rs. 21,000 between themselves and Rs.10,000 from the girl’s parents. This sum of Rs. 31,000 is made into a 20-year fixed deposit for the girl.

Parents are legally bound by a signed affidavit stating that their daughter will receive proper education. The affadavit also mandates that the girl should be married only after she reaches legal age and the trees planted after her birth have been correctly looked after.

The community ensures that the trees survive, attaining fruition as the girl grows up. The villagers don’t just plant trees, they look after them as well. To protect the trees from termites, the residents plant aloevera plants around them. These trees, and especially the aloevera plants, are now a source of livelihood for several residents.

This unique tradition was first suggested by the village’s former leader, Shyam Sundar Paliwal, in honour of his daughter who passed away at a young age. In the last 6 years, over a quarter of a million trees have been planted.

Villagers claim there has not been any police case here for the last 7 to 8 years.

This is a heartwarming and inspiring story that MUST be shared and replicated as much as possible across India and the world.

[thanks for the various media and sharing by people. I am inspired to put it together here and share]

What are we contributing towards? can we spare a thought?

Watch this short film, a trailer…..

Do you feel the impact of our arbitrary acts of indifference?…. where is our consumerism leading to?

Evert time I board a train from New Delhi station, and as it crosses the cities and villages, I am shocked at the amount of plastic trash that lies all along the tracks. I find children playing in those heaps, women washing clothes or utensils, mostly using the stagnated water around their homes where this trash is floating! My heart bleeds.

How did this trash accumulate? Who is responsible? Do we have conscience in what we buy, how we buy, how we spend, how we dispose? I keep wondering who will clean it and when?

This film shows me how the impact is felt in those unimaginable corners of the world.

Let us pledge to think and act… love.


On my Photoblog – “GO Green, Don’t be mean!”


“”Treat the earth well. It was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children.” ~ An Indian proverb

Care for nature and nurture. It is our responsibility to pass on a better earth for the generations to come.

Earth Day is a launch pad for course-changing, positive environmental action. Since 1970, Earth Day has activated individuals and organizations annually to strengthen the collective fight against man’s exploitative relationship with the planet. The Earth Day campaign aims to combat climate change by driving substantive behavioral change and channel quantifiable action on behalf of the environment.

Click the photoblog link of mine for the complete visual story. It is just one of the documentations, visual, of my internal journey as I discover the beautiful world outside. I am sure you would love it.

give me feedback on the blog if you like it.

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Sustainability of design and design of sustainability – Harsh Purohit @ Indialogues

Harsh Purohit, founder - cognito consulting

Harsh Purohit, founder - cognito consulting

Harsh Purohit is the Founder Director of Cognito, a full service design agency and sustainability advisory which specializes in seeding and cascading the practice of sustainability in organisations through successful deployment of multi-disciplinary design and communication tools.

He is a sustainability strategist and performs at the intersection of sustainability, design, technology, and profits. In 15 years at Cognito, he has spearheaded design and communication projects with different brands in various geographies. To address the challenge of global warming, he led Cognito to specialize in ‘sustainability communication’. Partnering with progressive clients like ABN AMRO Bank, Mahindra, Reliance Industries, Grasim and MSPL he has pushed the envelope in sustainability reporting. The ABN AMRO Bank Sustainability report developed by Cognito swept the GRI Reader’s Choice awards and was adjudged the “Best Report, Financial Markets”.

With his presentations to corporate boards, Harsh has played a vital role in helping organizations shift their approach to sustainability from compliance to strategic competitive advantage. He has developed the 4Ps of sustainability which help an organization understand the business importance of sustainability and chalk out measurable goals.

Harsh is actively involved in consultations on development of global reporting frameworks, gender equality and sustainable innovation, and a regular speaker at various forums across India and Europe.

It is a sheer coincidence that it is 11pm at Kaziranga National Park in Assam, India and I am blogging this talk on sunstainability, rather as Harsh says Survivability!

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Design – sustainability – Business : Let us look from this perpsective

What is sustainability? What does each one say?

  • Economists – internalizing externalities
  • Businessman – necessary evil like tax
  • optimists – new world order
  • Pessimist – passing fad
  • Skeptics – big hoax
  • T-shirt designers – That’s my new block buster
  • Developing nation – Conspiracy theory
  • Client’s wife – personal brand building vehicle

What it is not?

  • It is not saving the world
  • It is about saving yourself

Planet is fine, people are fucked… 4.5 billion, we are here only for 100 million years… planet has gone through a lot of things for billion years… planet is not going anywhere, we are…

Sustainability is survivability. Keep the habitat good enough … earth may be happy without us. If we want to survive, we need to be sustainable.

It is survivability of business.. : Hard disk costs have almost doubled in the last two months; imagine doubling! Why? Bangkok floods – 70% of hard disk is manufactured in Thailand, and the recent floods have closed down most of the manufacturing units leading to scarcity, hence price rise.

Sustainability is basically – risk mitigation and reward enhancement. Resources are scarce and we have to handle them carefully.

  •  If you want license from society, then you have to be sustainable.
  • Reward enhancement – cost efficiency, brand enhancement
  • Continuity of nature, human and finance resources is sustainability..

 Cremation business is 12$ billion. 43% are eager to have green funeral…

 Not just for sustenance but also thriving….

 Thrivability –  What does this mean for designers?

Sustainability is the design problem? Designers screwed the world. Transportation… in every business…

 If we can apply our mind, ecology business is 53 trillion dollars…

 Bill McDonald on design: We have to redesign design itself…

 Tata Swach, the low cost water purifiers from TATAs, has infused society with 70 million plastic containers. I just heard that data. I am thinking, what happens to them when they are to be discarded?

Sustainability is the language of business, and not English

New age customer categories..

  • Greenfluencers
  • Bobos – burgeious bohemians…. Back packing witih all tech
  • Nonos – no logo, any kind of brands is a clear no
  • Culturally creative – paul ray book – inner directed, fight for social justices
  • Lohas – lifestyle of health and sustainability

 Systems thinking..

 Thinking differently. Bill Gates is finding ways that can control hurricanes. Why do winds blow? Difference of temperatures between ocean and land, so I can control them if I can minimize the difference…Hurricane recedes due to water pumping on the surface of ocean which reduces the temperature difference..

 Address scale

 Solutions of yesterday are problems for today…

–         Cities become their own problems : How do we reduce the influx into cities, how do we reach out and facilitate hinterland?

 Permanence, Not obsolescence

  • Designing a product that has to become obsolete…
  • 95% of cell phone thrown away due to perceived obsolescence, 90% of garments thrown away

 DFD – Design for disassembly

  •  HP toner to be filled and resold
  • Volvo networks

 Function. Not form (Bruce Mou)

 Design has to focus on function, not just form…

 What can I do?

 What all can we recycle, reuse and reproduce…just think and implement

Helping the child to appreciate and acknowledge : A good story

(This story captures the usual thought in a powerful manner for every parent in the modern society. one of my colleagues Braj Pandey had shared.)

One young academically excellent person went to apply for a managerial position in a big company.

He passed the first interview, the director did the last interview, made the last decision.

The director discovered from the CV that the youth’s academic achievements were excellent all the way, from the secondary school until the postgraduate research, never had a year when he did not score.

The director asked, “Did you obtain any scholarships in school?” the youth answered “none”.

The director asked, ” Was it your father who paid for your school fees?” The youth answered, “My father passed away when I was one year old, it was my mother who paid for my school fees.

The director asked, ” Where did your mother work?” The youth answered, “My mother worked as clothes cleaner. The director requested the youth to show his hands. The youth showed a pair of hands that were smooth and perfect.

The director asked, ” Have you ever helped your mother wash the clothes before?” The youth answered, “Never, my mother always wanted me to study and read more books. Furthermore, my mother can wash clothes faster than me.

The director said, “I have a request. When you go back today, go and clean your mother’s hands, and then see me tomorrow morning.*

The youth felt that his chance of landing the job was high. When he went back, he happily requested his mother to let him clean her hands. His mother felt strange, happy but with mixed feelings, she showed her hands to the kid.

The youth cleaned his mother’s hands slowly. His tear fell as he did that. It was the first time he noticed that his mother’s hands were so wrinkled, and there were so many bruises in her hands. Some bruises were so painful that his mother shivered when they were cleaned with water.

This was the first time the youth realized that it was this pair of hands that washed the clothes everyday to enable him to pay the school fee. The bruises in the mother’s hands were the price that the mother had to pay for his graduation, academic excellence and his future.

After finishing the cleaning of his mother hands, the youth quietly washed all the remaining clothes for his mother.

That night, mother and son talked for a very long time.

Next morning, the youth went to the director’s office.

The Director noticed the tears in the youth’s eyes, asked: ” Can you tell me what have you done and learned yesterday in your house?”

The youth answered, ” I cleaned my mother’s hand, and also finished cleaning all the remaining clothes’

The Director asked, ” please tell me your feelings.”

The youth said, Number 1, I know now what is appreciation. Without my mother, there would not the successful me today. Number 2, by working together and helping my mother, only I now realize how difficult and tough it is to get something done. Number 3, I have come to appreciate the importance and value of family relationship.

The director said, ” This is what I am looking for to be my manager.
I want to recruit a person who can appreciate the help of others, a person who knows the sufferings of others to get things done, and a person who would not put money as his only goal in life. You are hired.

Later on, this young person worked very hard, and received the respect of his subordinates. Every employee worked diligently and as a team. The company’s performance improved tremendously.

A child, who has been protected and habitually given whatever he wanted, would develop “entitlement mentality” and would always put himself first. He would be ignorant of his parent’s efforts. When he starts work, he assumes that every person must listen to him, and when he becomes a manager, he would never know the sufferings of his employees and would always blame others. For this kind of people, who may be good academically, may be successful for a while, but eventually would not feel sense of achievement. He will grumble and be full of hatred and fight for more. If we are this kind of protective parents, are we really showing love or are we destroying the kid instead?*

You can let your kid live in a big house, eat a good meal, learn piano, watch a big screen TV. But when you are cutting grass, please let them experience it. After a meal, let them wash their plates and bowls together with their brothers and sisters. It is not because you do not have money to hire a maid, but it is because you want to love them in a right way. You want them to understand, no matter how rich their parents are, one day their hair will grow gray, same as the mother of that young person. The most important thing is your kid learns how to appreciate the effort and experience the difficulty and learns the ability to work with others to get things done.

Twenty-six / eleven or three / three – all due to apathy of citizens like you and me.

Whether it was Mumbai or Lahore, an incident of this magnitude cannot happen but for the small contributions from each one of us. Yes, indeed, each one of us is a culprit, just a shade lesser than Kasab and Osama.

How, you may say? Do we really behave the way a responsible citizen need to? Do we really care for another fellow being or the environment? I am not excluding myself from this introspective journey, and for that matter not any ‘educated’ person –

  1. How many of us drive in lanes? Usually, if there are three lanes on a road, we will see at least five vehicles squeezing shoulder to shoulder, giving warmth to each other. In a while ‘real heat’ emanates. I can never make out which lane is which.
  2. Crisscrossing the lanes with utter disregard to basic traffic rules is our basic etiquette. Honking is my birth right. Don’t look at my face, I am very angry and am about to scowl at the other, as he is not giving me my way. If I am on a two wheeler, then I have every license to find the smallest of the holes to manouvre through. With an engaging cell-phone in hand, it gives me a great thrill to do all these.
  3. The slowest moving vehicle will be in the fastest lane, will not budge, and will make sure that faster moving one overtakes from wrong side. The heavy vehicle cannot fathom that a puny vehicle comparatively, can overtake him, so he would always occupy the faster lane to satisfy his ego. 
  4. Waiting at the traffic signal or giving way to a pedestrian is ‘shaan ke khilaf’
  5. At every round about, I will try to squeeze into, oblivious of the traffic already in the circle, adding to their immobility. I will enter a thorough fare from a by-lane, without bothering to look at the moving traffic, forget about stopping for a moment. Right of way, I am not aware of.
  6. Park, we would, at all places that are not meant for parking. Thanks to our innovative ways of parking, a three lane road most times ends up being a single lane, rendering the already chaotic traffic to move at snail’s pace.
  7. Often, I discover that the whole traffic is moving slow, only because there are two motorists fighting in the middle of the road after their motor-vehicles have made love to each other. The fight is about which kissed the other first and who is responsible for it! Maintaining a responsible distance from the vehicle in front of me is degrading to me. I am not aware that I should have at least 20 meters of clearing if I am at a speed of 60km/hr.
  8. Even more surprising will be, a huge vehicle plonked with a flat tyre or a broken axle, in the middle of the road on a blind curve of an express way that has traffic moving at 100Km/hour!

  1. I will open a biscuit packet or a ‘paan ka beeda’ while driving on the road, and in a jiffy the wrapper will be flying out of my window, while I munch the biscuit or paan. I cannot carry a small disposal in my vehicle.
  2. I have tea at a dhaba or a kiosk, at the roadside, bus stop or railway platform, but I will definitely throw the PLASTIC cup into the Nala (culvert) or on the railway track. I do not notice the waste bin.
  3. While on the sports field, a zoo or a park, I care no hoot to the surroundings, I will drop my emptied plastic water bottle or the plastic glass to see it floating into the arenas! I do not care to look for the ‘monkey bins’ around!
  4. I will demand the hawker or the stores to give my purchase in a plastic bag as I never carry a cloth bag from home. I keep doing this every time, despite noticing thousands of these soiled plastic carry bags littered around open spaces, by the side of the roads, railway tracks, clogging water bodies.
  5. I will keep the tap flowing while brushing, shaving, bathing, washing etc, not realizing that the overflowing water is a result of vast amount of money that is spent on bringing it into my home. I do hear that future wars will be for water!!
  6. I do not even think for a moment about switching off the illuminating bulb in the empty room, as I have never experienced what it is to live in an un-electrified village.
  7. I did fell a couple of trees while constructing, but I hardly realize that they were protecting the soil and mother earth for over a hundred years!!

Queues and Security –

  1. Standing in a queue is beyond our dignity. We shall find every way to beat the system. Pushing and shoving to get in is my first priority (into the bus, into a train, into a film theatre, into the traffic..)
  2. Getting frisked by a security guy is even more demeaning to me. “Mujhe nahin jaante..” (You do not know who I am..).
  3. If I am caught violating any rule, at the traffic signal, or with an overweight luggage, or even taking an over-aged child in a train, I will try my level best to ‘payoff.’
  4. If I were the security guy at the gate in a railway station or a bus stand, I am least bothered about whether the screening gate is functional, I continue yapping with my fellow colleague. I am not concerned about who has sneaked in, a taxi guy soliciting passengers, a smart kingpin forcing a few kids to beg or even a ‘liberator’ with an AK in his knapsack to carry out the orders of the ‘almighty’

At home –

  1. I do not have time to sit and facilitate the child. Neither I have time to read a book to, play a game with, nor take a child to a museum, an art gallery or a performance.
  2. The annual visit to zoo for me is a promise that I have to fulfill. It is just a ritual.
  3. If some one calls for me, I would ask my child to say “papa ghar par nahin hai, baad mein phone kijiye.”
  4. Most of the time, as a father I may even fumble when some one asks which class my child is in.

I continue to turn a blind eye to many ills happening around me, instead of responding, as  ‘chalta hai, hame kya karna’, is the usual refrain!! I can go on and on and on. But I shall stop here.

Most of the above mentioned ‘innocuous’ acts are experienced by silent yet sharp co-travellers, our children. I fail to imagine the gravity of  influence these will have on my children’s thought process and behaviour.

If I am conscientious about my own existence, that of my fellow beings and environment, if I execute my responsibilities in the society – if I play by the rules, facilitate my driver to abide by them, my maid to be more conscious, if I bring up my child with all honesty and involvement – the world certainly would be a better place to be. I am also relatively sure that many of these ‘man-mad-and-made’ disasters can be averted to a great extent. So, till then, I am no less culprit than a Osama or a Kasab.

Looking forward to your feedback here or on my mail id – sreeni@careerlauncher.com

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