With plastic becoming a major menace, here is an insight into how the students as well as the authorities of Miranda House have taken up several steps to make their campus a plastic-free space in the University of Delhi (DU).
Plastic is one of the most ubiquitous materials in the economy, but with the increasing awareness about its ill effects and negative impact on the environment, and the spreading of the news of its complete ban by the Government, several colleges and institutions have started substituting plastic with other less harmful or biodegradable options. Miranda House has also taken many such initiatives to discourage the usage of single-use plastic.
The first step taken by students and societies was to conduct a plastic-free fresher’s party to welcome the freshers to a “Green Miranda”. Vatavaran, the Environmental Cell of Miranda House, along with the Department of Geography, encouraged the Student Councils of all the Departments to conduct their respective Department fresher’s without the usage of plastic in decoration and food. As a novel and creative initiative, the “Green Departments”, which successfully conducted a “plastic-free fresher’s”, were provided with certificates. individuals.
The bigger question becomes, how many end up staying the same throughout? Inner healing does not happen in a day, the lives of Buddha and Mahavira are examples of the years of mediation that one must do to achieve such unearthly feats, to begin with. It is a gradual and slow process, like medical treatment or a fitness regime. The transformations are always temporary in nature, and one needs to mould their mind with continual practice to achieve maximum results. The human mind is a very complex enigma that has wonderful, and miraculous features to it that surpass the earthly plane. For thousands of years, the sages of India called ‘rishis’ had proved the same. They had, through continual and rigorous mediation, opened their chakras and achieved feats that seem inhuman in today’s age. One may desire to achieve such transformative abilities, yet not all of us can invest the time and energy to be able to achieve them.
Being part of an age where everything in our lives mostly revolves around speed and technology, it does not mean that selfactualisation cannot be achieved. The answer to it is as simple as the Sacred Games chant we have become used to hearing now – Aham Brahmasmi. Brahma, the creator, resides in one’s soul or Atman, and is nothing but the abode of creation and creative power. We believe what we wish to believe, and we hold on to our perceptions and inhibitions, but the moment we prepare ourselves to see beyond our rigidity of thoughts, we become free of our bonds. Thus, you must understand that eternal bliss or happiness of the being is possible for every one of us. If one wishes to invest even a few minutes of their time in life-altering activities persistently, one will achieve peace, calm, and a stress-free environment where creative energies can be released to bring a positive change in the mind and space that we occupy.
The most effective and simple exercise would be to concentrate on one’s breathing as one assumes a comfortable position for a span of just five minutes. It is all but a matter of faith – not in any external idol, religion, or God-men, but in the power of our intrinsic energy as a vehicle to transform our stress into positivity. One’s present should be of concern only if one wishes to change it for a different or a happier future. There is a need for change. It all begins today, if we keep our buzzing phones aside, and take a few moments to ourselves for the sake of positive mental health. Aatreyee Tamuly, a student of B.A. (Honours) History at Miranda House, said, “I think Miranda has taken the ‘No Plastic Campaign’ pretty well. It was great seeing all the departments taking part in the no plastic campaign during the Department fresher’s party.” The usage of plastic in the canteen has decreased, as they have started providing steel plates and spoons instead of plastic plates for serving food. Providing straws has been stopped completely. Nescafé has substituted plastic cutlery with wooden cutlery and plates with paper bowls.
The National Service Scheme (NSS) of Miranda House conducted various events to discourage the usage of single-use plastic. One such event was a collection drive on the campus to collect all the plastic bottles and other plastic waste. The collected items were then handed over to the plastic recycling centres. Another major step by the NSS was to celebrate Onella, a social mela (fair), with the theme of “No Single-Use Plastic”. Several posters were circulated with the message of avoiding plastic usage. Onella successfully encourage secularism, raised funds, and promoted the social cause of avoiding plastic usage. A Replaft competition was organised by the society where the students were supposed to reuse plastic to make craft items. The decorative material made from reused plastic was sold at Onella. A signatory campaign to discourage the usage of single-use plastic also found its way into the celebrations. Another initiative by the society was to organise a “Plog Run”, which involved plastic-picking plus jogging.
Priyanshi Singh, a final-year student of Miranda House, expressed her views on the initiatives. She said, “I feel that the initiatives taken by authorities and students to avoid usage of plastic are really good, but I feel more could be done to it. For instance, created tautology are still being sold on the campus, asplastic cold drink bottles and water bottles are being sold and used. Instead, they could only sell glass bottles or cans. Selling some packaged items like chips can also be avoided, which could also lead to a healthy lifestyle. Whatever has been done to minimise it is good, but still some more steps like substituting aerated drink bottles with cans and glass bottles should be done.” However, the initiatives taken by societies and authorities can only be successful if one takes steps on an individual level as well. The words of Margaret Mead ring a bell at this moment – “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
Feature Image Credits: Namrata Randhawa for DU Beat