Dr. IQBAL MA1IK, was former adjunct Professor, University of East Carolina and the State University of New York, USA. Studying and analyzing projects dealing with garbage, pollution, zoos, Monkeys and the ridge in New Delhi, She is the founder Director of VATAVARAN which operates a decentralized scheme for collection, transportation, sorting disposal and compositing of garbage in New Delhi.
To most of us ‘apathy is natural’ we have learnt to do nothing about the wrongs around us and if we ever do anything? We just complain.
Not so with Dr. Iqbal Malik one-woman crusader founder Director of VATAVARAN on environmental NGO, which strives to keep New Delhi Clean & Green?
The mountains of uncleared garbage all of her colony, spurred her to do something about it… definitely not just complain organizing rag- picturers, who collect recycle material, she went on to convert the residents of the colony and then onto form the country’s only cleaning brigades, who must be given full marks for keeping New Delhi Clean & Green.
But, none of this was easy. As with a self help of community participation ideas, Dr. Malik too faced stiff resistance and taunts at every step.
First the ragpickers, suspected her intentions & refused to listen a true human that she is, Dr. Malik realized, that being very vulnerable, exploited constantly & arrested, by the police daily, it was only natural that they could not relate with her. With patience, compassion & understanding, she is, today, their savior who has transformed their once miserable lives to lives with identity & respect.
The residents of the various colonies were a different cup of tea. Because, here was someone trying to tell them that instead of complaining about the deplorable conditions, if is high- time she did something as a community. Added to this, they were being asked to trust ragpickers & pay a monthly fee (however nominal it may be). There were people who wanted their houses to be spotlessly clean inside, but wouldn’t give a thought to the filth outside. Using all her communication skills and winning them over by her actions she is to them today the only hope for New Delhi to continue to be ‘live able’.
Then the Municipal Corporation of Delhi, which has to clean Delhi on a literally shoe¬string budget. Understanding the total in practicality of their responsibility, she has today successfully helped reduce their burdens, Therefore encashing them to be more effective in their duties.
Her cleaning Brigade today employs local boys who are provided with massive rickshaws (Specially designed by her); trained to separate garbage into recyclable, bio-degradable & inert garbage. Successfully composting garbage by the anaerobic method, which is sold & the proceeds are reinvested into the cleaning brigades to meet the expenses of running them by way of salaries, uniforms, boots, glouses for the boys & maintenance of the rickshaws etc., Being self- financing, any surplus fund is used to ‘Green’ the colony.
Being one who is selfless, Dr Malik says she only created a model & looks forward to communities volunteering to form their own self-help groups.
What can you say about such an individual? Words fail to express the true worth of her work. A true citizen of India she is certainly an inspiration to many more to spread her crusade all over this country. She has once again proved that “Courage is what it takes stand up and speak. Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen”. Belonging to a rare breed, for whom commonly interest is paramount, she is against all odds, succeeded because beneath that soft forcade is the iron- will and true- grit.