“In terms of a future vision of the good life, we will have to draw upon the great heritage of world knowledge and experience to create a discipline of modernization which dissolves the divisions between rich and poor, the contrasts between waste and want, and the repetitive patterns of ugliness and beauty which constitutes the violated environment of our planet. The only weapons we have are our sensitivity and creativity. Let us recognize them, sharpen them and mobilize them for engineering the societies of tomorrow.”
Reading the mission statement of the Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development, the Ministry draft on Institute objectives, and the sensitive response to the Ministry draft by Director Peter deSouza, I was taken back over 30 years to an address by the late Romesh Thapar to a global conference
at the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad. Thapar’s call (quoted above) was for the emerging profession of designer in the ‘Third World’ to help advocate what the mission statement describes as way of living in harmony with nature, avoiding over-consumption and waste. The need was to “texture a society which is self-reliant and comparable to the best. Obviously, it cannot be done in imitation…..The computers throw up forbidding calculations of the kind of productivity which will be required to buttress standards of living comparable to those prevailing in developed lands. Does this mean that (our) people are forever condemned to an inferior level of living? If we live by computer calculations, yes. If we base ourselves on redesigning our life and living, no.”1
Twenty years earlier in their classic India Report
to the Government of India which led to the founding of NID, the celebrated designers Charles and Ray Eames had singled out “service, dignity and love” as the qualities that must help gen...