Monday, 30 June 2014

Teach Art

Asking Tribal kids being vocationally trained in construction sector skills to learn sketching and drawing is quite comparable to music lessons for soldiers during a war. Not only this additional activity should help alleviate an individual's stress while learning it might also help in winning over enemies or clients when in the field.
I am always a proponent of the thought that the power of imagination is theoretically boundless and even a little of it which can be converted into action has always been exciting for mankind.
So, here at the Vocational Training Centre at Dahod, I initiated some drawing classes. The students who come here at the centre are tribal youth from Gujarat, mainly Dahod district, and spend about forty five days in residence here to get introduced to construction skills such as masonry, bar bending, plumbing, site supervision and carpentery. I was very much supported and encouraged by all my colleagues here at GVT and GIZ  to undertake this; the aim being:
  1. Make students realize that skteching can be used at work to share ideas and plans with colleagues and clients
  2. Foster creative thinking
  3. Value creativity
During these sketching classes the methodology focussed into following rules:
  1. Always draw with a pencil on a blank paper
  2. To begin, break down your sketches into polygons, triangles and circles
  3. Never ever copy an existing image
  4. Draw a real 3D object, whether it is visible or it comes to your mind
  5. Do not worry about realisticness of your drawn image
  6. Let the drawing flow with your hand following your head
  7. Make your image rich with your own imagination
  8. Always improvise
  9. Practice, practice and practice
  10. Observe, observe and observe
A few selected sketches are scanned and shown here. Most of the sketches were drawn in classes and I don't think most students took any particular interest because sketching is seldom seen as an important subject in today's Indian mainstream learning. However, whatever that was attempted, somewhere in these skteches, to my luck, I found the present state of tribal living, interpretations and a few aspirations.


Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Please fold your hands

The sun was high and it was pleasant and cool inside the room. I was in a new high ranked job position and my employers and colleagues looked just happy on my joining. It seemed all liked me. I also received a handsome grant amount for research I wanted to pursue; as promised. I had finally joined a democratic institution in my own culture. Nobody was happier than me.

As the job progressed, the outside sun was as bright as always. I wore blue kurta to work and seldom a few times western clothes. But I started having differences with my colleagues. Probably, because of my working style which they said is slightly different. But I was also reassured that there was nothing wrong with it. "There's nothing wrong with it you know. But just then what do we need to spend so much of energy for? But anyways, do what you like", my new and close aides would say.

Months passed by and the sun outside reduced its intensity. But is never lost its glare, so most events would happen inside. This time it was a ceremony where all including the trustees would be present. They called all seniors, including me, to the stage and receive honorary certificates of contributions. On my turn I took the three steps that lead to the stage and received my commendation. It was a weird ceremony because in the end there was a strange unknown God to be prayed to.

All on the stage except the seated trustees folded their hands and joined their palms against their chests for a typical namaskaar. I folded my hands too, but did not feel like  taking my hands up to my chests like everyone, and out of respect locked my hands in front of my crotch and bowed my head out of respect. I knew I was being noticed but not expected the trustee to sternly warn me that this is not the way. I must do namaste like everyone else.

The sun was up. It did not matter.