I found myself walking down a mountain path, through a narrow staircase curved out of rock. There were trees and mountains and hardly any human. I was a woman with shaven head and maroon cloth. My feet were bare and strong.
To understand India it is important to understand its soul. This is a country with a strong spiritual core. When Krishna guides Arjun encouraging him in battle, he still discourages him in violence. Now this itself is a controversy that a mind which is not trained in this school of thinking cannot penetrate. This kind of controversy is in the lengths and breaths of India. To understand India, one has to train. This is a course outline for a design institute which could prepare its students with that stronger base.
When the designers themselves grow without much understanding of India within the discipline, that fight continues leading to the fight of ideal within the country. In an institute like NID, which puts so much emphasis on understanding the surrounding, whose very root was set to empower India through the understanding of India as documented in the India Report by Charles Eames, one still feels that missing links and history. When I visited other newer institutes, this missing factor was even larger to the extent that it distorted the very purpose of "design".
Ancient culture in India was flooded with poetry, music and dance. Art was vibrant in the lives of the people and technology was no substitute for the rasas of Indian art forms. In ancient times, vidya or knowledge was not only academic knowledge, but vidyas of yoga, music and dance, which enabled one to live like a yogi within the family life.
Different cultures over the period of time have developed different ways of "problem-solving". If you look at it that way then design and culture seem to follow similar routes. What is it then that the culture has to contribute to design? What is it we have missed out on? Is culture only about orthodox practices? Or can we rather add so much to "design" if we only understood its contribution.