Leisure, Lifestyle & Wellness
Dashrath Patel: Leonardo with a revolutionary cause

Dashrath Patel, who helped set up the National Institute of Design in Ahmedabad, died after a brief illness on Wednesday. He was 83

It’s hard to describe Dashrath Patel in words. He was like a fragrance that lingers in your memory long after you have been in its vicinity. He was a revolutionary with nuclear energy emanating from his imagination. His enthusiasm for life betrayed childlike freshness that could never be suppressed by the structure of an organisation or the dictates of administrators. His innate creativity found its expression in a wide variety of media he explored—exhibition design, photography, painting, and above all his abstract line compositions, which in my mind placed him equal to Paul Klee.

In fact, it was Dashrath who first introduced me to Paul Klee’s definition of a line, “Taking a dot for a walk”. That was Dashrath’s style of bringing alive most profound concepts with illustrations, quotes and narratives that were both inspiring and memorable. I can cite so many of his quotable quotes. One of the most memorable is about himself. “I am illiterate and speak broken English fluently,” Dashrath said, when talking about the lack of a structured education and his imperfect English. His narratives had a lot more impact on us, the students of the National Institute of Design (NID), than any profound philosophers or teachers who had undergone formal training in any field.

Dashrath was one of the co-founders of NID. He was the first radical, politically-minded designer I met. The only other person from the creative field who has had a comparable impact on my personal philosophy of design and life was Kamladevi Chattopadhyay who, through her close association with India’s freedom-fighters and political fraternity, brought focus on the role of rural artisans in India’s development. I remember visiting “Skills”, a project founded by Dashrath, Chandralekha, Sadanand Menon and a group of artists and designers in Madras during the exploratory stage of my thesis at NID. I was searching for inspiration to select a topic with a social cause and I could only think of Dashrath who would align me with such a cause and a sense of purpose for my design project.

At that time I vividly remember that “Skills” was being persecuted by the then MGR administration for conceptualising a poster with the image of a policeman bearing medals of honor, each carrying an inscription, “Rape”, “Murder” and “Robbery”.  I walked away from a weeklong stay with my friends in Madras with a renewed sense of commitment to design for change. I ended up doing a project on design for solid waste management and selected Ishwarbhai Patel, of Safai Vidyalaya, as my guide. Ishwarbhai is known for pursuing Gandhi’s experiments in low-cost sustainable toilets.

Dashrath left NID while I was still a student. We had a mutual admiration for each other which was never expressed, but was clear in how we treated each other. He empathized with me because I was a student at NID during the days when then prime minster Indira Gandhi had put both my parents in prison. I admired him for his non-conformist zeal. He betrayed the creativity of Leonardo da Vinci with a revolutionary bent of mind. Dashrath’s life has taught me one most important thing: “Never let any established system constrain your imagination and pursuit of what you believe in. If you can dream it you can make it happen.”


ED questions Raja’s close aide in 2G spectrum case

New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has questioned former telecom minister A Raja’s close aide RK Chandolia in connection with the alleged second generation (2G) spectrum scam and indicated that more officials are under the scanner, reports PTI.

Official sources said Mr Chandolia, who was personal secretary to Mr Raja at the time of the controversial spectrum allocation in 2008, was questioned for seven hours by the ED yesterday.

Mr Chandolia, who is believed to be in the know of all the transactions in the controversial spectrum allocation, was summoned under relevant sections of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA).

Sources said the official, who was sent back to his parent department—Indian Economic Services—within days of new telecom minister Kapil Sibal taking charge, was quizzed on the issue of the first-come-first-served basis for allocation of spectrum in 2008 after the cut-off date for receiving applications was advanced by a week from 1 October 2007 to 25th September.

They said Mr Chandolia, besides being asked about his personal financial details, was also questioned on the role played by corporate lobbyist Nira Radia.

The sources said Mr Chandolia wrote down several pages of his statement about the alleged scam, which is also being probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

Sources said the Directorate is likely to summon Mr Chandolia again as part of its investigation.

They said certain other government officials, whose name have cropped up during the probe will also be questioned soon but did not elaborate.


Friday’s Market Preview: Upmove likely to continue

The gains are likely to continue in the Indian market following positive signals from across the globe. Wall Street settled higher overnight as firm economic data increased risk appetite. Markets in the Asian region were trading in the green on speculations that consumer spending in the US will lead to growth in global economies. The SGX Nifty was 16.50 points up at 6,042 against its previous close of 6,025.50 on Thursday.

The market opened strong on Thursday on the back of supportive cues from across the globe with the key indices breaching their crucial levels on the bell. Mid-cap and small-cap stocks supported early gains. In the noon session, the indices gave up some gains and traded in a narrow range despite the Asian and European benchmarks trading with decent gains. Side-ways movement continued till the end of the session with no major triggers, except for the sharp fall in weekly inflation figures that failed to enthuse investors. The Sensex settled 142.70 points (0.72%) higher at 19,992.70, a tad below the 20,000 mark. The Nifty gained 50.80 points (0.85%) at 6,011.70, above its psychological level of 6,000.

The US markets settled in positive territory for the second day in a row as positive data kept pouring in. Pending sales of US existing houses jumped by a record 10% in October, which followed a 1.8% drop in September, the National Association of Realtors said. The number of applications for jobless benefits averaged 431,000 a week over the month ended 27th November, the lowest level since August 2008, Labor Department figures showed. Retail sales at chain stores rose 6% in November, above the estimated growth of 3.6% and the year-ago gain of 0.6%.

The Dow surged 106.63 points (0.95%) to 11,362.41. The S&P 500 added 15.46 points (1.28%) to 1,221.53. The Nasdaq rose 29.92 points (1.17%) to 2,579.35.

Buoyed by strong economic data from the US, markets in Asia were trading with gains in early trade on Friday. Investor sentiment also received a boost from the European Central Bank’s decision to keep interest rates unchanged at a record low of 1%.

The Shanghai Composite was up 0.08%, the Hang Seng gained 0.38%, the Jakarta Composite surged 0.54%, the KLSE Composite was up 0.18%, the Nikkei 225 gained 0.14%, the Straits Times rose 0.45%, the Seoul Composite advanced 0.09% and the Taiwan Weighted was up 0.61%. . The SGX Nifty was 16.50 points up at 6,042 against its previous close of 6,025.50 on Thursday.

The Supreme Court has upheld a 1998 notification of the Union government unshackling the country's sugar industry from ‘licence raj'.

A Bench of justices Markandey Katju and Gyan Sudha Mishra scrapped the Allahabad High Court order, agreeing with petitioner Bajaj Hindustan Ltd’s contention that it virtually forced the sugar industry back to ‘licence raj’ during which a sugar plant, in fact any industrial plant, had to be opened only with government’s prior permission, involving a lot of red tapism and often corruption.


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