How can Indian design schools embrace sustainability; finally answered by Anurag Dasgupta

Anurag Dasgupta
Anurag Dasgupta
Posted on 15 Oct 2022
09:09 AM
Anurag Dasgupta, Lecturer, Foundation in Design, IIAD

Anurag Dasgupta, Lecturer, Foundation in Design, IIAD Source: Anurag Dasgupta

"India is not just in its soil, air, water, or physical attributes. It also exists in its sacred tangible forms"
"To be an Indian is to embrace that in our culture exist practices that remind us to hold nature sacred and to worship all that sustains us with deep reverence"

About the Author: Anurag Dasgupta is a skilled filmmaker who specialised in visual communication and film from Srishti School of Art, Design, and Technology in 2011. He has worked on various award-winning and socially conscious films while simultaneously developing and executing his own projects.He believes in the age-old saying, “A jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one”, and this has driven him to constantly learn from his surroundings with a deep curiosity. For the past few years, he has specialized in cinematography and editing for feature-length films and TV series while conducting workshops in various universities. Currently, he is pursuing an online course on ‘Medical Neuroscience’ by Duke University, North Carolina. Post this; he intends to immerse himself in psychology studies focused specifically around trauma healing informed by Somatic and Yogic practices while continuing to tell stories using different means of creativity. His conscious approach to life, professional work, and teaching follows a common thread of wanting to connect authentically with the world through a developed sense of empathy

India is not just in its soil, air, water, or physical attributes. It also exists in its sacred tangible forms. For this material is not irrelevant, the sun shines on us and kisses our skin in the form of love and this love then transfers into the plants and the earth that we consume and partake in the ecosystem to survive.

To be an Indian is to embrace that in our culture exist practices that remind us to hold nature sacred and to worship all that sustains us with deep reverence. To be Indian is to realise that we are not limited by concepts of nation, religion, skin colour, gender or anything that makes our identities feel separate from the other. To be Indian is to embrace diversity and the multitude of ideas and concepts that exist within and around us while respecting all creatures, great and small.


Design is sacred, it is intelligent and it permeates generations and cultures. Sustainability is not only about sustaining resources so that we do not overuse or abuse what supports us but also to train the mind and expand our heart so that we can sustain peace and stability and tap into our true creative potentials.

The main hurdle an institute currently faces is sustaining a student’s attention. We live in over-stimulated environments and our battle is not with anything else but with consistently ensuring that a student feels supported, their intelligence stimulated and that they realise that they have a very important role to play that transcends a sense of instant gratification.

To be sustainable is to realise that we do not merely inherit the earth from our ancestors but we are borrowing it from our children. Not simply human children but all life forms. A monkey cares for its child just the way a human cares for its own. What separates me as an intelligent species on this planet if I only look at just me, my own, and mine? Are we all not animals, part of a larger ecosystem?

For an Indian design school to embrace sustainability, it should truly work in creating an ideology that will permeate through generations of students. Where each student, teacher or anyone who is associated with the institute can cultivate a deep connection with each other and understand their potential and responsibility. The institution then no longer remains in the confines of its physical structure, but it has planted a seed of wisdom that will continue to spread throughout the world, wherever the students travel, how they do their work, their interactions, and so on.

Once this ideology, principle, and wisdom permeate the institutes' consciousness, then it is easy to turn it into action. For the intent is in the right place, the desire to sustain, through love. I believe that this angle will also work wonders to transform a student on the professional and personal front as well once they get out of their education shell to start their careers in the corporate world.

An Indian design institute can embrace sustainability by reforming certain structural changes in their building where rainwater is harvested, wet waste is composted and a kitchen garden is constructed where students grow their vegetables and feel a connection to the earth which their rapidly urbanised selves have not been able to experience. The courses should involve visiting waste landfills to understand the impact our ignorance is continuously causing and that every action has a consequence. Visiting, witnessing and connecting with less privileged communities can also sensitise students towards how others live and that we are not to take our resources for granted and do not need to take more than we need.

A design institute can also strongly benefit from inculcating yoga and meditation as a practice that can physically open up everyone to the subtler influences around us. This helps in creating a community of humans who are regulated and are experiencing an inner balance. A balanced human will understand their needs vs their wants and desire to excessively consume.

Only an Indian design institute can be radical enough to embrace this physical wisdom into the classroom environment and see its benefits. To begin the day by quieting the mind of the chatter of our past and expectations of the future. Indian design students need to be sensitised to their surroundings and given the psychological, spiritual and professional tools to become holistic creators. I feel once a student begins his/her career they find it challenging to find and strike a balance on the work front. With this, regular students can not only find the right direction but also learn to deal with challenges more easily. Creation is truly an act of the spirit, an awakening of a deep inner wisdom that we are part of something larger than ourselves.

When we feel a sense of awe just for being alive on this planet, a spontaneous desire to live within our means of resources and to care for and nurture others will arise, and I feel that an 'Indian Design School' can leave an impact on not just India, but the rest of the world by going to the core of what it means to be an Indian, which is to respect all that is sacred, within us and all around us and in turn create an environment to heal, support and sustain life in it’s beautiful and messy form.

Last updated on 15 Oct 2022
09:13 AM
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