Thursday, April 23, 2009

Directors at NID: A Time to Reflect

Directors at NID: A Time to Reflect



Design for India: Prof. M P Ranjan

The stainless steel name boards in the picture below as seen outside the Directors office at NID were installed by Dr Darlie O Koshy just before he took premature relief from the post of Director NID in October 2008. This however does not tell the whole story of the Chief Executive positions at the National Institute of Design. The history of NID is yet to be written and the history of design in India too would be intricately intertwined with the actions and roles of the various persons who have played a leadership role at NID, particularly in the position of its CEO, which has had various nomenclatures at different points of time. With the announcement last week of the next incumbent to the post of Director NID, Prof Pradyumna Vyas, we get a chance to reflect on this particular position and to look back at the individuals who have played a role in this particular office at NID over the years.

Image 01: Stainless steel nameplates to celebrate the various persons who had occupied the position of Director NID over the years.
However the inlaid comments show that the actual nomenclature used was that of Executive Director till 2006 when it was changed during Dr Koshy’s second term to that of Director NID for which there has been no real explanation so far from anybody. The names and designations in between the plates are those of individuals who have held charge in the gap between two formally appointed Executive Directors which happened in 1972 and in 2008, both due to an unplanned transition in each case.


However, the NID did not start with its organization being headed by one Executive Director. According to the organization chart that was published in the NID Documentation1964 to 1969 (download the 24 mb pdf file here about the early history of NID) the institute was managed by a Directing Board which was later substituted by an Internal Management Board, both of which were headed by Gira Sarabhai while Gautam Sarabhai held the position of the founding Chairman of the Governing Council of NID. In 1970 they brought in Vice-Admiral Soman as the first Executive Director of NID with the intention of helping the faculty to ease the interface with the Ministry of Industries and the Government of India in order to obtain funds and to manage the general accounts and administration of the Institute. This did not work out as envisaged and there was a falling out of severe proportions and the first Executive Director, a distinguished Ex-Serviceman, was sacked by the Governing Council and all hell broke loose in the media and NID entered its first era of severe crisis of management.

Image 02: Organisation structure of NID before the induction of Vice Admiral Soman to the post of Executive Director at NID and Gira and Gautam Sarabhai with the Eames Office team at NID in 1964. The Directing Board was constituted to include the Heads of Industrial Design, Communication Design, Studios and Workshops, Architecture and the Secretary (Finance and Administration) and Chaired by Gira Sarabhai.


Prof Kumar Vyas and Dashrat Patel were both members of the Directing Board and later on the Internal Management Board, each representing the two major faculties, Industrial Design and Communication Design, respectively. I was a student at NID at that time and we too took sides in the grand battle lines that was drawn up between the ideological design teachers and students on the one side and the then NID Administration on the other trying to control and dictate how design education should be carried out. Vice Admiral Soman was a distinguished public figure but he was also quite unsuitable for the role that he took at NID and his departure from the institute and the controversy that followed left a long period of turmoil at NID after a decade of amazing developments that saw hundreds of great international designers making contributions to the shaping of a unique institution at Ahmedabad.

Image 03: Charles and Ray Eames camped at NID with the Eames Office team in 1964 to work on the Nehru Exhibition and this project was a major training ground for the first faculty at NID.


A list of these international design experts is available at the back pages of the NID Documentation 1964-69. Gautam Sarabhai produced an immaculate document that captured the spirit of NID culture and shared it with all of us students and the faculty in a series of meetings. The document, fondly called the “Structure Culture Document” has returned time and again in the hands of students and faculty whenever administrative problems came to a head at NID. Design was not understood by many and design education was an even bigger mystery for most administrators and Government babus, quite unlike the fairly comprehensible and stable systems that seemed to be present in medicine, technical and management education of the day.

Image 04: Governor of Gujarat, Sriman Narayan being hosted by Gautam Sarabhai at NID studios in 1972 and below Vice Admiral Soman guides distinguished visitors through the NID workshops.


Prof. Kumar Vyas was made the Head of the Internal Executive Committee that managed the affairs of NID from 1972 and 1975 during which time the affairs of the Institute were subjected to much scrutiny by a number of committees appointed by the Government of India to address the acquisitions of the outgoing Executive Director and in this period Gautam and Gira Sarabhai withdrew from the active management of the NID affairs leaving a bit of a power vacuum at the top of the NID management structure. The Wanchoo Commission Report of 1973 and then the Thaper Committee Report of 1974 – 75 gave a clean chit to the Sarabhais while they called for the creation of systems for the management of creative educational activities at NID. Romesh Thaper was instrumental for bringing in Ashoke Chatterjee as the next Executive Director of NID and he joined the Institute in mid 1975. Prof Kumar Vyas returned to being Head of Industrial Design Faculty. In the meantime my own relationship with the Institute was strained since I had joined the Faculty in early 1973 and had signed a bond to serve the Institute for a period of five years in return for the opportunity to travel to Chile, USA and UK as part of the Nehru Exhibition team in January 1973. However in the political turmoil of the era my services were abruptly terminated in May 1974 and I had to return to Madras to work with my father in his factory making wooden toys. Prof Kumar Vyas did not have an easy time at the top due to the constant fire fighting that needed to be done internally and the public reviews that were being conducted by various committees appointed by the Government of India. I was in constant contact with him through my mails from Madras asking NID to take me back as a faculty member and my appeal was forwarded to the then Chairman of Governing Council, Pupul Jayakar. Ashoke Chatterjee eventually invited me to come back to NID in mid 1976 to rejoin the faculty since I had by then made numerous representations to the Institute for a review of my case, and for me this being banished from NID was a blessing in disguise since I had a wonderful opportunity to work full time in a small scale industry and help transform it in a couple of years and in the process build a great deal of self confidence from this deep exposure to the real world of business and design. The story of my explorations with Rockytoys in Madras between 1974 and 1976 which was my period of being away from NID has been on this blog for some time now at these links below:
Rockytoys revisited blog post
Design for Small Scale Inductry: Some Reflections

Image 05: Ashoke Chatterjee with Romesh Thaper and a number of distinguished Governing Council members meeting senior faculty at a display of NID work in the show room and Aquarium area.


Ashoke Chatterjee (AC) came to Madras to meet me soon after he had settled himself in the hot seat at NID as the second Executive Director of an Institute in crisis. My letters for justice to the Chairman Governing Council had landed on his table and this visit besides other tasks was to check out what I had been up to in the year and a half that I had been away from NID. What he saw there at my fathers’ factory and the Rockytoys shop must have comforted him since I soon received a letter from Prof Kumar Vyas offering me a position at NID as a full time faculty, which I accepted and joined back in June 1976. AC was very fair in his dealings with everyone while he was firm in all his dealings and in doing what he thought was right, a stickler for ethics and values, which many feared since it was a new dimension for them in the bazaar values that prevailed in those days. He was interested in and understood Communication Design and in my view had a bias towards this field while the Industrial Design activity languished since there was no sympathy for this fledgling activity and industry in India did not seem to understand it either, need it or want it at all, at least in the form that we were offering it at NID. As a result much investments were made in communications design and designers at NID while the ID chaps bashed on at a lower echelon in the order of things at NID. Ravi Matthai emerged as a major mentor in this period and the Jawaja project.

Image 06: Ashoke Chatterjee and young NID faculty and students welcome Charles Eames on his last visit to NID in 1978.


The Rajasthan Family Welfare & Health project; the Water Mission Projects and the Agri Expo were examples of development action that AC supported and nurtured in his long tenure at NID as its ED from 1975 till 1985. Industrial design being left largely alone discovered other avenues of relevance and many of these were in the development and the crafts sectors in India and with opportunities in rural India, which was not being addressed by the communication design group. Under AC’s leadership NID conducted the remarkable UNIDO-ICSID Conference on Design for Development in 1979 and also won him the Sir Misha Black Award for excellence in Design Education at NID. In this period NID also won recognition at the ICSID-Phillips Award for excellence in Design for Development, a golden period for NID. (download the Ahmedabad Declaration as a pdf file and the Major Recommendations here). During this period NID also got massive financial support from the UNDP to upgrade equipment and send faculty for training as well as afford to invite a large number of international design consultants to review and strengthen its programmes and activities. However much of the UNDP investment went into the Communication Design areas of Video, Photography and Exhibit Design and I was a vocal critic of this imbalance particularly since there was no investment in the area of computers, which I felt was a critical new area to be explored. A huge number of Corporate Identity projects were handled by the NID faculty and students during this period.

Image 07: Vinay Jha and Prof. Yash Pal, Chairman Governing Council with Ray Eames and Kamaladevi Chattopadhyaya at the Eames Award Ceremony in 1988 on the NID Lawns, now called the Eames Plaza.


The strong bias towards Communication Design changed substantially, though briefly, when Vinay Jha, IAS joined NID for a brief tenure from 1985 to 1989 during which time the linkages with Indian Industry were improved through our sustained contacts with the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) and the CII-NID partnership took hold. On the international front the ICSID contacts took a fresh turn when Vinay Jha joined the Board at ICSID and forged strong linkages with a number of international schools and design professionals through his involvement on the ICSID Board. I was fortunate to be handling the NID Consultancy Division as the Chairman Design Office from 1981 to 1991, in an acting capacity in the early years and in with a full charge when Vinay Jha took office at NID. Vinay Jha brought in administrative reforms and decentralized decision-making and delegated financial authority to faculty heads and activity chairmen for the first time at NID. We made grand plans to reach design to industry and a number of road shows about design were rolled out to take NID designers and design teachers out of the campus to meet corporate leaders and this was organized through the CII connections. However the economic liberalization of the Indian economy was still in the making and much of this investment fell on deaf ears but few projects did materialize through all the legwork that was done in those days. 4000 proposals that I was personally involved in drafting on behalf of the NID faculty teams as head of consultancy led to the actual landing of about 400 professional projects, small and large, at NID and this was a huge body of experience which is still to be fully analysed and appreciated, hopefully to be documented and published some day. In all these projects the NID Executive Director had a large role in both client interface as well as in providing internal resources and supports. In 1986 Vinay Jha supported my suggestion that the book, “Bamboo & Cane Crafts of Northeast India” could be designed and printed at Bombay which we completed and launched in October that year. I had also repeated my plea that NID review its computer policy and Vinay Jha decided with the help of a Governing Council Committee to use the residual funds from the UNDP grants to set up a Mac and PC Lab at NID, which brought in computers for distributed use into NID in a substantial way for the first time.

Image 08: Vikas Satwalekar as a young faculty in 1972 and later after he stepped down as Executive Director, NID in 2003 (picture uploaded by Vikram was taken at the 2003 Convocation exhibition).


Vikas Satwalekar took over in 1988, first as Acting Director and was later given full charge and for the first time an NID trained designer and a faculty member was at the helm of affairs. The bias towards Communication Design however continued at NID and this time the emphasis was on Exhibition Design and many mega multi-disciplinary projects were taken up by the Institute. In other areas the activities got bogged down in many ways and while education took centre stage with a major curriculum review programme the activities with an intention of establishing quality benchmarks in design education. The areas of research and outreach did not flourish much due to an inward looking attitude and in much effort being expended in solving legacy problems with the labour union activities at NID. Ashoke Chatterjee continued to teach and conduct research at NID, first in a special capacity as Advisor during the term of Vinay Jha and later as a Senior Faculty teaching Design Management and then as a Fellow in Communication Design with a focus on Social Communication. The work done at NID was documented in a two-page poster-folder called NID Milestones in 1998 and it lists the major achievements of NID from 1961 to 1998. (download pdf file NID Milestones here as a 2.1 mb file) A major review of education was conducted during this period and I was involved on a committee that undertook this enormous task, which resulted in the production of an eleven-volume document that was placed in the NID Resource Centre. Each course was described and teachers were asked to present their course to the Curriculum Review Committee as it was called along with work examples and the intention was to articulate course objectives, methods and content as well as assignment level details of the various programmes at NID. The quality benchmarks for each course were expressed in the document so that the teachers, coordinators and students would have adequate information about the courses being offered and could be monitored through the various regulatory channels that existed, namely the Consultative Forum, Discipline Meetings, Faculty Forum and the Course Presentations, all of which were dismantled with the arrival of Dr Darlie O Koshy. With education being the focus of Vikas Satwalekar’s term in office, I too was involved in Institution building tasks that took the NID expertise to other centres of design learning and these can be seen in our contributions to the setting up of the Accessory Design Department at NIFT, New Delhi, the setting up of the Indian Institute of Crafts and Design in Jaipur and later in the setting up of the Bamboo and Cane Development Institute at Agartala which is described at this link below.
New Design Institutes for India: Blog post<>
Lecture of Intellectual History of Design: Blog post

Image 09: A quick search of Dr Koshy on Google images came up with these pictures, which are based on his much cultivated media presence over the eight years at NID.


Dr Darlie O Koshy came into NID in June 2000 and immediately went about making mega plans for the expansion of the student base as well as disciplines that were taught at the Institute. Working on a brief provided by the DIPP and NID Governing Council he started profiling the Institute in the media and called for growth in all activities especially education. Hundreds of activities were initiated in setting up NID Satellites at huge costs in as many as 25 cities each being copiously profiled in the National media and all education programmes too were scaled up and the number game was up and running and the Government seemed to love the show and money poured in from all sides. Two new campuses were hastily initiated and set up but this I believe was unfortunately at the cost of both quality and content. He moved at great speed and it can only be compared to the moves of a “Bull in a China Shop” and whatever came in the way was laid waste and new spaces sprung up where workshops and studios existed before, each with a new name and an unclear but significant promise to be delivered down the line. Huge funds were generated from Government and massive expenses were incurred and it seemed that funds were unlimited and the supply was infinite while accountability was a thing of the past. The number game was truly on and the student numbers were constantly quoted as a justification for the critique of loss of quality that faculty and students and later the alumni joined in the chorus that became a crescendo. There was huge media coverage during this period with the NID Executive Director appearing in the media on a regular basis and the message from the Institute was disseminated through the Design Plus and on the web as a continuation of the Milestones list which can be seen at this link on the NID website. However the Milestones list on the NID website is silent on the period between 1997 and 2000 which set the tone for the Corporate Communications from NID as it was renamed like so many other NID activities, disciplines and departments under the new Executive Director in 2000 onwards. History was being rewritten at NID. The Executive Director was given a second extended term of office in 2005 but soon afterwards the designation was suddenly changed to that of Director NID. The final critique came to a head when the new Gandhinagar Campus started creating numerous logistics crises and the last straw was the problems with the buildings and facilities that made both students and faculty react strongly leading to a review of all plans for the immediate use of the new campus. Dr Darlie O Koshy took premature relief and moved to a new assignment in New Delhi. Akhil Succenna was given temporary charge of Officiating as Director in October 2008 and the Governing Council set up a Search Committee to find a new Director for NID. The process took several months and after a process put up three names to the Government for its final decision.

Image 10: Pradyumna Vyas being welcomed by faculty, students and staff of NID in the presence of Salman Haider, Chairman Governing Council of NID and Mahesh Korvvidi, COO of Design Business Incubator at NID at a community function of samosa and tea on the NID lawns.


We now have a new Director in place with the appointment of Prof Pradyumna Vyas as the second in the new series as Director at NID and eighth in the line of all Heads of Institute if we include all Executive Directors, Acting Directors and the Directors who have presided over the affairs of the Institute at Ahmedabad over the years and this excludes Gira Sarabhai who was the defacto Head of NID in her capacity as Chairman of the Internal Management Board in the early years of NID. There is now a new hope amongst students and faculty and they have been vocal in expressing their hope in looking forward to a period when design will once again be given the importance that is due both within the Institute as well as across India in the 230 sectors in which it is needed today. Prof Pradyumna Vyas had a session with the faculty where he talked about consolidation and the need to put together a comprehensive history of NID to make visible the 50 years of efforts at the Institute and I do hope that this will be something that the country can be proud about. We need our alumni and our former faculty to participate in this effort and if we can use this initiative to also map out the contributions of our alumni and graduates it would provide a platform from which design can be brought to the focused attention of Government and Indian Industry in order to bring it on par with science, technology and management after having languished on the back burner for 50 years since the Eames Report. 50 years on it is a good time to reflect and build the seeds for the future of Design for India.

Notes:
Chairman of Governing Councils at NID
1. Gautam Sarabhai - Oct 1961 to Feb 1974
2. Pupul Jayakar – March 1974 to June 1978
3. B G Verghese – July 1978 to June 1981
4. Shrenik K Lalbhai – July 1981 to June 1984
5. Prof. Yash Pal – July 1984 to June 1990
6. H Y Sharada Prasad – July 1991 to July 1994
7. Hasmukh Shah – August 1994 to June 2005
8. Ajai Dua (IAS) – January 2006 to February 2007
9. Salman Haider – March 2007 to date

References:
1. Charles and Ray Eames, The India Report, Government of India, 1958 (download pdf 359 kb)
2. Gautam Sarabhai, “National Institute of Design: Internal Organisation, Structure and Culture, NID, 1972 (download pdf 357 kb)
3. National Institute of Design, “National Institute of Design Documentation 1964-69, NID, 1970 (download pdf 25 MB)
3. Romesh Thapar, “Report of the Review Committee on the National Institute of Design” NID, February 1974
4. National Institute of Design, “Ahmedabad Declaration on Industrial Design for Development: Major Recommendations for Promotion of Industrial Design for Developemnt”, UNIDO-ICSID INDIA 79, NID, 1979 (download pdf file 11.1 mb)
5. National Institute of Design, “25 Years of Design Service: 1961 to 1986 – The Trainers” A poster of 43 faculty profiles from NID, NID, 1986 (download pdf 490 kb)
6. Kamla Choudhury, Report of the Review Committee on Future Directions and Forward Planning for National Institute of Design, August 30, 1989, NID, 1989
7. Ashoke Chatterjee, R K Bannerjee and Neera Seth, “40 Years of NID” (an unpublished draft manuscript), NID Publications, 1998.
8. National Institute of Design, “NID Milestones: 1961 to 1997”, NID, 1998 (download pdf file 2.1mb)
Design for India: Prof. M P Ranjan
9. Milestones on the NID website ; 1961-1970 ; 1971-1980 ; 1981-1990 ; 1991-1997; 2000-2001 ; 2002-2003 ; 2004-2005; 2006-2007 ; Integrated Design Services 2001-2005 Note these links to NID website are now disfunctional since NID has changed the links or dropped the items from their website.

22 comments:

  1. Thanks Ranjan for taking the effort and sharing such significant information about NID. Regards Sanchari

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow! there's so much we didn't know about this place. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Ranjan -- you are a gem for focusing this historical lens on the leadership of NID. Wishing you all well from afar.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thank you for this Ranjan, really.

    The link to the downloadable pdf of NID Milestones seems to be missing.

    I do hope that Prof. Pradyumna as the new director will bring about some changes in what I found (this time round) to be a very dormant atmosphere at NID.

    Charting the history of NID is a great idea indeed and I hope students will be given the opportunity to be involved in the project.

    ReplyDelete
  5. An awesome read. Thanks for taking the effort to collate this.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hello Sir

    this has been a nice article but apart from history nid has some serious issues to address , when i was a
    student of product design , i felt that in NID product design department took a back seat , when we go in the indusrty we cannot stand upto the competition from IITs and IISCs , those guys have less creativity i agree but they have some really good execution skills both physical as well as virtual , we can only imagine but they are good at making it ,

    most of their aluminis have started their own design firms while very few almost negligible amount have started product design firms , those who have also arent doing so well

    In NID visual communication is given more preference and Product design takes a back seat ,

    i have not written this to create a tehelka but as a feedback to you from my experience

    i hope u will train future nidians better so they can cope up with professional challenges better

    doing a job in companies like LG is good but what we have to ask ourselves is how many IDEOs has NID created

    we dont want sucess to be measured in terms of jobs but in terms of entreprenual startups

    very few product designers have their own start ups

    NID product design faculty should really start teaching Softwares like PRO E and Solidworks as they are industry standards and we have to work within these constraints

    NIdians are very creative thats for sure , NID education has given me a solid base , but execution of projects has to be worked on i feel

    I hope with Pradyumna as ED , more efforts will be made to strenghthen product design , after all thats true design

    Sushrut

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thank you for the informative read Ranjan. The whole story is well put within these few words and makes you realise the course of events through time.

    I really hope Mr Pradyumna Vyas will bring about a freshness and transparency which has been missing for long.

    Priyanka
    P.S: The note on the stainless steel name boards is quite amusing!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thanks Ranjan, for sharing this very significant information on NID/Indian design history (I am not sure if any other exists, would love to get enlightened on that if it is).
    Not being from the institute & having worked from far for you on one of the projects, i knew very less about NID & your association with it. So that's also been an eye opener for me here.

    ReplyDelete
  9. thanks ranjan for writting such a wonderful piece of masterpiece. I strongly feel the lowest tip of the graph is behind us now, its high time to move into high gear of implementation and execution.For this both the alumni and ex faculty members have to join hands to bring in more experience, new dimensions and quality which NID is famous for.

    ReplyDelete
  10. It’s great to see such a collective post about NID. It’s so amazingly jotted down. Thanks Ranjan for sharing the same :)

    Looking forward to the progress of NID with the new Director.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hi Ranjan,
    It is a very interesting read about the history of the top brass at NID. Its amazing how much we are unaware about - as students and now as faculty around campus.

    Thanks for charting it all down so beautifully.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hi Ranjan, it is a shame that under Koshy, NID was absolutely ruined - there is no polite term for it. from a students perspective, we would constantly bring up problems, issues and propose solutions, which like all things, fell on deaf ears. If anything, I can give it to you in writing how strongly students felt against Koshy and his 'cream coated' ways, dictatorial policies, absolute non recognition of a student base, disrespect for real faculty, and most of all - the atrocious naming of various labs!

    I am optimistic the worst is past and that we shall head for a brighter future with PV's welcoming attitude. However, we cannot simply rewind 20 years. I believe to start of with, students, the SAC should be given a little more respect and power - with at least a minority say in everything within the institute. This way, we can slowly bring back faculty forums, consultative forums etc and hold everybody accountable for their actions. Hopefully, this will soon rid the institute of is 'chalta hai' attitude and its joke of an education and credit and evaluation system.

    It is really difficult to keep motivating myself and I hope my junior batches do not feel dejected and short-changed.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Dear Ranjan,
    It was so great of you to put up this post.
    Thank you so much for sharing your experiences through the time.

    A remarkable read.
    muzayun

    ReplyDelete
  14. Directors at NID: Comments on Facebook

    I posted a link on my Facebook page about this blog post on NID’s Directors and there has been a rich response from the comments there which I am quoting below;
    M P Ranjan
    29 April 2009

    MPR: April 24 at 12:30am
    I have just posted on my blog long note on NID Directors on Design for India.

    Ashish Deshmukh at 3:07am April 24
    Many thanks MP.
    So much for passion.
    One can walk the bridge to feel the heritage of NID.

    Vishpala Hundekari at 9:05am April 24
    This is just superb heritage walk.. Thanks a lot Ranjan

    Sanjiva Prasad at 9:59am April 24
    Prof. Ranjan: About the Vice-Admiral Soman controversy, there is a Library of Congress exhibit on the Eames couple, in which a letter from my father to Charles Eames is displayed which discusses the controversy. Perhaps you have already seen it...

    http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/eames/images/vcc18a.jpg

    Rupesh Patange at 11:09am April 24
    Wow .. I loved the article.. WOW

    Ranjan MP at 11:18am April 24
    Dear Sanjiva

    I have had this paper for quite some time now but I am always curious about what was on the other side of the page and about what could have been Eames' reply! I suppose some historian will find out and let us all know.

    Divya Pathak Bahukhandi at 11:23am April 24
    Thanks Ranjan. Its a great account of the various phases at NID. I really hope Great things happen again and the golden age returns!

    Sanjiva Prasad at 1:21pm April 24
    Dear Prof. Ranjan: I wonder too. The original letter in in the Library of Congress archives (Eames collection), and should therefore be accessible via a request. What Charles Eames replied does not seem to be in my father's personal letters; it must be in the PMO archives. Or in the Indira Gandhi papers, if he wrote directly to her.

    Clearly the outcome was the series of committees including the one headed by Romesh Thapar, culminating in the search for a new director, resulting in Ashoke Chatterjee's appointment.

    AC spoke a bit about the circumstances of his appointment and personal aspects of my father's role in NID in his talk at the memorial meeting for my father on 25-9-2008 at IIC. I can send you an mpeg file of that talk.

    In return, can I somehow get hold of transcripts of the Convocation speeches given by my father as NID chairperson and even earlier? We don't have copies of them surprisingly.

    Sanjiva Prasad at 1:22pm April 24
    I forgot to add: great article. Personal and subjective in style, yet objective in giving the big picture.

    Ranjan MP at 3:07pm April 24
    Dear Sanjiva

    I located the second page of the letter from your father just by a bit of detective work, deduction from the http string:
    The first page is this one:
    < http://www.loc.gov/exhibit

    s/eames/images/vcc18a.jpg>
    and the second page I just changed the last character from "18a" to "18b"...
    < http://www.loc.gov/exhibit

    s/eames/images/vcc18b.jpg>

    I can send you the published version of the convocation speeches if you send me your postal address and I can mail it immediately.

    Yes, the voice file of AC's speach would be very interesting indeed. Plesae send it by "YouSendIt.com" if possible.

    With warm regards

    M P Ranjan
    from my office at NID
    24 April 2009 at 3.05 pm IST

    Sanjiva Prasad at 5:49pm April 24
    Fantastic. Never thought of changing the last letter of the URL -- I didn't actually read the URL. You probably knew Nirmaljit Singh, who is mentioned on the second page -- who was ambassador to Venezuela etc.; Premalya, his wife, is a sculptor.

    Akila Seshasayee at 7:31pm April 24
    Ranjan, what a pleasure. And I just loved looking at the photographs.

    Ranjan MP at 8:21pm April 24
    Dear Sanjiva

    I got greedy and tried all the alphabets and combinations after I got through the first time but in vain!! Could not figure out the naming logic in the URL...

    Yes, the second page was personal and for me it had new insights since I worked on the 1972 Nehru Exhibition with Vikas for the New Delhi launch in November 1972 and later on the 1973 version in Chile with Dashrat Patel in January 1973 when we met President Alande in person at Santiago and it makes a lot of sense, the extended history wall.

    Ranjan MP at 8:26pm April 24
    Dear Akhila

    Great to hear from you. Yes, the pictures bring back a whole lot of memories. Images can do just that. Yes. The big tree is now even bigger. Remember?

    Vivienne Lucksom at 10:51pm April 24
    Hear, hear Ranjan! Thank you for this glimpse of NID. You bridge the personal and the bird's eye view remarkably well.

    Amit Krishn Gulati at 12:48am April 25
    Ranjan...this has the makings of an epic and enjoyable history and hope you can drive the process of documenting 50 years of design at NID...look forward to more on this front

    Ranjan MP at 6:42am April 25
    Dear Amit

    My intentions were to document and comment and it started a while before the blog itself which is now about a 120 posts deep, earlier posts started with my posts on PhD-Design and other lists which include another 100 posts by now. Now we need to get our alumni to pitch in and share their stories and not just case studies and this needs a platform and the time is right for that to happen.

    Ranjan MP at 6:47am April 25
    Dear Divya

    Great to hear from you. Where have you been?

    Chandrashekhar Bheda at 8:25am April 25
    Dear Ranjan, this is Wonderful! history of NID, museum and a publication of this documentation with more contributions from all for 50 years celebration....

    Meghna Ajit at 9:31am April 25
    Dear Ranjan,
    Thankyou for this amazing fact file.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Dear Ranjan,

    Thanks a lot for the great review and such a lot of information. i myself have read the unpublished manuscripts and the other documents here as a part of my research for a particular classroom project at NID.. but it feels great to read all of it..
    one also feels great to be a part of this institute with such great legacy.
    I do support Rustom's comments about how Koshy ruined the institute of its great past and vision set by stalwarts in design when NID started.
    PV is really welcome by the everyone on campus and we all have great expectations from him.
    i hope the curriculum review remains at the top of the to do list as mentioned by him in the press.
    we also hope that SAC gets a little more say and power in the administrative and academic.
    We are all ready and welcome to the change!

    regards,

    Vivek Sheth

    ReplyDelete
  16. Prasant SivadasanApril 29, 2009 at 1:44 PM

    Hi Ranjan,

    That was a great read! The old photos(and the blog post) provide a nice glimpse into NID's evolution as a design school...

    Prasant

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hello Ranjan,

    Will you please write a book on what you feel,pedestal with your analysis?! I am honored to have you as a teacher.
    :)
    Milann

    ReplyDelete
  18. Hi Ranjan and all the readers.

    NID has a history, and it is good enough to get nostalgic about it. But, in this whole nostalgia, we forget the present status of NID (let this not be mistaken as an outlet or a vent of anger, but I am trying to reach out to all who read this post, through this well-established platform).

    With all our great traditions in their own place, why should an institute like NID go to ruins? Why should the students lose the much needed 'design perspective'? Why should the relationships between students and faculty or even between faculty become so bitter?

    Behind all the present news articles and the so-called great achievements of our institute, lies a different world altogether, where a severe lack of the understanding of good design education and a designerly perspective is felt at the very core; where faculty (I dare say) are involved in so much 'political' behaviour that they lose out on the much needed thing - giving design education; where despite over-industrialisation and the mass-production systems having brought the current recession on the world, we still want to cater to the industry following what THEY want rather than change their perspective into something holistic...etc. etc....the list can go on.

    And our incapacity to put design in an 'essence' became very obvious, when Mr. Rahul Gandhi came to our campus, asking us that ONE thing that he might take to New Delhi with him to promote Design and NID, and we could not give it.

    So with all due respect to our beloved Institute, but NID's history sadly has become a matter of reference of great traditions, simply because neither did the people have the courage to carry them on and refine them to excellence, nor did they have the non-selfish attitude of looking beyond themselves and actually serving to the cause of design.

    Ranjan, thanks a lot for this platform, so we all can share what we observe and feel, without having the need to be politically correct.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Dear Ranjan,

    Sincere thanks for putting up this informative article about the history of NID in relation to it's executive heads. This documentation would certainly enlighten at least those who doesn't know much about the Institute's history and the kind of culture we once had. I'm hopeful that with a new director who shares a similar heritage with the rest of NID fraternity, things would improve one by one, bit by bit.

    Cheers!
    Abhishek Shrivastava
    New Media 2005-7

    ReplyDelete
  20. hi ranjan, hope u doing good.........thnx for sharing such a beautiful part of NID history........

    best regards/ kanupriya

    ReplyDelete
  21. hi ranjan,

    hope u r doing good.

    thnx for sharing such a beautiful part of NID history..........

    best rgds/ kanupriya

    ReplyDelete
  22. Just came across this one, guess I have been absconding from the usual forums like Design India and Facebook.

    I loved looking at the pics, a younger NID and of course a young MPR! I think I did spot Aditi in there too ;-) Its remarkable, thank you for taking us down memory lane - you balance of the personal and the objective bits - of history, fact and points of view is, as always, articulate, refreshing and welcome.

    ReplyDelete

I reserve the right to edit comments. Please keep it simple and to the subject.

 
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.