This podcast is part of CEPT’s attempt to supplement the online learning effects in these uncertain and unprecedented times. This Podcast is the fourth segment of the series titled ‘Architecture in India’ which is aimed at architecture students to listen, reflect and self-learn. This section is an audio essay by the eminent academician and historian Dr. Tridip Suhrud.
Dr. Tridip Suhrud is currently the provost of CEPT University. He is a renowned scholar of Gandhi Studies and his body of work includes several projects on the life and thoughts of Gandhi, the social and cultural history of modern Gujarat, and translations of various literary and social science texts in Gujarati and English.
The Podcast explores Gandhi’s approaches to the division of labor and his outlook on technology that has instigated a Domino effect on a permanent economy. Dr. Tridip Suhrud also explains Gandhi’s occupancy with the material world and his immediate stance on the issues of societal hierarchies. Did Gandhi unknowingly encourage an entire nation to participate in the first design competition? Or did his photographs create an image of self for the young nation? These are topics unearthed in the podcast.
The podcast itself is well narrated with a seamless flow. The topic is engaging and heavy historical facts are laid down with great engagement and fit the narrative. Dr. Tridip Suhrud portrays the linearity of Gandhi’s life with clear distinction and relevant titbits to keep the description light.
As an architecture and design enthusiast, I have come to turn to podcasts for a quick information overload while I’m sketching or drafting. This podcast was perfect for the same. However, it’s unexpected details will force you to stop in your tracks and rethink your history class from 9th grade. It’s relevance to art and designs is immediately evident and for most people, the audio essay may seem like an ordinary recount of Gandhi’s life, but from an architect’s perspective; one can see the connection to the modern Indian outlook on design and labor.
Divided into two parts; the first is an elaboration of Gandhi’s emphasis on labor and his self-image. Dr. Suhrud explains how Gandhi probably envisioned himself and how the world viewed him from photographs and his actions. These opinions caused major events – they integrated the working class and their body of work into our Independence movement and helped pave positive imagery for the labor class. Parallels can be drawn to the masons and carpenters in the architectural experience. The eminence of this vision has led to a labor class – centric architecture that aims at shedding light on the ingenuity of the work in various spectrums of hand labor. This is the perfect way to emphasize the same; A historical narrative of how a single person’s portrayal and the image has caused predominance and initiated the economic system we have in place today.
The second part brings Gandhi’s integral offerings to the modern economic systems we have in place. Gandhi both forth the notion that India is united in its working class, its structures of hands-on working. Whether that be weaving, walking for salt and leather tanning. His legacy is this awareness of innovation from the most burdened classes in society. Dr. Tridip Suhrud recognizes that Gandhi acknowledged the transformative potential of materiality. Working with one’s hands and transforming the act of materialism is the epitome of a state of communion with self and the nation. The Mahatma has created a deep and lasting inability to be morally innovative and ethically responsive. Dr. Suhrud recounts how this movement is most deeply felt in the realm of political economy.
This podcast is an excellent addition to both students of architecture and architects’ repertoire alike. The simple narration is easily comprehensible to non-architects and enthusiasts. The essay is not bulky and creates a flow with appropriate examples for the backing. It is absolutely a recommendation, to anyone willing to enrich their knowledge for a better understanding of the impact of history’s domino effect on today’s working class and economy.
The Eyes of the Skin is a crisp yet detailed read and a milestone in the history of Architectural Theory. The body of the podcast was unexpected and detailed all at once. A compelling argument for designers listening to this podcast is that we live in an age and practice a profession where the novelty of handcrafts is reappearing on the market.
Today, design and technology go hand in hand however, this excerpt helps listeners comprehend the path it took to arrive at this stage of automation. Dr. Tridip Suhrud’s historical approach to design is inspiring and provides insight into the Mahatma’s life in the realm of architecture and design. The philosophies and notions Gandhi held are still very much applicable to this day.
Link to listen to the podcast: https://www.listennotes.com/podcasts/architecture-in/tridip-suhrud-working-with-l3EyhAtM0de/#episode