Sunday, February 23, 2014

Vanaja, the Nature Club!









Friends,

Recently we started an activity  "Vanaja", a nature club for architectural students of Banubai Nanawati Arch College, it's a woman college, popularly known as BNCA. The club activities will involve a lecture about forest from the experts in the field along with a film show related to wild life & conservation once in a month & an outing to various biodiversity spots around Pune. Also once in a year there will be a trip to national parks like kanha or tadoba, where the students will be actually staying with forest around. It's with the thought of cultivating importance of nature conservation right from education level so when these girls will enter in professional world, they will have  Eco friendly attitude developed already for their creations! Principal Mr. Anurag Kashyap & Professor Asmita Diwekar have taken lead in formation of Vanaja along with Anuj Khare from nature walk & Ashwini & Yogesh from RASA foundation are as support team.
Any such concept has to be shared with the students first as why this activity is important & so I wrote down my thoughts regarding the same & here is the sharing.....

Sanjay
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*   Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better… Albert Einstein
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*   BNCA Girls, long time back our dear Principal Kashyap sir himself has told me that all great names in architecture are philosopher from within, as whenever I come across any quote related to urban planning or design it’s usually by a big name in architecture. Not that there aren’t others who knows or have done something in the field, yet what it makes special to become great is one has to have a thinking side to become real great. Being an engineer by myself yet I respect architecture more than my own field is because its architect who thinks of any structure & then it comes on paper & then we make it in existence. What is more important than any AutoCAD software or drawing sheets, is the canvas of the mind, as here is where the first form of any creation takes place. And for this one has to understand the vastness of our own minds canvas & as it doesn’t happen automatically.

What you will be learning in the course of architecture is drawing lines, what you will have to learn on your own is understand the power of these lines! And this understanding process is like a self soul search & who better than the nature as a teacher in this search! Now how to meet this teacher named Nature? Well very simple, even on a normal day the nature meets us in many forms, it can be a piece of sky we saw from our window, the rising sun, a breeze flowing around, the bright moon on horizon, flowing water of a stream, chirping of a sparrow, new leaves of a tree, blossom of flowers of a plant in your balcony the list is endless! As there thousands of such natural wonders happening around us but how many times we notice it? Just like a routine dialogue by the professor in our class room, which we usually ignore & the lecture ends without adding any knowledge in our minds; same way all above things also passes without we learning anything from nature around us, as we have closed our minds on this front. In recent, many of the times you must be coming across the term Nature Conservation & then there is a term Nature Inspired Designs, in designing any new structures! Well, for knowing that you have to know what is the nature in first place, as without knowing what to conserve how you will conserve it through your designs! One has to have a Guru even in finding a Guru, rather I will say to understand the right Guru for the right course!

Here is where Vanaja comes in picture; which means Daughter of Forest God! Many of you will wonder how it’s related to what you are studying & some unnecessary activity in your already submission burdened life! But here on this platform you will be able to meet people who have been exposed to the nature for most of their life & many of them has made it as their carrier, such is their dedication. Nature is not just forest or a tiger but it’s the term with infinite dimensions, it includes even the people around. And forest is the best place to meet nature because here the intervention of human is least & you can get exposed to the things the way they are i.e. in natural form. Every tree, every leaf, flowing water, calls of different birds & animals, their movement, tracks & pug marks, the sun , the moon & the stars  spread over the vast expand of clear sky all is present in raw form here. And it’s in forest you can experience that nothing happens without cause in nature; here a tiger can pass through heard of dears without even looking at them because there is no greed  but everything is on need base & that’s first thing you should know. In a way forest is display of nature by so many images we called biodiversity. From grass lands to dry forests to wet lands, you can see many forms of life. 

In short it’s a life cycle taking form around these places which we call habitat. The beauty of forest in any form is it’s always alive with some activity; such is the life here & role of every specie in nature. Even it may look silent on top but somewhere termites are building their home under the earth, honeybees are collecting honey from wild flowers, ants are searching their food below the leafs spread on ground, somewhere on the top of a Sal tree silently an eagle is waiting for prey & the list of activities is ever going; it’s a complete habitat with so many occupants which may look still & silent but it’s never that way in actual, rather nature makes one of the most lively habitats in the form of forests! As an architect it’s very important to understand the term habitat as after all whatever we will be designing is going to be part of some habitat & many of you will be designing a habitat for humans, which we call a township or a colony.

Remember whatever structure we will be designing which in end will be an encroachment on some habitat, so it’s very important to know the existing habitat or life cycle, as then only we can design the structure in such a way that it won’t be intrusion in the existing habitat but will end up as part of that habitat. Today it’s ongoing battle between natural habitats like all sorts of grass lands, wet lands, forests, water bodies & human needs rather greed’s! And one need not have to be an astrologer to tell who will be the looser at end; as except human beings no other species have architects & engineers equipped with all sorts of machinery at their service for building their habitats. Every day one or more specie is getting extinct i.e. vanished from the planet just because they have no more their habitat to live or fulfill their day to day needs. Our greed for space for Homes, Roads & Industries, IT parks, Amusement parks & many more is eating out every square inch of greens around & in the process we are driving every other specie away from their habitat. With this speed we don’t need any world war to wipe out the life but our design approach itself is enough to do that, only thing is it will be a bit longer process than the Nuclear Bomb! As today its tiger or vulture, which is in great danger of being extinct, tomorrow it will be any living creature other than human being & one day even we will be our enemy over the habitat then there will be nothing to design for as there will be no life. And that will be biggest defeat of the art & science which you are learning now i.e. Architecture! As it’s you who will be creator of a world without nature in it!

But like each coin has two sides,the very same mind which can destroy the world also can save the world, all depends on our attitude towards the growth as no one will say go back & live in primitive world. We have to balance our needs keeping in mind that others too have the very same need & for them nature is the only architect. So all you have to do is as the great scientist has said, just look deeper in to the nature, feel its beauty & accept the challenge of making it better instead destroying it. Learn to look at a tree or a patch of grass or a water body as a life to many species & then let your creation be part of it. And for that you will have to see around through the eyes of nature god then only you can become a true Architect!

So go ahead & be a good human being who cares about nature at Vanaja, which is a journey to what you want to be! As being a good Architect doesn’t mean you have a first class degree of the said branch or got numbers of projects under your firms name but it means you have understood life a shade better than others!
--
Sanjay Deshpande

Sanjeevani Dev.

MSEDCL (Power) Committee, Credai, Pune

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