Dasharath Patel with Sudhir Sharma and a Student Priyanka – picture by Subrata Bhowmick

We are just getting ready to put together 6th issue of POOL and thats focussed on 50 years of Design in India. This was Subrata’s idea and he also suggested that we must ask Dasharath Patel about the beginning of this Journey…since he was the first person who joined in to create NID (National Institute of Design), and he is also perhaps the only padmashree awardee designer.

I was in Ahmedabad two weeks back to meet him, take his pictures and record the interview. he spoke very passionately about the beginning of NID, about the state of Design in India today and he also showed us his latest project, a range of Chinaware… I felt the same enthusiasm in his showing off his new project as i had noticed in some students who showed me their graduating projects that very morning.

We finshed layouts of his interview and i mailed them to Subrata to show him and check if everything is fine.

And in the morning i get a call from Subrata saying ‘Sudhir, Dasharath bhai is no more”..

many thoughts about him and many impressions that i had in very few interactions with him over the years go thru my head..

He was not at NID when i joined in 1983, but we always heard about him..I first met him when i went to Chinnai for internship with ‘Hindu’ in my fourth year. met him in a shack on the beach..he was wearing a white dhoti with a big tilak on his forehead…and he talked a lot about what responsibilities i had as a young designer. I met him a few years back at an event in IDC mumbai on the stage…and he mentioned more or less similar things with a lot of urgency in his voice. and recently in Ahmedabad when i met him for the POOL interview… he put the same concerns but in much more relaxed way. I was surprised, since i was aware of his bitterness for the way Design is shaping up in India today. I expected him to be much more negative.

But he he surprised us, I did mention this to him and he very smilingly said…”it is upto you now’..

Dashrath with his latest project