To mark the opening of the 2018-19 cycle of The Merit List, The First Takshila lecture on Architecture and Society was delivered by Prof Neelkanth Chhaya on August 14, 2018. The lecture was followed by a dialogue with Bijoy Ramachandran and an interaction with the audience.
Transcript of the Lecture
When I was asked to give this lecture, I could not find many contemporary authors or critics who would make sense and I must add that I am going to talk about Architecture in India and Architectural Practice in India. It could apply to other places, but I am focusing on India since that is my experience. Really not very much was found in recent literature, and so I had to go back almost to 1950’s to Jacques Ellul’s book, The Technological Society and Propaganda: Formation of Men’s Attitudes which became so useful to set in a train of thoughts as to what is happening to architecture today-which I will come to in due time. But the other thing that arose in my mind was that why has the architect rarely been a culture hero in our culture? There is Vishwakarma of course who was a god, so we need not consider him but we had King Mayadunne (of Sitawaka) who built a palace that led to a war. Is this what an architect does?
So the closest I could find was the architect of Jaipur city, Vidyadhar Bhattacharya who became a culture hero to such an extent that there are ragas, and bandishes in which his name is mentioned. More recently I could think of only two or three names who came close to being considered as those who did something for society, and therefore could be considered culture heroes. All others were of more limited applications. One could think of Laurie Baker, or Charles Correa, or B.V. Doshi but other than that there are very few who could be considered having an impact on the society as a whole. And this I thought was a very telling fact which we should as architects think about, why is it so? I thought it would be useful to do quick review of what we have been doing since the 1950s- the first phase post-independence (1950-1980) which I would call as ‘Youthful Confidence’.
There is this bunch of young people who start practices all over India- whether in the government or private practices who confidently, adapt and come up with new ideas. They adapt the principles of modernism, look at the context of India, and confidently without any doubt whatsoever, they make some of the finest buildings that we have today. And even the lesser architecture of that time has a kind of confidence which is rare in subsequent times. A confidence that says this is the way a city should be built (Bhubaneswar for instance), this is the way a neighbourhood should be or a house should be. The projects are mostly small or medium, the techniques are mostly engineering techniques and they do not depend much on crafts or artists but on engineering. The budgets are frugal and I think this is a very important thing that the challenge of building with such budgets led to this.
“The society looks for welfare and equity, and for that sees standardization as a model.”
But the hero of this time, if you look at the Hindi movies is the Engineer. It is the engineer who is building a dam, or doing something that will transform the society. Then comes the 1980s and 1990s which is my generation – a generation of doubt, a generation asking whether we were really doing the right thing, what were our roots, requisitioning everything, and therefore the work changes. It is small in scale by and large, it explores artisanal crafts and techniques, it has slightly better budgets than the past but not much, it looks for continuity of tradition and cultural appropriateness as value, and the filmmaker or the artist is the hero of this time.
And then the last period – the 1990s up to now which I would call as a period of ‘Drifting on the Market’. I apologize but I am constrained to use this term. This is no criticism of younger architects. The scales are huge, the technique is now managerial, and the architect has to be within the managerial role. This is something which is very important now since the budgets are huge but what does the building have to say? It has to have novelty and impressiveness these are the values. The culture hero of this time is the celebrity. This kind of progression from the maker of a new nation to the questioner of the nation, to the celebrity who has everything in command by sleight of hand – this becomes the kind of model.
We have now come to this point in time where we are one might say, an ‘Image-driven Society’. It is a very pessimistic picture but let us at least look at it carefully. As we become saturated with material goods we then turn first to ideas, and then finally to experiences. Essentially you are first sold goods like in the rationing days, then you are sold services, and now you are sold experiences. I would like to quote from Michael L. Benedikt’s ‘Reality and Authenticity in the Experience Economy’ of 2001, “Today we live and work in the experience economy. As free-market capitalism evolves, the locus for the creation of new value and with it the locus of new profits shifts from the production, distribution, and consumption of material goods first to services and then to information, and then to experiences. The focus of more and more of our creativity then is not things really, nor services as parcels of useful labour, but information fields treated as private property in which memorable and entertaining experiences can be added. In short, every place, every product, every service, and event in the experience economy becomes themed as though it were part of an endless carnival.”
A constant novelty and the subject becomes saturated, becomes empty. This is the emptying selves that happens because one after another you consume one experience, then you consume another, and this goes on endlessly. Experience after experience we remain unfulfilled and empty, and this is what the architect is supposed to handle too. The architect is the entertainer, the magician, the jester for society, and this leads to something very important in that you are not anymore heard because you are simply the entertainer. And here I would like to quote Ellul, “Artists who accept being confined to their role as crazies and jesters, playing with words they dramatically strengthen the position of scientists and technicians according to whom words are only a game.” So we are classified into a non-serious bunch who play with words, with images, and go on performing the ‘abracadabra’- a rabbit comes out of a hat and so on. Serious work is what the inventors do, what the start-ups do- we do not. We should be side-lined as the entertainers of this society. This is what we have allowed ourselves to be bracketed into.
After this, I thought, if it so bad what shall we do? What must we do? Is there any way out? And then I remembered Arnold Toynbee’s ‘A Study of History’. Toynbee has a very interesting theory, and some very interesting ideas although he is not considered be great anymore. His idea was that civilizations decay or when big challenges come and they are unable to respond with their normal equipment, and at that point in time if a creative minority steps back to try to discriminate between that which is good in the civilization useful still, and that which needs to be thrown away, and that which needs to be rethought, then that creative minority creates a nucleus which starts being capable of responding to the new challenges of society. So I was wondering, could we as architects become a part of a creative minority that retreats from this mad scramble and begins to give some serious thought to what we have, and what we can do? But there are some things to be careful about.
“A creative minority inspires rather than compels.”
This is very important. You cannot compel. If I look at the first generation in the 1950s especially on an international scale, the idea of the architect as the ‘Messiah’ who would come out with a solution and then the politicians would help him impose it with the state as the supporter and so on – this is something which we have to move away from. The creative minority has to inspire rather than compel. But such minorities deteriorate if they worship their former self. This is very important in today’s time in our culture – if we worship our former self without criticism, if we consider it as something which is to be worshipped then we will become prideful and become unable to respond to the challenge. These are Toynbee’s words, not mine.
So the creative minority has to be very careful that it does not become something which stifles responsiveness, which does not give out a dictum or become a dogma which it imposes upon society, and does not align with the large forces – and there I think Matter’s jury’s concerns are a little unnecessary as to why architects are not effective in society. I think we should not be worried about that, because we have gone into wrong corners when we have tried to do that – when we tried to do the politics of organizing, and tried to work into the government, or tried to work into the states mechanisms, and then tried to make an architecture. There it increases the power of the state which is a very, very dangerous thing to do today. That the creative minority rather than increasing power has to create the dispersed non-powers which are inspiring a different model of life.
It is a different model of life which leads to a different model of architecture, and the creative minority has to allow itself with so many other kinds of thinkers in order to become an effective creative minority. The other idea comes from Arthur Koestler’s book, ‘The Act of Creation’ from 1950s-60s. Here, Koestler quotes a French phrase: “Reculer Pour Mieux Sauter” meaning, “To draw back in order to make a better jump”. So a culture which is on a trajectory of a supposed progress which is going to in a moment destroy itself if not careful because the trajectories are always going that way. The creative minority has to learn to retract in order to jump. This posture of retraction is not a backward-looking posture. It is simply a muscular concentration of energies within oneself in order to be able to jump. So this drawing back is very, very important.
“How do we draw back in architecture? How do we ‘reculer’ in architecture? I thought about how can we do it because we can talk in general, but how can we do it? So I thought we have to go back to the archaic beginnings of architecture, and not the cultural beginnings because there we are into a very, very slippery territory in today’s time.”
And from where does the archaic architecture begin? It begins from the springboard of necessity. Today necessity is thought of as some kind of a weakness that you know because we are weak human beings who need food every day, so we have to do a job, and that job is a necessity, etc. No. Look at necessity in a more profound sense of the fact that human life is uncertain, human life wants to create rhythms which are comparatively stable but not always the same. These are rhythms in which it would like to participate, it is willing to take risks but it is still looking for a certain corner in which it can begin to start doing something. This kind of a notion of necessity is something with which we have to learn to work. So then architecture as a means to: 1. Comprehend, 2. Accept 3. Adapt to,
and 4. Make tangible the rhythms of nature. I think this is fundamental and most profoundly necessary because we have lost contact with sunlight, with a growing plant. This does not mean we have to live outside cities.
We have lost contact with anything which talks about rhythm, which talks about the fact that life is a rhythmic process in which death will also occur and you accept that, you accept decay and deterioration – but you always see that the rhythm is something which will continue. Architecture began there. As I suggest that our concern with light, volume, mass, lightness, proportion – all of these have roots in seeing the ‘rhythmicity’ of existence. If architecture moves back to that then it might be able to understand the day, night, seasons, birth, death, growth, and the sense of wonder that this rhythm creates. So we do not have to go outside – our own body is the sight of nature.
“Drawing back from the straight line thinking, of problem and analysis of solution, I think we have to start creating something which begins in us- withdrawing from the aimless race, refusing to destroy, and concentrating on necessity.”
This is what Gandhi said and I think it is profoundly important today. Necessity not just physical but necessity for a spiritual richness and death which comes out of the rhythms of living. But for this you have to have, and I quote Ellul from ‘The Humiliation of the Word’, “Silence these noises and fall silent oneself. Nothing but silence can allow a person to hear a word of truth again as it traces its path through the echoes of nature. Hear a word of truth again as it traces its path through the echoes of nature.” This means that the reflective consciousness is as important as the active consciousness. In this time when we are flooded with ever changing images, remaining in that retraction in order to jump. So then we are looking at a mastery over self, rather than a mastery over the world.
You remember Howard Roark in Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead has a mastery over every material, over gravity, and can do anything. He stands tall, and rises up as the creative genius. This image of the creative person as opposed to that of the Nathdwara Painters– there is a solid sociological study in which without exception each artist said, “I first have to forget myself and I have to be inspired by something bigger than me.” This is not about religion, I think the cosmos itself is bigger than us. This acceptance of its hugeness, and of the transience of this consciousness is the beginning point of that whole journey. So the self as first – what kind of self, do we need to prepare for? Avoiding the quick image – every time there is a quick image, to stop; opening and deepening our perception.
Most of the time we are not aware of most of the things that happen. Our bodies are not sensitive, our minds are not sensitive. So the body and the world- a direct and unmediated engagement which we do not do in schools, or even in offices which are sealed places in which things are done. There are very few offices which have the porosity which allows the traffic noise, the bird flying through, the mess that is outside to affect that which is going on. With our bodily senses we become deeply engaged in an unmediated way with the world. This is very important, which then requires an attention that does not divide thought and feeling. Today we have attention subdivided into compartments and most importantly leads to a tentativeness of action. We like to have this hero figure who comes in, draws a line and says, “Now you draft it out.”; whereas what we really need is the tentativeness of action and modesty in the face of necessity.
Sometime ago I wrote this: “We enter the flow of reality mid-stream, changing metaphors. One can say that the warp of existence is in place, but we work on the weft. Still further we might say that the tangled mesh of reality is the field in which we work. We bring some threads closer, untangle some and leave the rest. That is modesty of action.” So then what are the kind of institutions because we cannot work alone as individuals? The creative minority will have to build very carefully these groups which start thinking together. First of all these institutions are for the real and not for some imaginary, or greatly attractive, entertaining notions. They are connected to ground reality but not oppressed by reality. There is passionate pursuit and compassionate action. This is the watchword of our creative minority who are inclusive in their outlook because our society has got so many different kinds of people, so many climates, so many wonderful range of things which we are trying to unify and straighten out that society into a single mould in which only the electronic data is affected.
“There is need to create that minority which is looking at real and which is looking at diversity, which is responsible to fellow humans, which is responsible for the stewardship of the environment called life.”
Such practices will be practices of exploration, attention, rootedness, creative adventure, risk, collaboration, and modesty. These practices have been called ‘boutique practices’, and very proudly these practices must accept this title which at least gives them a little space. The title is not important- that they are maverick or outlandish is also not important. The important thing is: What are they following? How seriously are they following? What are the qualities of an architecture which is rare? Again, I depend on Michael Benedikt’s ‘Reality and Authenticity in the Experience Economy’– an article from 2001 which states that, “Realness ingredients has four elemental components- Presence, Significance, Materiality and Emptiness”.
Suddenly this word emptiness- where did it come from? So he explains very briefly how, “Presence is about a building’s perceptual clarity and self-confidence”. This we saw beautifully done in the first phase of our architecture. “Significance is about its involvement in people’s lives”, and the second phase of architecture might be that. “Materiality is the building’s physicality”, and today we find only materiality. Nobody is talking about people, or about the sense of presence. And finally, “Emptiness is about a building’s lack of didacticism”. It is not trying to give you any message, it is just there. “Emptiness is about a building’s lack of didacticism, a sort of indifference, and generosity.”
When you look at the best works of architecture they have this indifference, “Doesn’t matter for what I was built, doesn’t matter how I was built, doesn’t matter for whom I was built, come here, see- this is it. I’m here.” That is the message of the emptiness. A sort of indifference and generosity that we cannot or do not want to explain. Great architecture which this creative minority will hopefully produce, and which The Merit List will recognize and which The Takshila Lecture will bring to the forum will be an architecture which has a presence, materiality, a significance and then most importantly an emptiness.
Transcript of the Dialogue
Bijoy Ramachandran: Growing up as an architect in Bangalore far away from the centre of all the action in Bombay and Ahmedabad, we were in some sense like Eklavya. We would visit the campus once a year with the hope that we would spend time at the library and steal some moments in the jury to see how people discussed architecture, what clothes and glasses they wore, what music they listened to, and then take all that back and become architects. I remember distinctly seeing you for the first time in Ahmedabad, driving by on your red Sunny. Your beard split exactly in half because of the wind, and of course we followed you in and spent what I remember as sort of a wonderful experience of a whole day spent in juries in one of the studios in Ahmedabad.
And then soon after I came to work in Ahmedabad all for this very reason to partake of that incredible feast which was always on service at the Institute. I am really humbled and nervous to be here. I thought maybe the best way to do this was to take it incredibly personally and to ask you questions that we have been struggling with sort of personally in light of your lecture. As practitioners who have sort of engaged in very much in that third category, the sort of people who are servicing the market with commercial practices, and the everyday sort of back and forth. I have sort of got four very general questions.
The first one has to do with what you said in your lecture today- how much of what we do as architects is a search for self-expression, or when we read western thinkers like Ludwig Wittgenstein and they talk about the work of an architect as a search for self-expression, or how it attempts to manifest one’s own way of seeing the world? When you just sort of spoke about losing one’s self, the self-disappearing and then allowing some other medium to express- what is it to be an architect, or to do architecture?
Neelkanth Chhaya: I suppose in anything that anyone does there will be some expression of the self, irrespective of even if you try to remove it completely. So that fear is something which one should not have. This idea of the great artist expressing to the best level, something which others cannot express is something which comes from maybe around the Renaissance time, and then grows and grows and grows till the market comes in, and it needs these names with which you can say, “This is a genius!”, by his painting whether you understand it or not. It degenerated this idea of self-expression, which was something which the renaissance artist had. But most cultures before the Renaissance including ours, considered inspiration to be something which was given to you and not made by you. It might be a religious feeling, or a natural feeling. For Tagore it would be a link with nature which was his inspiration but, the inspiration came from outside the narrow limits of personality and which even the renaissance artists knew well.
So I think that in a practice, of course we have a client, a project, and people we are working with, and all the time we are searching for that moment where it seems to lead somewhere. It seems to becoming significant or meaningful, and that is the moment when you say, “Now let us work on this.” And this is where I think the sense of self is absent really at that point in time, and whether you are working in today’s context or any earlier context, this moment is the important one.
BR: For a moment when you said this thing about waiting for something bigger than me, I immediately thought of a client hovering over my shoulder.
NC: Actually, a client is about the same size as we are except that he has a cheque book and we do not. We have a bank account. The transaction which is going to take place is something disconnected to our work, and that sort of an invisible wall between that transaction and this one is the beginning of our openness. I think that is very important. So he is the same size. Never Fear.
BR: Recently at the office we watched this amazing film called ‘The Mystery of Picasso’. The amazing thing about it is the absolute freedom with which Picasso is creating what we consider to be amazing pieces of art. But this sense of absolute disregard for the lines that he has already made going forward, from initial drawings which are incredibly realistic almost like his early drawings, the process is just abstraction. And in one of the last paintings, it is quite funny- he takes it too far and then on camera he says, “I’ve taken it too far.” , and he wants to start again.
So this idea that it is a constantly unconscious effort that, once you have internalized all of the lessons of the site, of the programme, and all of the things that you mentioned, but also the clients requirements – this process maybe a rather carefree process.
NC: Yes, that requires one other thing, what we call in other arts as riyaz. It requires a complete preparation, a complete fluidity with whatever we want to do, and we never achieve it. Mind you, nobody ever achieves the perfect fluidity that he or she wants. But that continuous preparation, with a serious minded intent is a necessary pre-condition for being able to do the free line, and that I think is equally important.
BR: So that kind of conveniently leads me to the second question I have which is: how do we negotiate the idea of noble practice? This idea of that incredibly free line with the exigencies of everyday practice, what does it mean to really collaborate? We get out of college thinking that we will do great housing, or great civic buildings. But we spend most of our time doing small bedrooms or small pieces of furniture, and sometimes we try to bring into those projects these notions of public space and equity and all of that. So how do we marry the noble practice with the regular?
NC: You know it is because we place arts and architecture outside the normal, we run into this problem. For example, if I think of somebody who is cooking for her family, and I think about my mother- there could be a dal which was noble on that day and the roti was noble- and I think that utter undivided attention to what she was doing led to the nobility of what was made. It is in the same way what that we call ‘more’ serious things, they are actually not ‘more’ serious. I consider that making a good dal is as serious, but we are in the field of architecture so we have to make architecture. But paying attention, it is more difficult to reach that noble level. One can always keep on trying rather than trying to make it interesting, or trying to make it unusual, iconic, and all those words. If you can put aside those for the moment and say, “Wait, I want to make something good.”
BR: In all of this you also spoke about the pursuit of the artists, trying to get to the bottom of something. And I wonder, just to look back at your own projects especially the houses that you do- What is your engagement with clients? How do you sort of work with them? What is the relationship?
NC: In the Samudra Manthan when the vish (poison) comes out, Vishnu has to become Mohini, and Shiva has to hold the poison at this point in his body so as to not get the whole world burnt up. So I think with the client you have to sometimes be Vishnu, and sometimes Shiva. You should be able to seduce the client into agreeing with you, and it has nothing to do with architecture, it has to do with simply being a human being who is so enjoyable to be with. And sometimes taking the vish that comes from them, not vish but the vish is normally a wish, and you take it when they come with magazine photographs or whatever. And then without rejecting you look at it with great interest. And over a period of time you build a relationship, and it is relationships that create the possibilities of action which is different. Sometimes you cannot build a relationship, and that engagement ends- as simple as that. We just have to let go, and accept the rhythm of life as work.
BR: Also something interesting about this notion of a creative minority, embedded in what you had described is that the way the creative minority engages to either impact or to reflect on an existing condition. I do not know if I am misunderstanding what you said, but I think the scale of that engagement is a really crucial part of how it reflects or engages.
NC: Yes scale is one, but especially the concentration of power. I think that the important thing when scales increase, power also gathers, and that when it is in a very huge quantity- it is extremely oppressive, it prevents responsiveness, it oppresses. I think that the creative minorities are really processes of ferment within a larger system which prevent the powers from gathering too much. So the sight should not be on transforming India. No, I am looking at how I make a window in this hot and dry climate and maybe I will make a house for a very poor person. That engagement is sufficient to start something, and if that happens then possibilities of transformation occur. But otherwise it becomes simply a state-driven agenda and which in the 20th century and now especially in the 21st century, we are seeing how destructive that can be.
BR: I am assuming that the beautiful window can also be in a wonderful resort-like house on a 5 acre site.
NC: Yes sure, why not! It does not matter whether it has the support of a great amount of wealth except when it is only wealth that has to be shown. If it is only that then one will have to gradually converse with the client to show richness rather than wealth, and they do get interested in richness- richness of life, and of living. I think this is something which we do not use enough. Maybe in schools of architecture we have to teach them acting as well, so that they are able to do these things.
BR: In terms of the creative minority the other thing that I thought of is: usually we are thinking of practice in a very traditional sense of the client appearing in the office, giving you the commission and you do the work. Do you imagine that there is a new way to operate as an architect either in creating opportunities, or engaging with the city? Do you see other ways in which one can sort of exist and operate within a society?
NC: Sure, I already know many young people who are beginning to do this. For example, I was telling you about this young architect in Ahmedabad who goes to a housing society and tells them, “Look, water is going to become a big problem in Ahmedabad. It is time we started recharging the aquifer, and for that we need trees and we need recharge wells. Let us work together, and I will give my services for free.” And today he has transformed a housing society.
Similarly in Bangalore there are people who are working with water and lakes. So once that happens, then people start knowing that person and maybe get some work- a little bit different work, not the one of planting trees. So you have an engagement with society through the parameters which are related to the built environment and you bring your knowledge to bear on that, and you help people to improve some situation. Slowly you start getting known for that. This is in contrast to the early 20th century plans of say Le Corbusier. They wanted to change the world at one go, and so they had this heroic big plan to erase Paris and rebuild it completely. We are looking at a creative minority, we are not looking at that nearly fascist rebuilding of the world which is just hovering around us, and we have to be careful.
BR: And the last was this wonderful idea of emptiness, and of course it reminded me of Charles Correa’s own notions of deep structure, but it also reminded me of this wonderful movie called ‘Hitchcock/Truffaut’ where Truffaut interviews Hitchcock, and then Hitchcock talks about ‘Psycho’ and that scene where Janet Leigh is sort of killed in the shower. It is thirty minutes into the film and at that point when it happens you think the film is about her and how she is going to get away with the money but she gets killed instead. So Hitchcock is watching the first show of the film in the theatre and suddenly everybody in the theatre is out of their skin and he says, “That is what I live for. I give pure emotion. I do not worry about the script or the acting or anything but just to move someone so deeply is everything sometimes.”
And I was thinking about anything else in that context because sometimes we get powered down by all these ideas of LEED ratings or sustainability – these sort of large number of layers that get applied onto architecture with which we try to say that this is the way you know good architecture is made and we forget these other topological or you know more emotional ways in which architecture connects with you that it becomes pure architecture in that sense, that it moves you in a way that it is difficult to describe. All of those diagrams that you make to explain have no way to explain this condition that you are confronting with. I think in that sense this idea of emptiness where you are confronted with something that you as an individual remember something that is primordial that is coming through all of the past and then you are not confronted with something that moves you in such a deep way.
NC: Yes. I think most of the greatest things are unexplainable and that is their beauty. I think that in other arts, and architecture should learn from them because they still have connections to where it started from. Saying ‘waah’ in a concert comes just automatically. It does not come because you reasoned it out. In the same way between panditya which is learnedness, explanation and rasa, there is a big gap. The creation of rasa is something which is integral. It cannot be taken apart, and I think this is where we are ♦
Professor Neelkanth Chhaya is an architect and academician. He retired as the Dean of the Department of Architecture at CEPT University in Ahmedabad and has served and led academic committees in KRVIA Mumbai; Srishti School of Art, Bengaluru, and Goa College of Architecture amongst many other. In his practice spanning more than 30 years, Prof. Chhaya has researched and worked extensively in the domain of appropriate architecture for India, documenting places of historic significance, and authoring numerous critical papers on the same subject.
Bijoy Ramachandran is an architect and urban designer based in Bangalore. He currently leads Hundredhands – a design studio, with his partner Sunitha Kondur. Bijoy has a Bachelors degree in Architecture from BMS College, Bangalore University and a Masters degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, USA in Architecture & Urbanism. His practice – Hundredhands has designed projects of great diversity and scale. Bijoy has been a panelist at the Kurula Varkey Forum, at CEPT University, Ahmedabad, and currently serves on the Academic Council of the Wadiyar Centre For Architecture, Mysore and Avani Institute of Design, Calicut. Apart from architecture, he has also made two films. ‘Architecture & the City: A Bangalore Perspective’, a documentary feature on professional practice in the city in 2005 and ‘Doshi’, produced in 2008, on the Indian architect B.V. Doshi, directed by Premjit Ramachandran. Bijoy has also served on The Merit List jury in the 2016-17 cycle.
The Merit List [TML] is an initiative by Matter supported by Takshila Educational Society to recognize projects of critical relevance in the context of contemporary Indian architecture. www.themeritlist.com
Set up in 1997, Takshila Educational Society [TES] is driven by the vision of an India whose children are educated, environmentally conscious and in full readiness to become future leaders. It promotes engagements related to literature, visual arts, performing arts, and cinema through their spectacularly successful Delhi Public Schools in four cities and a unique initiative – Arthshila.