Design as “Indian Minimalism”

Live simply, so that others may simply live.

Mahatma Gandhi

Minimalism is the concept of leading a simple life by realizing that “ less is more”. In other words, shunning the excessive consumerism in today’s world of excess. Terms like “Retail Therapy”, “Window shopping” have come into existence today only because of the dire urge people have towards owing objects in the hope/ myth of having increased number of Instagram followers by flaunting their brands.

Talking in Indian context, the concept of minimal living is rooted back through ages. Indian philosophy has always advocated the philosophy of minimal living. People dominated by the idea of wealth have always compared “Sattvik” living to a lower form of life. There are numerous instances in Epics as well. Lord Rama was sent to banwas by his step-mother in the wake of getting the kingdom of Ayodhya for her son Bharat. She did not realize that the life she wanted Rama to live, was actually the life of minimalism all should live. The same storyline also follows for Pandavas in Mahabharata.

According to Indian Scriptures- Vanaprastha and Sanyas are actually prescribed in the later stages of life to have a minimal lifestyle. A life devoid of worldly pleasures where you get close to oneself and walk the path of self realization. These ideas of minimal living which are now being adopted world over have been a part of Indian culture and values for centuries immemorial.

Just look around you. There are so many products of daily life that shout minimalism at their core. The MATKA (earthen pot) is a very minimal design of a perfect utility product. The 9 yard saree that an Indian women drapes is the most minimal form of garment. One of my friends even pointed out that ” Roti is a food of minimal act which is cooked on a TAWA which is a very minimal form of cookware- just a concave iron plate”.

How beautiful and boggling these thoughts are about our own lives. Things which have always been around us but never been admired from a minimal perspective. We always tend to think about India as country of excess. But the truth is, the innate nature of our culture does underline the concept of minimalism. Be it the most recognized symbols of the culture like “OM” and “LINGA”, or the lifestyle of traditional buddhist monks, be it the single string music instrument like “EKTARA” or the non-objective art works of Vasudeo S. Gaitonde, all these examples contradict the “Aesthetics of Excess” concepts about India.

A country where minimalism is a traditional feature, rather than a modern concept.

Think about it…

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