Nurturing the creative instinct

Arvind Dhondphale

What is creative thinking? Let’s look at a few examples to try and answer this question.

anandwan-dams Vikas Amte, son of social reformer Baba Amte, is a doctor. He works in ‘Anandwan’, a colony developed and run by leprosy patients near Chandrapur, Maharashtra. Water is a big problem in this dry region. Dr. Amte’s solution was to draw on available resources. He collected used tyres, plastic waste, and other junk from surrounding villages and towns. He cut them into pieces and mixed them with cement. He poured this mixture into the tyres and created check dams which has changed the life of Anandwan.

Chandramani is a cured leprosy patient living in Anandwan. A fine carpenter, he had lost his right hand in an accident. Not to be defeated, Chandramani designed a wooden hand, which he uses today to do his carpentry. The wooden hand can be folded the same way we fold our hands. He also designed special bricks which are eco-friendly.

Dr Laurie Baker was a British born Indian architect, renowned for his cost effective, energy effective architecture and designs that maximize space. Dr. Baker used bricks in an innovative way. He used space in harmony with natural elements like air and light, which cut down the use of electricity.

Mansukhbhai Prajapati from Gujarat is using terracotta to make refrigerators which do not need electricity to store and preserve foods.

The author is an artist interested in child art. He is currently working at The Peepal Grove School, Chittoor, Andhra Pradesh. He can be reached at

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