Episode #75: Sandeep Dutt in conversation with Ravi Kaimal, has been involved with The Fabindia School since the first brainstorming discussions with John and William Bissell. Ravi is a professional architect and is responsible for the design of the school buildings. He was also Chairman of Bhadrajun Artisans Trust (BAT), the non-profit, tax-exempt charitable society founded by William Bissell which established the school in 1992 and continues to help guide the school and provide financial support. Ravi writes, “The first block was designed to be built using maximum local materials and local skills so that it could be done with the least cost and time. The buildings are made almost entirely of stone available in the local area, and there is no wood used as wood is expensive and vulnerable there. This also came close to Mahatma Gandhi's approach of using only locally available materials. So our buildings are very much of their place, geography, climate and people. They are also optimized for their function, with very little energy being used. At the start of the hot summer of 1992 at the start of digging for the foundations of the first block at the school in Bali, the earth was so hard that water- bought from a farmer- had to be poured on it to break it! As you can see today, the land was barren, and there was no soft greenery, only thorny bushes.” Ravi Kaimal, visiting the area frequently before the school is set up to collaborate and brainstorm with John and William Bissell; As the Principal and Founder of Kaimal, Chatterjee Associates, an architectural firm in New Delhi, formal training includes a B. Arch (1987) from the School of Planning; Architecture, New Delhi and has been practising in Delhi since 1990. Ravi's interests and experience extend beyond architecture to photography, art direction for films (Art Director of Arundhati Roy's feature film) and rural education; Ravi has travelled extensively in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, US, Spain, Italy and the UK photographing places of architectural and environmental significance. He is the recipient of a prestigious UNESCO award for heritage conservation for his work in Rajasthan. In the show, he credits his passion for education to his family and grandparents, shares how the focus on the girl child and push for quality education in rural India has made a huge difference. As a parent, he adds that today with technology and tools, couples and balance work and family raise children who are better equipped for the world.
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