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Creativity for Survival
Human species in a few hundred thousand years has managed to transform themselves as well as the entire world too. How? By inventing language and means of communications, family, community, the state, religion, science and technology, medicine, education, entertainment, arts and literature, and weapons. Because of our need for improvements and breakthroughs, we have found the enchantment called imagination.
“Creativity often comes from survival skills, from having to solve problems in inventive ways because you did not have more obvious means at your disposal. Many people tend to associate creativity with freedom and moving laterally across a field of possibilities; in fact, creativity is frequently a response to limits and it usually demands a vertical, deeper incursion into the material.”
-Enrique Martínez Celaya, contemporary artist from Cuba by way of Spain and Southern California.
Creativity being a necessary 21st-century skill has been a survival skill for ages. The constraints which come into the picture because of the survival scenarios and the immediate need to look into these issues. A very good example of this scenario is the Jugaad culture in India. This highly resource constrained and chaotic environment inspires jugaad innovators. Because of the lack of resources, these common people come up with quite creative ideas.
For example, let’s take a chakada. Chakda is a working version of the 500 cc Diesel motor of Royal Enfield that can easily convey more than 20 people. This jugaad was made by the Gujarati’s to meet the open transportation needs of the individuals living in the little desert towns of Kutch and Saurashtra and to handle the intense street conditions offered by this landscape. Planned like a tri-cruiser, the Chakda has a front driver’s seat that takes after a commonplace bike with a 2 wheeled carriage at the back. Furthermore, usually like the other things of this desert area, even the Chakda is extremely colourful.
Mitticool is a fridge made out of clay which works without electricity. It keeps the water cool. Vegetables kept inside it can last up to a week. Mansukh Bhai who stays in Gujarat experienced the massive earthquake, where all his earthen pots ended up breaking. Photographs of these broken pots were published in the newspaper with the tagline GARIBI KA FRIDGE TUT GAYA meaning the pots which serve as a refrigerator for the underprivileged. He also makes water filters, earthen plates and other things too. The cooling mechanism used behind the fridge is an unusual addition of sawdust and sand it makes the soil porous and the interiors cold.
The sarees in the middle-class families are also an interesting example. Once the saree is used up or is worn out, pieces of the sarees are then stitched together to make dresses, kurtas, etc. These parts also are used as curtains or bed covers. When these bed covers or the curtains or the dresses wear out they are then used as a rough cloth which is used for cleaning purposes in the house. After the wearing out of the cloth, it is burnt in a bonfire. A saree is given multiple lives, it is up-cycled multiple times. In higher middle-class families, these sarees are given to the maids or are donated in orphanages and old age homes.
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