It was a promise, I made myself in 2015. To celebrate M P Ranjan’s contribution to Design education as the Design Guru Day. I gathered around some friends and colleagues with whom the idea resonated. The rest, the universe conspired to give it to me.
When we honoured Mahendra Patel in 2016, he was available and gracious in accepting the honour. He was visiting the Sushant School of Design and their university’s premises was offered as location by it’s Dean Sreekrishna Kulkarni. Amit Krishn Gulati and his graphic designer wife Monika pitched in with resources for graphics and citations. Ayush Kasliwal made a quick trophy for the occasion. And it was done. Praveen Nahar came form Ahmedabad. So did Ishaan. People were reeling under the sudden announcement of demonetisation on Nov 8th at 8pm. But still the spirit was alive and well. Lots of friends came and thought that it was a good idea. We were all happy about the beginning, but melancholic about missing Ranjan.
There was a stickiness to the idea. In 2017, I approached the university again and was happy to celebrate Sudarshan Khanna’s legacy in toy design. He was the chosen Design Guru for 2017 and was again mounted by the usual gang of Ranjan’s fanboys. Sudarshan’s daughter Surabhi Khanna made a presentation of his work to the audience. The legend got his due.
In 2017, I also wrote to several institutions requesting them to celebrate Nov 9th as Design Guru Day. The World University of Design was the only one that responded., besides Sushant School of Design. The renowned architect AKG Menon was honoured by WUD.
WUD continued on the idea and honoured Architect & Design evangelist Prof Iftekar M Chisti in 2018 and Rajeev Sethi in 2019.
Meanwhile, I joined JK Lakshmipat University and founded the Institute of Design. In 2019, we honoured Prof Vikas Satwalekar at JKLU.
It is Episode V now.
In it’s 5th year, this celebration is going global. Dr Don Norman, Director- Design Lab, UC San Diego has kindly consented to be felicitated. The celebration includes Prof Praveen Nahar, who is now the Director of NID Ahmedabad. The celebrations include a series of presentations by JKLU’s design students. It will conclude with the MP Ranjan Memorial Lecture 2020 by Don Norman, ” To Create a Better Society”.
All are urged to register and join in. Ranjan will be so pleased!