Kanwarjit Nagi

Arts Education

Grant Period: Over one year and ten months

Kanwarjit Nagi is an architect who has worked extensively with bamboo in the last fifteen years. His primary interest has been in areas like low-cost housing, non-conventional sources of energy, and sustainable agriculture.

This particular project drew not just on Kanwarjit’s experience of working on bamboo in relation to western India but also his association with various schools in this region. The ideas for the manual on bamboo toy-making emerged out of a series of workshops that Kanwarjit held with various schools in the Pune district. These included city schools in Pune but more prominently zilla parishad schools in different villages that fall within the Rajgurunagar Taluka and also Ashram Shala schools run by the Tribal Welfare Department. He short-listed 10 to 12 schools from among these and began with an ‘awareness programme’ – an introduction to bamboo craft via demonstrations, slides, posters and talks. This was followed by intensive workshops in those schools that responded enthusiastically to the introductory phase. These essentially were directed at middle school children and interested teachers. Alongside he also conducted workshops aimed solely at teachers. Parallel to these activities he was putting together the manual, which helped him to test ideas during the workshops.

Kanwarjit invited persons familiar with bamboo craft as resource people for his workshops. These were not craftspersons in the specialised sense but mostly individuals from tribal communities who were adept at crafting bamboo because they use it in their daily lives. The outcome was a bilingual manual – in Marathi. Kanwarjit visited schools where he conducted workshops and spoke about the manual.