Wired for creation

Sanjeev Satgainya speaks to Sarosh Pradhan, a young architect whose passion for art has helped him evolve as an artist and an individual:

Every creation of this young man is worth taking note of. Any visitor to The Bakery Café at Sundhara is sure to have pondered a minute or two over the brilliantly conceptualised and executed structure at the heart of the city. The café replicates the nearby historical Sundhara Spout and its structure at its premises.

Club Platinum, too, offered something extraordinary to the eye — its design — before it was closed down. The same can be said about the first ever cyber café in the town — Cybermatha — which was not only a cyber café but a gallery, restaurant, library and much more. The credit for all these creations goes to a young architect who has made his name in the world of designing for his own unique style. “Architecture is not just about designing; it’s also about making things lively and it should not only be visually appealing but also should be able to soothe the mind and soul,” defines Sarosh Pradhan, winner of ‘Young Architect of the Year Award’ in 2004. The poetic essence in his designs has earned him accolades aplenty. The award instituted by JK Cement, India is considered to be one of the prestigious awards in this region. Pradhan won the award for his project ‘Tewa’, an NGO, in Dhapakhel.

“I believe in quality more than in quantity,” says Sarosh. He completed his course in architecture at the Delhi School of Planning and Architecture. “I am an artist. Painting has always been my first passion. So, as an architect today I always try to instil the soul of the creativity into all of my designs and this could be one of the reasons that makes m y creations different from others,” explains Pradhan.

Pradhan has organised an exhibition of his creations at Bakery Café Sundhara which has more than 20 photographs of his designs. “My wife (Rajshree) is an interior designer and that, too, has helped me a lot in various aspects of my project. Whenever I plan the layout, she puts in the details,” he admits.

Among many Kongde Resort is one of the projects he is excited about. “At a height of more than 10,000 feet, it’s though difficult to devise the things, it’s fun and pleasure. I have tried to incorporate the local designs with maximum utilisation of local resources,” he shares with delight.

Environment is another aspect Pradhan is most concerned about. “Kathmandu is getting cluttered more and more. If we can contribute something through art and design, we will be doing a service for society as well.”

Construction with a positive attitude is what Pradhan believes in and his soul-searching designs integrate modern architectural techniques with the traditional heritage essence. In his project of Sainbu Community Centre (currently under construction), he has finely accomplished the inspiration drawn from Macchindranath to create a soaring sculptural ‘bell and clock tower’. “This would give the Sainbu Community a sense of identity and character,” he says.

Inspired by tradition, this young artist craves to work for the society with his expertise. “Architecture is about creating an environment — we have to have the patience to listen, interact, study and understand,” he philosophises. The quest for new directions leads Pradhan to explore new areas of research and as usual he vows to remember to instil poetic sensibility into his creations.

Gentle dawns the new year

Himalayan News Service:

Maghi, the new year festival of the Tharu community, was observed this year at Royal Academy in the capital on December 14. Members of the community (some in traditional gear) gathered at the auditorium, enjoyed a musical presentation and partook of the snacks offered (that included dhikri, khichdi, murahi, khariya and til ka laddoo, the ritual food consumed on this day).

The Tharu happen to comprise the fourth largest indigenous community in the country. They were initially a seminomadic agricultural group, traditionally living throughout the jungles of the southern Terai lowlands of Nepal in Bardia, Kailali, Kanchanpur, Morang, Saptari and Jhapa districts, as well as in the inner Terai valleys of Chitwan, Dang, Surkhet and Udaipur. The Tharu divide themselves into at least seven major clans; Chitwan, Dangora, Deokhari, Kathariya, Mahottari, Rana Thakur, and Saptari. Each clan has a distinct dialect and ethnic identity.

Other than Holi, Maghi is their biggest festival. It is the day when all corporate, political, legal and proprietal matters within the community are settled. The Tharus wear new clothes, congregate at the house of the village head who is called barghariya in the east, samarmukhiya in the central parts and bhalamansa in the west and celebrate. A feast of colocasium, pork and fish is arranged and liberal quantities of anadi, a rice liquor, consumed. The village elections are held. Besides, the village healer-priest (guruwa) and watchmen are selected. Parental property is divided and, according to early custom, workers appointed in households and fields. As this day follows the auspicious Maghi (Makar) Sankranti, holy dips are taken and salt and rice offered to close female relatives, living in different households.

Religion, among the Tharu, is a divided concept. While some Tharu are devout Hindus, others are Buddhist monks and the community claims Buddha to be of Tharu descent. However, the family gods of this community like the Gurbaba, Chaitikpatiya, Lagubasu, Maiya and Bheruwa are of tribal origin and serve as a link between families much like the gotra among the Hindu upper castes, Gopal Dahit, former assistant minister, population and environment, who also hails from the group, informed.