You know why we are doomed?
Its because in today’s world, we worship at the altar of Kim Kardashian, Justine Bieber and Salman Khan.
We are obsessed with the celebrity culture – irrespective of whether the celebrity is a menace to society, a Kardashian or a murderer.
And that is why the media barely made a murmur when one of India’s greatest sons passed away last week.
I am talking of Mr. Nek Chand Saini – a man who deserves the title of legend.
And its not surprising at all that a few of you just went “who?”
You see, Mr. Chand was not a celebrity – he was simply a man who create something great all on his own.
His story is that of the power of dedication, of creativity, of love, of recycling and a story of one of the few times that the government did something right.
In 1951, Nek Chand started working as a road inspector for the PWD in Chandigarh. In 1958, he began to clear a little patch of jungle to make himself a small garden area.
The area that he chose had been designated as a land conservancy, a forest buffer established in 1902 that nothing could be built on. He set stones around the little clearing and began collecting rocks, discarded materials and recyclable items from the demolition of the villages that once stood on the site where Chandigarh was being built.
Before long he had sculpted a few figures recycled from materials he found at hand. Over the next decade, he worked secretly at night on his garden. Gradually Nek Chand’s creation developed and grew; before long it covered several acres and comprised of hundreds of sculptures set in a series of interlinking courtyards.
The creation was completely illegal but public opinion was on Mr. Chand’s side.
In 1988 the park was inaugurated as a public space. Nek Chand was given a salary, a title (“Sub-Divisional Engineer, Rock Garden”), and a workforce of 50 labourers so that he could concentrate full-time on his work. It even appeared on an Indian stamp in 1983. The Rock Garden is still made out of recycled materials; and with the government’s help, Chand was able to set up collection centres around the city for waste, especially rags and broken ceramics.
The Rock Garden of Chandigarh is now world famous. Nek Chand’s creations are exhibited and celebrated around the world.
Too bad the members of our “presstitute” brigade could not bother to highlight his passing – they were too busy with AAP and Yoga Day and Anti National Congress and Pappu and Sushma Swaraj and Lalit Modi etc.
Mr. Chand is the sort of role model this world needs.
His story should be told and retold to encourage and educate future generations (the current generation is doomed) about inner strength, about creativity, about determination, about courage and about recycling.