Applauding IIT-Kharagpur's decision to introduce Vastu studies in its curriculum, leading architects said the knowledge of Vastu was essential especially in the context of global warming.
The very word 'Vastu' smacks of Hindu fundamentalism because this ancient Indian science has been hijacked by religious pundits, senior faculty members felt, but there's definitely a scientific basis to this ancient Indian knowledge, which should be promoted for the sake of environment protection.
TOI on Monday reported how the country's oldest and largest IIT will be softly introducing budding architects of the undergraduate first and second-years to Vastu in the design and history of architecture classes. To the post-graduate students and research scholars of infrastructure at the Ranabir and Chitra Gupta School, a premier design school on campus, Vastu will be taught more intensively and in a phased manner, confirmed senior faculty Joy Sen.
"I think ancient Indian knowledge systems should be explored keeping in mind their scientific basis and their beneficial impacts. I have come across some old buildings of the Namboodiri community in the South, which have such nice natural light and ventilation. These were built ages ago using traditional knowledge of architecture. Though we don't yet have Vastu studies formally, it is possible that we might do so in future," said Ajay Ray, director of the Indian Institute of Engineering, Science and Technology, (IIEST) Shibpur.
Without designing a formal course, the architecture department of Jadavpur University is introducing its students to Vastu studies informally wherever it is contextually relevant. "It is part of our discourse when we teach design, simply because there is a scientific basis to Vastu studies. Ancient Indian architecture focused on solar passiveness and natural ventilation. It was only after the industrial revolution that we became solar active," said Suchandra Bardhan, head of architecture at JU.
The fact that India is divided into five climatic zones — according to the National Building Code — is itself based on Vastu knowledge and hence it should be included in classrooms so that budding architects enter the profession with holistic indigenous knowledge, architects pointed out. "It is wrong to equate Vastu studies with religion. Vastu Vidya is basically traditional. So it will only be beneficial to architects if they are versed in it. Basic principles of every knowledge system should be taught in the classroom for a more rounded grooming," said senior architect Dulal Mukherjee.