June 28th, 2015
All of us must have seen this man at Doordarshan presenting simple yet stunning plans for turning trash into seriously entertaining, well-designed toys that kids can build themselves — while learning basic principles of science and design. This man is Arvind Gupta.
He is an Indian toy inventor and popularizer of science.
As a student in the 1970s in Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, Gupta became a socialist in belief but eschewed action-less discourse; he stated that instead he “placed more faith in small positive action than empty rhetoric.” Gupta began his social service by teaching the children of the mess staff who had no opportunities for formal education.
Gandhian in outlook, Arvind Gupta participated in the Hoshangabad Science Teaching Programme (HSTP) in Madhya Pradesh in 1978. While he was there he developed his idea of creating simple toys and educational experiments using locally available materials as well as items usually thrown as trash. These simple toys, he found, fascinated children and Gupta went on to make these as the hallmark of his movement of popularising science. His first book, “Matchstick Models and other Science Experiments” was reprinted in 12 languages.