K.S. Subid is more proud of his ‘ahimsa toys’, made from waste materials, than of his postgraduate degree in Product Design from an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT).

He dreams of not a high-profile job but a generation that thrives on creative ideas rather than textbook knowledge.

Paper puppets, table spinning tops made of pet bottles, flutes made of straw, magic paper wands…the set of ahimsa toys displayed at the Grama Swaraj exhibition being held at the University Senate Chamber will set the minds of many to think about toy ideas from waste.

Minister for Culture K.C. Joseph inaugurated the exhibition , which is held in connection with the a three-day national seminar on ‘Gandhian Vision of Development for a Progressive Nation’, organised by Centre for Gandhian Studies of the University of Kerala in the city on Monday.

Mr. Subid has been making such toys even since he chanced upon a website, which showed ideas on how to turn waste materials into toys. “Many of the ideas are available on the online website www.arvindguptatoys.com.The website has more than 1,000 short demonstration videos and it helps the children to be creative,” says Mr. Subid, hailing from Malapuram. Ask him why he chose to take up such a venture in spite of holding a coveted degree , which could have fetched him money, Mr. Subid says his vision is to build a world where people are respected for their social values and where children are empowered not by mere degree but by good principles and creativity. He has been taking various classes for children and will be conducting youth dialogue session in the coming months on environment conservation.

The exhibition also features ‘Grameena shethagam’ or a pot-in-pot device, which functions as a natural refrigerator. The device consists of a porous outer earthenware pot containing a glazed inner pot .Water is poured in the outer pot to keep the food inside the inner pot cool. The glazing of the inner pot prevents the water from entering the storage unit and works on the principle of evaporative cooling.

“The device does not require electricity and this device has been used in the earlier days to keep organic food fresh and healthy. Fruits and vegetables could be stored in good condition with this device. This is safe for the environment and saves money too,” says Sasikumaran Nair, Manager at the Pottery Production Centre under the Kerala Gandhi Smaraka Nidhi. The pot, priced at Rs.495, is available at the centre.

A Gandhian book fair, exhibition of charkas , sculptures and handicrafts made of palm leaves are also on display at the exhibition , which will conclude on March 13.

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