Friday, 5 August 2016


Dynamic Water - Image by Remi de Souza

A drop of water moves in liquid, vapour, solid forms.
In the oceans it moves up and down, in currents – hot and cold. Vaporized it goes to sky. It drops on ground, percolates in the ground, moves in streams – visible or invisible – to ponds and oceans, or in plants, our bodies… in gutters of urban habitats, but there too it moves. It lives in the collectives. Water moves, also, in my body all over constantly: in blood, sweat, vomit, urine, faeces…
Water is dynamic: humans too are dynamic, being waterborne.
Yet I take water for granted; I don’t notice!
Water is an element to meditate upon.
                                                                        ― Remi de Souza (11-11-2013)

©Remigius de Souza, all rights reserved.

Friday, 25 December 2015

TO MAKE A CELL OF GOOD LIVING: All Seasons' Greetings

‘Make a cell of good living in the chaos of our world”, said Eric Gill, as I remember it. I read it in my early twenties, some decades ago. It remained inscribed like an affirmation.

      I had then just finished a course in architecture at a college. Enthusiastically I started to look for an ideal, model cell in places, books and journals, and with the masters of architecture. But soon I realised this cell is beyond floor-wall-roof. Inevitably I turned inside. Consciously I started peeling off a layer after layer. Alas, there was no cell there except my gaseous ego. It brought me to tears like a peeled onion.

      Lo! And here too, within me, I found chaos. My body and mind riddled by some or other ailments and maladies: of ignorance, taboos, models or dogmas, indigestion or malnutrition; of teeth or skin or eyes or nose or stomach or some other limbs; and victim of epidemics such as war frenzy or cricket frenzy or flu, and so on spread by a city –  market – media – mod culture. And over them all there presides my omnipresent ego, whatever, wherever I am.

    I have been moving, almost all my life, to places: cities, villages, forests, coasts, monuments and ruins. I have been moving in the First World, the Third World and the Fourth World in India. I never crossed the borders if India.

      I have been fortunate to share warm hospitality of numerous anonymous people. The affirmation never left me. It would appear any time any place like the pop ups on the Internet. I realise now and then while moving in the real world and virtual world, the affirmation is as valid today, even more than ever before, as maybe it was hundred years ago. On the way slowly emerged a resolve:

‘From Here Now on
Live every Moment
Add every Moment
To the Time Eternal’
 © Remigius de Souza | Mumbai | 25/11/2005  

Note: 1. Quoted poem above is by the author.
          2. About Eric Gill by Fiona MacCarthy, The Guardian, Saturday 22 July 2006
©Remigius de Souza, all rights reserved.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Remberging Gopal Krishna Gokhale

On His Centenary Year 2015

He spent last decade of his life to pursue for ‘Compulsory and Free Primary Education for All’ in India. He had to face opposition even at home. Finally, he succeeded to bring a law at Privy Council.

At early Twentieth Century, in his time, there were 2% educated people in India. In 1947, we were 400 millions. Today there are about 400 millions illiterate people. (I do not believe any statistics based on Sample Surveys.) I wonder those who are literate use their literacy in modern India?

I am sure my primary education at my native village in vernacular – Marathi – was possible by his efforts. I gratefully remember him now, and, whenever the issue of Education comes up.

He was mentor of Gandhiji; his mentor was Justice Mahadev Govind Ranade. What a great continuity! Gnadhiji introduced Basic Education... However, bureaucracy failed to implement it with relevance.

I learnt spinning and weaving during primary education, in Konkan where cotton is not produced. There Basic Education in Farming — Agriculture, Aquaculture and Horticulture or Forestry — should have been more appropriate. 


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©Remigius de Souza, all rights reserved.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015



Let us get down to some basic issues, now.

Katkari Tribal hamlet in Maharashtra, India

Children play 'Homemaking'

Drawing your house with a stick or lime powder on ground yourself is elementary way to start designing. Children used to play 'ghar, ghar' (home, home) once upon a time, and find a right place. It's basic instinct. Now they play games on mobile phones (in cities).

A student of architecture was writing a thesis on topic 'Spaces for Children'. She gave one of several examples of children used ‘umbrella' for the game (in urban areas) for ‘house’. To build a shelter – a basic need – is an instinct, animal instinct.

You don't need a measure tape. You are the life-size measure and scale, both. 'Anguli, viti, haath, vaav, purush, 'foot' etc. are ancient Desi scales of measurements.

Clay is sustainable building material

You can also make a Model back at home. A lump of prepared clay for a model is excellent. A model in clay could be modified while working. Take care, when not working on it, to keep it moist and soft by covering it with damp cloth. For scale and proportion, take a paper cut-out of a human figure (picture) and fix with pin on the clay base of the clay model.

Many sculptors make 3D 'sketches' of their concepts in clay, not only on paper. See for example, Henry Moor. They believe clay, wood and stone are living materials, not POP or concrete.

(I introduced 'clay model' at Architecture College (AOA) in 1990s. Now, Malak, my friend, builds mud houses!).

I advocate self-help housing for EWS (Economically Weaker Section) projects by the Agencies - NGOs and Govt. Many people in the bracket of EWS, e.g. those living in slums, are peasants; they have skills in building and maintenance of their houses. Building by self-help, with limited budget, is most economical system.

Government introduces Third Party Intervention in Shelter

The fact is peasants practice Life-size Planning and Designing their Houses and Habitat. This practice has been going on for millennia. They are successful because they are one with Lind-Water-Life. But who could convince Agencies? They make paper plans because they want to control the resources, which are provided by Mother Nature – Srishti.
I am not an activist. Being vacationist I believe in action by self – by myself.

Remigius de Souza
(Mumbai | 21-01-15)
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©Remigius de Souza, all rights reserved.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

History of Mumbai's waste management

Work for Food with Dignity in Mumbai

Work for Food with Dignity in Mumbai

I am not a scholar, historian, expert or activist. I see history or its result or its residue in the Present, which is in flux.

In one word, it is mismanagement. Mumbai, like India, is large, too large, for Agencies to manage on borrowed models of development from the Waste, and information from text books. It is not based on the study and field work of ground realities, success and failures.

Squatters working on waste collected-1
However, I may add an important aspect that is rarely mentioned. In Mumbai's 130 million people, there are about 60 % people who are squatters and slum dwellers. They struggle, not fight, but to save their lives from being 'wasted'. They 'recycle' the inorganic waste of the city, and even organic waste in the city.

Squatters working on waste collected-2
They have a tragic history behind them of hundred years, perhaps more. They show 'life wasted’ living in subhuman conditions in the 20th & 21st centuries in one of the ancient civilized societies! They are the residue of the modern industrial development begun by the British Raj and continued by the First World India, which is a powerful minority.

Twenty years ago I thought if Mumbai recycled human excreta, it could replace five mega- factories that make chemical fertilizers, today many more with increasing population.

Squatters working on waste collected-3
Mumbai's Slums & Squatters display their faith in Indian Democracy by being Self-reliant with Dignity more than the elite.
Mumbai's more than 60% citizens are Slum dwellers & Squatter, a fall-out of The First World India's Development & Progress: What an irony!
Slums in Mumbai are self-help townships, where many skilled, semi skilled & unskilled building workers live, who built Mumbai over decades.
(06-03-2011 | Revised: 22 July 2014)

©Remigius de Souza, all rights reserved.