Sourabh Phadke is a School teacher and an architect (the former by choice, the latter by chance) amongst other fictitious titles. He works with children on matters of exceeding importance including mud balls, the birds & the bees (literally), junk toys, pee-poo and stuff around us.
He is also known to build houses of all things natural and junk, and is frequently found professing the same among organic circles.
He is the author and illustrator for a few minor publications which include 'The Muddy Micromanuals!' and 'Poo'. www.sourabh.tk
If you were to ask Vasu who he is, he would say, "I'm just an artist". Even if you were to stick him behind a desk and have him work on something boring or repetitive, he would work like an artist.
Vasu is a bold free spirit and the band’s inspired composer. His lyrics speak of his sensitive engagement with life, while his stage act speaks of the natural showman he is.
Trained in Carnatic Classical, Vasu was moulded into the soulful singer he is by his mother and Raghupathy Dixit, his elder brother.
His unique way of experimenting with tunes in Hindi, Kannada, English and Punjabi has been a driving force behind Swarathma's earthy yet contemporary sound. He founded the band in Mysore in 2002 and has seen the band go from strength to strength -- from the Radio City Live National title of 'Best Hindi Band' to being a part of the British Council Soundpad project, to five international tours covering the UK, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong and Morcco, to being a part of the acclaimed TV show 'The Dewarists'.
Swarathma's music is big on conscience, addressing issues as varied as the Kaveri conflict, religious hypocrisy, child sexual abuse and consumerism. Vasu believes that music finds a larger purpose when it carries a message, as opposed to it being purely entertainment.
Vasu also has a background in theatre, having trained under Mime Ramesh, one of Mysore's leading exponents. He also has interests in photography and graphic design as well. He is a filmmaker with a post-graduate degree from NID Ahmedabad.
Bhargav Mistry has been in the field of design for almost 30 years, with experience in a wide variety of product range such as space applications, energy meters, medical equipments, textiles, instrumentation, mobile laboratories, solar concentrators etc.
Some of his designs have world wide patents. His parallel passion in music began just around the time he began his design education at NID, Ahmedabad. He plays the sarod for the last 25 years, and has been learning the art from Ustad Amjad Ali Khan. To his credit are three albums, Shivoham Shankara, Shivoham Shanti and Road to India, a musical collaboration with Italian pianist, Corrado Rossi.
Bhargav draws a parallel between design and music and believes that they compliment each other in their respective fields.
Mayur Narvekar is a composer, producer, DJ, remix artist, label owner, teacher and a multi-instrumentalist at BANDISH PROJEKT.
From the echo of festivals across India, Mayur has resounded in International festivals like Caldestino Sweden, Lile France, Glastonbury UK, Incubate Netherlands, Fringe Scotland, Melbourne Electronic Festival Australia and being the BBC Asian Network only official touring artist from India in 2007. Mayur started dabbling in music from age 3 and was then trained in Indian classical tabla. Mayur dived head-on into the world of percussion, earning repute as a tabla player, He was the winner of all India Radio competetion in 2000 (Percussion) and was awared the promising percussionist in 2001 by Pandit Nikhil Gosh Academy. After bandish projekt and bhejafry records (Record label) the recent venture is Bandish Beat Faktory a learning module for electronic music production and education which has also been getting a global accpetance.
He has used these roots to bring his taste for strange sounds and electronic noises that brings a certain wildness and rarity in his style while his classical element keeps him grounded. Mayur’s need for experimenting takes him to unchartered scales, His music is his journey and it is that journey he explores!
Reva Dandage is the co-founder and director of Swaraj University, an alternative university with a focus on self-design learning, including exploration of basic entrepreneurial skills within the context of environmental sustainability and social responsibility. It is India’s first university dedicated to strengthening local economies, local cultures and the rich diversity of local traditions. Its two-year program is rooted in the age-old ‘guru-shishya parampara’ or learning through practical experience with mentors or gurus.
Reva’s passion is to create and host alternative spaces for learning, and through Swaraj University, she facilitates young people in co-creating their learning programs towards their passions and dreams.
She is also dedicated to living sustainably and engaging youth in dialogues to challenge their ideas of success and inspire a spirit of compassion and social responsibility in them.
Mushtaque Ali Khan Babi also known as Max Babi, is a metallurgist with 40 years in plasma technology.
He has published more than 640 technical articles in industry magazines, delivered more than 120 talks and carried out workshops, half-day duration to 10-day long courses. He is a Life Member of 6 learned societies, and a visiting faculty to several teaching institutions and corporate bodies.
More than 30 of his short stories have been accepted by the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, two stories have been converted to plays and performed at Pune by theatre groups.
His passions include reading, writing, Trans-creations from Indian languages to English, plasma, serendipity and related phenomena, astronomy, travel and making friends who share similar cosmopolitan and liberal values.
Devon Robert Foster, Born and educated in New York City, Devon has always used the vibrant backdrop of his native home as inspiration to pursue his many creative interests. He attended the High School of Art and Design in New York City’s midtown Manhattan and went on to earn his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration from Parsons School of Design, also in Manhattan. Upon developing an interest in creating useful, beautiful and functional products for market, Devon went on to attend Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY where he earned his Master’s Degree in Industrial Design.
In his professional experience, Devon has been a Graphic Designer for the apparel industry, worked on projects for Hoya Glassware, Nambe Giftware, Knoll and Steelcase Furniture, he has designed and fabricated custom furniture, lighting and cabinetry for private clients and developed a series of unique wall finishes for exhibits held by a branch of the Smithsonian Museum.
Currently a senior lecturer and head of the Product Design department at Raffles Millennium International Ahmedabad campus, Devon feels that India is an economically exciting country, rich in design and craftsmanship traditions and in a state of strong and unparalleled growth. He hopes to do his small part in molding young, talented designers to compete in the fields of Product Design, Industrial Design and Visual Communication.
John Devaraj is a passionate Sculptor, Painter, Architect, Cinema and Stage Art Director, Musician, Film Maker, Photographer, Playwright, Actor, Puppeteer, Facilitator and Consultant for culture, youth and children’s organization and events.
Growing up to become a little boy. Through artistic expressions, he endeavors to find his childhood. In his journey, he discovered millions of children who share this dream.
With street and working children, he co-founded the Bornfree Art School.
The Bornfree Art school lives, expresses and thrives by the immense power and potentiality of liberated toiling children. Using the vital survival instincts of kids of the street, Bornfree empowers children to produce a culture of liberation. To childrenize the world and create CHILDOM.
For the liberation of 127 million working children of India, The Bornfree has now bicycled 7000 KMs to create the History of Working children, Wrote the Worlds largest love letter; cycled 3000 KMs from Bangalore to Lahore for peace and friendship with Pakistan to emphatically say, "We need pens and not guns".
Michael Mazgaonkar has been experimenting with community-driven development and activism for the past 20 years in rural Gujarat. He is a founding member of the Mozda Collective, a team of individuals dedicated to sustainable rural development, and Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti, an environmental advocacy group.
Formally trained as an engineer, he uses his expertise to train communities to use technology to improve living conditions and livelihoods through activities like watershed development, harvesting alternative energy, and supporting a local agricultural cooperative.
Simultaneously Michael is committed to people's struggles against the corporate-centered development paradigm that has been disempowering and marginalizing families across the state, particularly on issues related to forest rights, industrial pollution/environmental monitoring and governance.
With an ear to the global ground and a finger on the pulse of local concerns, Michael strives to bridge the resource and information gap between those who make decisions and those who are affected by them.
Rustam Sengupta is the founder and CEO of Boond, a social enterprise that creates entrepreneurs in rural India who sell and service development products like solar lamps, water filters, cooking stoves, dynamo lamps etc. in remote rural areas of India.
He is a MBA graduate from INSEAD Business School and a MS from University of California, Irvine and has worked and lived in US, Belgium, Switzerland, France and Singapore before returning home to India.
Rustam is passionate about sustainable entrepreneurship and believes that the youth are the key to India's future development.
Ashok Pannikar, Meta-Culture's Founder and Executive Director, has worked as a Mediator, Facilitator and Consultant in the United States, India and in Europe.
Prior to starting Meta-Culture, South Asia’s first full service conflict management centre, he directed a successful workplace conflict resolution program in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
As the Executive Director of Meta-Culture he is currently spearheading a series of multi-stakeholder consensus building initiatives in the country, the first ever in India. Here Meta-Culture is bringing together corporations, trade unions, NGOs, government, academics and other key stakeholders in a range of conflict ridden sectors such as the apparels, mining and bio-tech industries. His clients include the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, Green Peace, Gap, Tata Consulting Services, Mother Care, Accenture, Nokia and Mercedes Benz.
Ashok was elected to the board of the New England-Association of Conflict Resolution (NE-ACR) for the year 2004-2005. In January 2010 he was nominated to the Board of Mediators Beyond Borders. Most recently Ashok was one of the Keynote speakers at the Mediators Beyond Borders Congress, at Los Angeles in March 2011.
Meta-Culture is the recipient of the 2010 Outstanding International Leadership Award presented by the Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR), USA.
Dhruv Joshi and Sakshi Bhansali
Dhruv Doshi is a student of The Riverside School and studies in Grade 9. He believes that knowledge is all around us - you simply have to grab as much as you can and hold on to it. Academically, he performs well and his interests range from understanding the human mind - to learning literature - to appreciating the beauty of the universe itself. However, his true passion is science, because he believes that science can explain the very building blocks of life.
He thinks that the community that one lives in is very important and believes that helping the community is being a responsible and good person. He therefore spends one and a half hours every week teaching children from municipal schools at Riverside. He enjoys spending time with others, irrespective of their age.
He has a lot of fun playing around with kids whenever he can and enjoys talking to older people as well, for he believes that older people have a lot of wisdom and knowledge. He loves being amongst friends and family. As for sports, he loves swimming, mountain-biking, badminton and basketball. He also enjoys playing strategy board games like Chess, Checkers and Risk because it challenges him.
Sakshi Bhansali is a student of The Riverside School and studies in Grade 9. She is a multi-talented student, but her major interests are Psychology and Public Speaking. With her experience at Riverside, she has grown into a Teenager who respects, values and appreciates others and has learnt to become a good leader.
Apart from this, she is a very fun-loving person and people enjoy her presence. She recently performed the role of Ophelia in “Hamlet” and has anchored a lot of events at Riverside - ranging from Artist-In- Residence - to Auctions - to Hindi Divas.
She is a very sensitive child, and this trait of hers has made her a core team member of a persistence initiative called ViBeS – Vision Beyond Sight.
Besides being academically strong, she is also good at handling kids and getting them to work towards a common goal. She has been a student ambassador for Riverside and was a member of the team who presented the “Design for Change” School Challenge at many schools in Ahmedabad. She aspires to work in the field of Media Communication, and one day become an icon who is an inspiration for all.