You cannot be a "well-rounded architect" unless you have learnt the basics of Vastu Shastra - the foundation on which traditional Indian architecture study rests, believes IIT Kharagpur. The country's oldest and largest IIT will introduce the rudiments to first and second-year undergraduate architecture students this August, while those pursuing post-graduation or research scholars in infrastructure will get a detailed grounding on the subject.
As a concept, Vastu Shastra did not figure in the architecture and infrastructure syllabi. But faculty members — while looking at re-orienting teaching-learning for the coming academic session — feel that since students are being taught concepts prevalent in the West, there is no reason why they shouldn't be conversant with ancient Indian architectural traditions. They believe that Vastu studies are not rooted in religion. Instead, ancient Indian concepts have a scientific basis and introducing students to these will open up new vistas, they say.
Vastu will be introduced in graded modules to UG architecture students, who are taught courses like basic design and history of architecture. At the PG level, solar principles, sacred diagrams, 9 circuit placements or the nabagraha mandal, sacred altars and design semiotics and semantics are some of the things students will be taught. "For PG infrastructure course, we will have BTech students from departments of architecture, civil, electrical, mechanical and even management graduates. So, at this level, we will have a greater variety to address," Sen said.
Students will also have to write assignments, projects and tests on the Vastu concepts taught. "Vastu Shastra has its beginnings in Rig Veda and is scientific in its tenor. Today, the whole world is looking at green living, thanks to the way we are suffering due to erratic concretization. The concept of Vastu revolves around the healthy relationship of nature and infrastructure, hence its modern relevance," Sen said.