The Man Who Made Toys from Trash
“I see a gleam in the eyes of the children. I see hope. I see happiness in their faces”. This is the vision of Arvind Gupta, an Indian toy inventor and promoter of science among today’s youth. He has been making toys for approximately the last 30 years and has even published scientific books in various languages. He believes that “Children want to make things. Children want to do things” and have now spent his life’s work trying to fulfill this exact desire, especially for those in small villages. For this, he has even been awarded the prestigious “Padma Shree” in 2018, along with numerous others.
However, this path of life didn’t come directly to him. After graduating from IIT Kanpur, he moved on to working at Telco, making TATA trucks. After working there for a few years, he realized that this wasn’t what he was meant to do, and so, to try and find himself, he took a year off to visit a small village science program. Here, he held true to a slogan that he believed in, to “go to the people. Live with them; love them. Start from what they know. Build on what they have”. From here, he was inspired to start his journey popularizing science and helping young children learn in a memorable hands-on manner. For instance, using just scraps of tubes and matchsticks, he beautifully illustrates different visual concepts, from angles to triangles to pentagons to rhombuses. He doesn’t believe in just giving a child an ordinary shape, he believes in giving them the world of knowledge to explore and the most interesting thing is that he does this using completely simple objects, easily available and inexpensive for all.
Therefore, Arvind Gupta doesn’t just see things for what they are, but rather what they can be. His toys, which he so elegantly described in his TED talk, are a perfect illustration of how he uses his creativity and passion to create beauty. He abides by his motto that “the whole world is a garbage pit, collect some junk and make a kit” and even makes use of “trash” in an attempt to educate children everywhere. To date, he has succeeded in unlocking the potential of over 100000 children by giving them a chance to explore this unique world of science through the use of his simple toys. His programs have spread to 15000 government schools and in villages, bringing hope and light to children who otherwise wouldn’t have proper access to knowledge and education. Hence, he is an inspiration to all as he works selflessly for the greater good of society. A lot of people have the knowledge and ability to do things, but only Unsung Heroes like Arvind Gupta use it to actually make a change in this world.
Today, Gupta is also the author of many entertaining and educating books regarding his toys and other themes. Currently, he is even trying to attain funds in order to build an interactive science Museum with no security guards and free access. Here, children would be free to play around and create their own inventions and ideas through common objects, launching their own journey through their individual scientific experiences.
Along with this, Arvind Gupta is also concerned about the fact that there are so many books with so much knowledge and wisdom, that yet remain inaccessible by the weaker sections of society. Therefore, over the years, he has obtained copyrights for these books wherever possible and has republished them in a manner more easily available to all.
Overall, Arvind Gupta not only uses his skill and passion to impart wisdom, but he does so selflessly and for the betterment of society. His toys, along with being versatile, knowledgeable, and unique, are also extremely simple and convenient. These attempts to create a new appreciation for science and giving access to children in remote areas, truly make him an Unsung Hero :)