Design & People


Sethu Das Sethu Das: After graduating from the Faculty of Fine Arts, Maharaja Sayajirao University, Vadodara, Shri Sethu Das went to Srinagar for a visit and 'accidentally' reached Dharamshala, the seat of the Tibetan government in exile. And found his calling in life. Moved by the stories of Chinese atrocities in Tibet related to him by Tibetan political prisoners, he founded the 'Friends of Tibet', Indian people’s movement for an Independent Tibet in 1999 with one member, an organisation he never registered. He is also the Executive Director of 'World Tibet Day' and one of the Founding Members of 'Friends of Tibet Foundation for the Wellbeing', a philanthropic initiative by Friends of Tibet that restores, propagates and promotes the endangered traditions and practices of Tibet. Among other things, Sethu has the rare distinction of dropping out from the Industrial Design Centre (IDC) of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay, one of the premier institutes in India.

In 2003, Sethu Das co-founded 'Design & People' with the slogan — 'Design For People In Need'. Today Design & People is a global network of graphic and industrial designers and architects working towards social and humanitarian projects.

In 2014, Sethu Das founded 'Centre for Social & Political Art' (CSPA), India's first institution dedicated for Social & Political art in a joint venture between Design & People and Sylviander Museum. He has held workshops on Social and Political Design in India and abroad and has curated shows including — "Re-Designing the East: Political Design in Asia and Europe". Sethu Das has worked with The Economic Times, Netscribes India and IIT Bombay as a Consultant and a Resource Faculty to National Institute of Design (NID). He was also an International Observer to Sri Lanka and to several other conflict regions. From being a designer, to starting a socially-conscious design movement, he is a man of varied tastes and talents. You won't however find him enjoying a bottle of Coca-Cola!

Contact Address: Sethu Das, PO Box 16674, Bombay 400050, India.
Tel: +91.9995181777 Fax: +91.11.47615142


The Artro: Howto Jeju Island Road Show: South Korea: A brief report by Sethu Das, Co-founder of Design & People on the Jeju Island Road Show Project organised by the Total Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, South Korea. The report based on his Travel Show experiences as a participant is being published by: 'The Artro', a global platform for Korean contemporary art.

In Conversation with Dr Tint Swe The Fighting Peacock Begins to Dance: Dr Tint Swe is a physician-tuned Burmese politician. He is also the Minister for Information and Public Relations of the Prime Ministers' Office. Design & People Co-founder Sethu Das in conversation with Dr Tint Swe, one of the most prominent Burmese politicians who enjoys conducting free medical camps for his community living in exile.

In Conversation with Dr Ela Bhatt In Conversation with Dr Ela Bhatt: "Social and Political Design" Open Electives team of the National Institute of Design (NID) meets with Dr Ela Bhatt, Founder of SEWA at her residence in Ahmedabad, Gujarat to seek her blessings and guidance. She discussed on a wide-variety of topics — ranging from Women Empowerment to the bureaucracy of the United Nations.

Water Makes Money, Not Maxim Water Makes Money, Not Maxim: What happens when a cinema owner; a musician; a dancer cum film costume designer; a painter cum filmmaker and a designer-activist meet for a chat? Sethu Das, Co-founder of Design & People in conversation with Siegfried Daiber of The Maxim Kino and his close associates — HW Mueller, Alexander Devasia and Sylvie Bantle.

I Believe Violence is A Dead-End-Street: Dolkun Isa "I Believe Violence is A Dead-End-Street": Dolkun Isa: Originally published in the April 2011 edition of Pachakuthira Magazine, this piece is based on a conversation between Design & People Co-founder Sethu Das and Dolkun Isa, Secretary General of World Uyghur Congress (WUC), formed under the leadership of a charismatic woman — Rebiya Kadeer.

The Essential Youth by Sethu Das The Essential Youth: There is a Stuttgart 21 happening in every corner of our country in the name of progress. But not a single creative professional has ever marched to protect our falling monuments and to retain the aesthetic and historical values of our cities. Design & People Co-founder Sethu Das on Stuttgart 21 and the inertia of our generation.

The Queen, Gandhi and Limited Editions by Sethu Das The Queen, Gandhi and Limited Editions: The political design edition of the popular European design magazine 'Springerin' carries the not-so discussed history of Montblanc International GmbH by Sethu Das and the Indian Creative Resistance against the usage of historic icons by Mont Blanc and Swisscom in order to generate funds.

A River Runs Through Him - by Sethu Das A River Runs Through Him: He filed the fist complaint against a polluting factory on March 27, 1981. Ever since Right to Information Act came into existence, VJ Jose has filed 254 applications seeking information on pollution. Design & People Co-founder Sethu Das in conversation with Periyar Riverkeeper, who has been protecting the River Periyar for the last three decades.

Children of Christopher Columbus Children of Christopher Columbus: The 1492 voyage of Christopher Columbus in search of slaves and gold, and the subsequent genocide of Native Americans, is now being continued in third world countries like Iraq and Afganistan. Christopher Columbus may be dead, but his children are alive and need to be thrown out from Asia's soil, says Sethu Das, Co-founder of Design & People.

Newspapers As National Symbols Newspapers As National Symbols: What are national symbols and what makes them national properties? Do all symbols that belong to a state become national symbols? Why do we think newspapers are national symbols that belong to us? Sethu Das of Design & People looks at some of the Indian national newspapers and the redesign industry.

Good Morning! This Was All India Radio! "Good Morning! This Was All India Radio!": Most of us grew up listening to the radio at a time when subjects had to pay the state for the cautiously-edited news broadcasts under the radio receiver license system of 1928. Design & People Co-founder Sethu Das wonders why India wants to keep radio a state property while it tries to open up television so much.

The Mountbatten Bomb The Mountbatten Bomb: He belonged to a family that once symbolised the British Empire. And for many he was a dead child walking. Design & People Co-founder Sethu Das meets with Timothy Knatchbull, survivor of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) bomb that killed his high profile 'grandpapa' — Lord Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma.

The Land Minds of Sri Lanka The Land Minds of Sri Lanka: Soon after the killing of Lasantha Wikramatunge, Editor of 'The Sunday Leader', by the Sri Lankan government forces, Design & People Co-Founder Sethu Das travelled to Sri Lanka to meet with Ravindra Ranasinha, one of Lasantha's close associates in journalism and a known Sinhalese theatre activist, sociologist, educationist and social worker.

Hind Swaraj and Common Sense Hind Swaraj and Common Sense: Even after years, two political pamphlets continue to inspire people all over the world. Sethu Das of Design & People looks at Mahatma Gandhi's 'Hind Swaraj' or 'Indian Home Rule' of 1909 and Thomas Paine's 'Common Sense' — two historic, extraordinary pamphlets that changed the fate of two colonies forever.

When Mont Blanc Ink Runs Through Father Of A Nation When Mont Blanc Ink Runs Through Father Of A Nation: Not many designers understand that meanings and interpretations are meaningless if the sole purpose of design is only to empower the elite and the powerful section of a society, argues Sethu Das of Design & People while presenting the case of Mont Blanc Mahatma Gandhi Limited Edition 241.

People's Own Fortune Tellers and Story Tellers People's Own Fortune Tellers and Story Tellers: Sometimes unpredictable events lead to favorable outcomes. Sethu Das of Design & People tells us how fortunate he was to meet with Anubrotto Kumar Roy, popularly known as Dunu Roy — India's own story teller whose stories are centered around the wisdom of the ordinary people in India.

Let The Billboards Fall! Let The Billboards Fall!: From Alaska to Mumbai, concerned individuals and organisations fight not only for clean air and clean water, but also for a clean environment sans billboards. Sethu Das of Design & People looks at the politics of advertisement billboards and their impact on people and society in the long run.

Genden Choephel - the 'Mad Monk' Genden Choephel — the 'Mad Monk': Shortly after the military occupation of Tibet by the PLA, the unorthodox Tibetan monk Gendun Choephel passed away. He supposedly concluded on the political events in Tibet by saying: "Now we are fucked!". Sethu Das of Design & People pays tribute to the controversial but one of the most important Tibetan intellectuals of the 20th century.

October 25, 1920: Remembering Terence MacSwiney October 25, 1920: Remembering Terence MacSwiney: During the hunger strike a young MacSwiney said: "I am confident that my death will do more to smash the British Empire than my release." Sethu Das of Design & People remembers Terence MacSwiney (1879-1920), Commanding Officer of IRA who died on the 74th day of his hunger strike in London's Brixton Prison — without giving up!



Items on Design & People (May 2006)
'Designs For A Better World'
Dutch design magazine 'items' on Design & People and the people behind the unusual network of designers and architects in its story — 'Designs For A Better World'.
READ (Dutch)

Outlook on Design & People (Jan 2005)
'The Visual Metaphor Of Dissent'
Popular Indian Weekly 'Outlook' features Design & People in 'Making a Difference', a profile of people who work under wraps, beyond the laudatory limelight.

Architect & Interiors on Design & People (Sept 2009)
'Designers With A Cause'
Maria Louis, Editor of 'Architect & Interiors' magazine interviews Sethu Das and Suku Dass — Co-founders of Design & People.


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Design & People, PO Box 16674, Mumbai 400050.
Tel: +91.9995181777, +91.9847044248 Fax: +91.11.47615142 Email: