Toy inventor Prof Arvind Gupta, who won the Padmashri Award for 2018 on Thursday said he dedicated his award to the children of the country. “I dedicate this award to millions of children of this country who have immense talent hidden in them. I am very happy and feel honoured to receive this award given for singular efforts in popularization of science,” he said.
An IIT Kanpur graduate, Prof Gupta always wanted to do what his heart said. “I was fortunate to do what I wanted to do, the thing which was close to my heart. I had promised myself to do something for the poor children of this country who have hidden knowledge in them,” he said, while talking to Sakal Times on the phone from Chennai.
“Though currently I am not very much active in popularization of science, there are 63 million views to my website and nearly 5,000 books being downloaded. I am very thankful and happy to have spent a considerable time in Pune. I joined Tata Motors in 1975 and till 1980 I worked as a maintenance engineer with Tata Engineering & Locomotive Company (TELCO), Pune,” he said.
“Pune has always been an inspiration for me. I met so many good people here and could do good science too,” he said. Prof Gupta completed his graduation from IIT Kanpur in 1975 before moving to Pune. He spent his time in Pune from October 2003 to December 2014 and worked at the Children’s Science Centre of IUCAA (Inter-University Centre for Astronomy & Astrophysics) Pune. The Science Centre was the dream of Prof Jayant Narlikar.
“Live your own dream, do not think much about failures or success. Be deeply immersed in the work you do and success will come to you through goodness. I will continue doing my work. I feel honoured to get this civilian award. But even if the award did not come my way, I would have continued doing it. Certainly, the award has refilled new enthusiasm into me,” he said.
Gupta’s contribution in designing science teaching aids for young children has been recognized by several international organizations such as UNESCO, UNICEF, International Toy Research Association, Halmstad University, Boston Science Centre, MIT (Media Lab), Walt Disney Imagineering and Research, Auhof Rehabilitation Centre, Hilpolstien, Germany and the International Play Association, Finland.