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The Indian Maker Movement

A FlashTalk by Sahil Thappa, at Unconference


The maker movement in the west has spread to a lot of different areas. In India we are getting introduced to terminology like Hackerspaces, Open Source Hardware and all. As the socio economic structure is very different in India, the implications of the entire maker movement would end up being totally different from the west.

Main Description

When we noticed the world around us, we saw that everyone was running behind certain things. Some people wanted to buy the latest phone, some wanted the fastest car. There is no feeling of fulfillment. Everyone wants to be better than others around. Consumerism has rooted itself deeply within our society. We are bombarded with loads of marketing propaganda to buy something which we won't even use or enjoy. And we think that we are making those choices rationally but we are not rational being to begin with. Adam Smith's consideration of humans making decisions while evaluating the pros and cons is a bit dodgy.

As humans we have an inclination to observe and learn. We learn from our surroundings and then try to make it better. And we achieve this by making things. So, innovation, creativity & spontaneity are at the core of every human.

With the advent of 3D printing people are creating one off products which is fueling the need for personalized products. There seems to be a need for makers, designers, engineers, manufactures to come together and build flexible platforms which could lead to creation of a hybrid system (Mass manufacturing and 3D printing).

The diversity in terms of craft is so huge in India. There is a need of co creation and co designing with the craftsmen for saving and taking their craft to people all over the world. Underprivileged strata, women etc could me made self empowered by helping them gain new skills and techniques.

As India has one of the highest intellectual population of the world and we have abundance of makers (not similar to the ones in West) who could profit from the movement. And because of the huge diversity the potential of creating a profitable venture is possible.

And creating multimillion dollar R&D centers won’t really push innovation. For real innovation to happen we need people who are willing to get their hands dirty. There is a need of a synergistic partnership between R&D centers and makerspaces all over the world. India is already one of the major played in IT and with the new initiatives like ‘Make in India’ there is a possibility to create a state of the art manufacturing hub which is built around the idea of flexible open source community driven ventures.

The entire technological boom which happened in the Silicon Valley was attributed closely to the counter culture which was going on. People who really made stuff with their hands ended up becoming Apple Inc., Hewlett Packard etc. We need a disruption in the current way of thinking and doing things. And Maker Culture is that disruption.

What will be the future of Making? Will it be done on the move? What will we Make? Can making be a part of Education? There are a lot of questions which we need to ponder upon.


I'm a Mechanical Engineer with a Masters in Industrial Design from NID Ahmedabad. Have been a maker since I was a kid and have worked on projects ranging from making a FSAE car to making wooden toys for kids. I like to make stuff using origami, sometimes I code using whatever knowledge I have and sometimes just bind books. Some of the recent work with my fellows was on the Maker Culture of Ahmedabad. Some of the links are

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