Meet Yogesh Saini, the Engineer-Turned-Artist Who Transformed Delhi's Streets and Won PM Modi's Praise
Yogesh Saini founded the Delhi Street Art initiative that brings together artists and volunteers to clean and paint parts of the national capital.
File photo of Yogesh Saini.
New Delhi: In his monthly ‘Mann ki Baat’ broadcast on Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi thanked Yogesh Saini, the man behind iconic murals in Delhi's Lodhi Colony, for cleaning and beautifying the national capital.
The Prime Minister said Saini quit his engineering job in the US and returned to serve the country.
“Recently in the media, I saw the efforts made by Yogesh Saini and his team. An engineer by profession, Saini quit his job in the US and is engaged in serving the country. Some time ago, he took up the work of not only making Delhi clean but also beautifying it. Through the medium of street art, he beautified Lodhi Gardens into Lodhi Art District by removing the garbage, painting buildings of schools and overbridges. People have also noted and appreciated his efforts," he said.
Saini, who holds a degree in engineering and is an MBA, founded the Delhi Street Art (DSA) initiative that brings together artists and volunteers to clean and paint parts of the city.
On its Facebook page, the DSA mentions that Saini is an avid travel and nature photographer, blogger and digital artist who has published several travel stories.
“An engineer from Delhi, he also has an MBA degree from the US. He has lived overseas for more than 20 years and worked with Fortune 500 companies as well as launched startups in the US and India. Since 2013 he has made Delhi his home again and hence felt a strong urge to so something special for the city where he grew up and to make it more liveable and friendly,” the DSA says on its Facebook page.
According to a report in Better India, he conceived the idea of starting DSA in 2013, which stands credited for the murals that can be spotted in various places in Delhi including Nehru Place and Janakpuri. The idea occurred to him while on a jog in Lodhi Gardens, where he realised that people neglected their civic duty to keep the surroundings clean simply because the dustbins installed there, although new, failed to draw attention.
He soon organised “Street Art Saturdays”, partnering with New Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC), where artists would gather to paint the bins. To his surprise, the NDMC easily gave him permission to carry out what could have easily been mistaken for vandalism.
Delhi Street Art has been credited with giving makeovers to several areas in the capital. The DSA's work in Lodhi Colony has earned it the moniker "Lodhi Art District". The once dreary walls of the government quarters that make up the Lodhi Colony are now an inviting, vibrant treat for the eyes.
Connaught Place’s Shankar Market, which lost its appeal as a popular shopping destination, was also painted with depictions of music, dance and drama, to increase footfall.
The New Delhi railway station also saw a similar transformation as the DSA painted walls with quirky graffiti. In 2018, several slums in Delhi were also given makeovers.
The initiative has used art to draw attention to an important civic issue successfully, engaging with the residents of the city. As part of CNN-News18's 2015 Swachh Delhi Campaign, the engineer-turned-artist said, " I believe the onus to keep our city clean does not only lie on the authorities."
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