Satish Gujral, an architect, writer, painter, muralist, sculptor and graphic artist, has died at the age of 94. A Padma Vibhushan awardee of 1999, Satish Gujral was the brother of Inder Kumar Gujral, who was prime minister in the United Front government in 1997-1998.
“Satish Gujral Ji was versatile and multifaceted. He was admired for his creativity as well as the determination with which he overcame adversity. His intellectual thirst took him far and wide yet he remained attached with his roots. Saddened by his demise. Om Shanti,” the Prime Minister tweeted.
“Deeply saddened to hear about the demise of celebrated painter, sculptor, muralist & architect Sh Satish Gujral. He will be remembered & missed by legions of his followers & admirers. I offer my heartfelt condolence to his family,” said Hardeep Singh Puri, Union Minister, in a tweet.
As an architect, Gujral has created several landmarks. His design of the Belgium Embassy in New Delhi was selected by the international forum of architects as one of the finest buildings built in the 20th century. UNESCO building in Delhi, Goa University and even the summer palace for the Saudi Royal family in Riyadh are some of the other popular designs of Gujral.
The alphabet mural on the outside wall of the Delhi High Court is testimony to his multifaceted talent. Days of Glory and Mourning enmass, which are considered as expressions of anguish will cherish in art lovers’ mind for ever. As an author he has written four books including an autobiography.
Gujral was born in Jhelum in undivided Punjab in British India. When he was crossing a rickety bridge in Kashmir, he slipped and fell into the rapids, which later resulted in impairment of hearing, which he regained after surgery in 1998, 62 years later.
In 1939, he joined Mayo School of Arts in Lahore, to study applied arts. He moved to Bombay in 1944 and enrolled in the Sir JJ School of Art. In 1947, due to a recurring sickness, he was forced to drop out of school and leave Bombay. In 1952, Gujral received a scholarship to study at the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City, where he was apprenticed to the renowned artists Diego Rivera and David Alfaro Siqueiros.