IIM Bangalore organized the highly popular TedX event on the 10th of September, 2017 in its campus. TED is a platform shaped to spread ideas in the form of short and powerful talks. It began in 1984 as a conference where it catered Technology, Entertainment and Design but today it covers almost all topics be it science or business or global issues in more than 100 languages. Based on the theme ‘Transformational Ideas’, and attended by over a hundred academicians, students, alumni, faculty and government personnel, it witnessed some very thought provoking speeches from speakers belonging to a wide range of professions. The TedX talks amply justified the theme and left all those in attendance enriched with views on multiple pressing social issues.
Dr. Rajiv Kumar Gupta, IAS and Principal Secretary in the government of Gujarat was the first speaker for the day. Titled ‘Neem Revolution’, the talk centred around how Gujarat Narmada Valley Fertilizers and Chemicals (GNFC), of which Dr. Rajiv is the Managing Director, had developed several initiatives to generate rural employment based on the Neem Project. The Neem Project envisaged using the curative powers of the numerous neem trees in Gujarat to coat urea, generating significant employment for rural women. The Neem Project has been commended by UNDP as one of the finest examples of community led transformation, and simultaneously leading to asset creation and reduction of domestic violence.
Mr Mahantesh G.K., Vice President at the World Blind Cricket Council, was the next speaker for the day. He is also the Founder Managing Trustee at Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled, which is an award winning NGO working for the empowerment of persons with disabilities, especially persons with visual and physical impairments. He spoke about the inspiring story of Shekhar Naik, and how he rose from being born blind into a poor family in rural Karnataka, to the becoming the captain of the Indian National Blind Cricket Team. Shekhar Naik captained India to wins in the T20 Blind Cricket World Cup in 2012 and Blind Cricket World Cup in 2014, and was awarded with a Padma Shri in 2017. There were several other speakers, including Professor Anil Gupta from IIM Ahmedabad, who spoke about the Honey Bee Network principle of creating a responsible knowledge ecosystem. He spoke about how “minds on the margin are not marginal minds”, highlighting several examples of how people from economically backward situations had developed remarkable innovations. He gave the example of the long tail system by which e-commerce companies made huge profits in spite of products individually recording low sales. Thus, local innovations, if marketed better, can open up new markets.
The TedX talks opened up new avenues for thought for the entire audience present, and stirred people to think in new directions. It promises to continue to motivate people to work for the underprivileged population of the country, and left everyone ample food for thought.