(Note: The following views are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of strat.in)
Last Month TED had their India Conference at the Infosys Campus at Mysore. As the videos are being published one by one, analyzing the highlights of the conference may give us some idea as to where we are going –
Pranav Mistry : This guy is mad. He is out to get rid of the laptop/desktop/iphone that you are using to read this right now, and put it on you. So your computer is going to be ON you like a parasite wherever you go. On a serious note, a true genius. A true face of innovative India that I feel was lost during foreign rule and pre liberation period. Not surprisingly, he does all his research at the MIT labs. What we need to look forward is that, when we start computing in this way or may be start embedding chips in our bodies, will our educational reforms take us to a position where the pranav mistrys of tomorrow do their research in India. Not that we would not take all the credit of his inventions even if they are done elsewhere.
Hans Rosling : The king of data and information statistics. He predicts that if the ‘conditions’of the past 2 decades remain constant, India will be at par with the US and UK in terms of economy, health and standard of living by 2048 ! Now the skeptics disagree saying that this is non-sense and that Hans Rosling’s own findings suggest that there are discrepancies due to conditions like war, famines and stuff – but being a true Indian at heart – I like to believe that this is all true. Wow, it would be such an awesome day ! Hopefully the rupee is so strong that it pains much more to pay Rs 25 for a hair cut in India than paying $25 plus tip in the US .Our PM bloody has the power to go and poke his nose in any part of the world. Technology being outsourced from India to the west ;).So much power to just crush Pakistan like a fly. Speaking of Pakistan, I have always wondered why no one considers Pakistan in such surveys – oh ya, most probably, they would have ceased to exist by 2048.
Mallika Sarabhai : Well here we have an activist, politician and artist dishing out something that was hard core “arty”. I am not too fascinated by slow, puzzling art films dishing out indirect messages to, many a times, very few people, who always look down at people like me who say that they didn’t really understand anything. She focused on including arts along with all the economic, social and political development and that any true development would not be possible without including the development of art. Though her performance is rated as obnoxious and unconvincing at TED, what really came out from it was how the super upper class looks at the social issues. It gave a feel of how showing to do something social is ‘cool’ for what can be called – the page 3 type people.
Sunitha Krishnan : Activist working against human trafficking and sex slavery. I feel this short, confident and humble woman represents the true face of the strong upcoming Indian woman – who is courageous, inspiring and fearless. Her talk agenda is very close to what Mallika Sarabhai speaks, but it is straightforward, no non sense and it touches your heart. It takes something for a female to come upto the stage and explain her condition on being gang raped by 8 men when she was 15 and overcoming all that anger to bloom into a super woman who has rescued more than 3200 girls who had been trafficked for sexual reasons. She rightly points out that the society is the major issue that builds walls against accepting rehabilitated women and things are going to change when we just change our outlook even within our small social circle. Well, if this is the face of the Indian woman tomorrow, we are getting there much earlier than 2048 .
Anupam Mishra : Look at him once and you see a true Gandhian at appearance, speech and attitude. And hell he is. He pointed out an interesting thing – of how traditional methods, in application in draught prone regions of Indian from something like 800, are still working perfectly and how the million rupee projects of the government have fallen flat on their face. Well, we all know for a fact that long long time back, we had fascinating technology, architecture and probably the best standard of living – where we intend to go back again by 2048 . He has stressed on how we can still use these traditional and age old technologies even today and it is sheer ignorance of the government that we are not doing that in other parts of India. Now this brings us to an interesting point – if we are going ahead to become a super power, are we going to get there by being true to our roots and becoming an easternized eastern super power or are we going to adopt the west and follow their ways to become a westernized eastern super power.
Devdutt Pattanaik : Following the east and the west question above, he speaks about how east is east and the west is west and how our different history and culture have influenced our behavior and how this applies to business. Eventually leads to the all important question that almost all businesses in India come across – should we put things in a process or will that hamper the innovative* quotient of the company. *Well, innovation in the Indian way can be defined as finding your way through the traffic and making it to the front, in spite of having 50 cars and bikes packed in front of you at the red light . Of how the best Indian companies cannot be driven by institutional demands but by individual instincts. While time will only tell how we adopt or clash when we start influencing the world more and more, I think its time to include ‘jugaad’ as an official management funda and’ jugaadu’ as an official profession .
Shashi Tharoor : I just love to see people like him come up the Indian political scene. He has spoken about the soft power of a country. A power that a country develops as a result of its culture, people, policies and also a sixth sense subjective matter that every country has about itself. You know, like the US portrays capitalism, rich, technology, credit . India – rich culture, yoga, technology , population , Australia – beaches, laid back lifestyle, nature . China – cheap quality, small eyes, eating lizards. Pakistan – terrorism. So will India, empowered by all the technology, communication, entertainment, democracy and its powerful growing economy mergeits benefits with its ancient culture to come across as a consolidated super country and use all these powers, not to power the world, but to overpower its own problems first? May be if more and more like Tharoor start coming up instead of the Behnjis, and we start making use of them for their intelligence rather than concentrating on their tweets .
Just taking an outline from the published talks, do have to say that the Indian TEDDY is looking pretty pink and healthy and laughing all the way .
About the author: Rahul Rane : Rahul is the managing partner at Ensemble Consultants Inc – a web2.0, CRM and BPM software development company based in Illinois, with their main development center in Pune,India. Intersts include Indian politics, world economy , travel & bisiness and mocking about current affairs. Currently based in Melbourne and establishing base for 2 of our products : EC24x7.com – end to end web solutions for SMB’s and Surecents.com – custom CRM for small businesses.