Inspired thoughts at TEDxYouth@Chennai

Note: This post was originally published on September 7, 2011

I once had the opportunity to attend one of the TEDx events that happened in Chennai as I was invited to be the official blogger for the event. The talks I attended there were both interesting and inspiring. The inspired thoughts thread is an attempt to recreate the ideas and the experiences I was exposed to at the event.

TEDxYouth@Chennai opened with a interesting talk by Saundarya Rajesh, Founder- President, AVTAR Career Creators. Soundarya is one of the earliest voices to speak on Diversity & Inclusion in India, is a winner of the SCOPE Woman Exemplar Award 2006, the Yuvashakthi Entrepreneur of the Year award 2007. She urged the audience to aspire and acquire generational competence, the skill that empowers us with the knowledge and understanding of various generations. She encouraged the youth to seek out generational competence and to leverage its power in our everyday lives. This, Soundarya notes,.. is an idea worth spreading

Next up was Balaji Sampath, Founder of AID India, a non-profit organization working on Education and Rural Development. He enlightened the audience of the need to get the parents at the bottom of the pyramid to get involved in the education of their children. Balaji envisions getting people engaged as the key to fundamental and structural transformations in both education and health. Getting people engaged would be perhaps THE best way to get the government run schools accountable. This would in turn lead us to enhanced quality of education, Balaji reminded.

Armendra Kumar is a man on a mission. He dreams of making India as Clean as Switzerland in one year. He is a great believer in the power of markets in solving the challenges facing the society. Armendra is a founder and missionary in chief at CleanCredit and a Research Scholar in Public Policy @ IIMB. While explaining his concept of Trash is Cash he appealed to the audience to ponder why in a society like India where littering is the order of the day, why is it that dont we find beer bottles and newspapers in any of the garbage. He theorizes that the answer lies in the fact that there exists a market for beer bottles and newspapers but not for other kinds of trash. As a concluding note of his interesting and thought provoking presentation, Armendra appealed to the audience to participate in the online Satyagraha, which he names Satyagraha 2.0, and pave way for a cleaner India.

Major A.K. Ravindran better known by his screen name Major Ravi is a former Indian Army Officer and a Malayali Indian filmmaker, recipient of the President’s medal, joined the Indian army as a jawan in 1975 and graduated from the Army Cadet College to become a commando in the year 1988. He led the mission codenamed Operation One-Eyed Jack to capture suspects of the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, the experiences of which inspired him to direct Mission 90 Days (2007). Major Ravi choose to fly down from Mumbai to address the audience and essentially to inspire them to follow their dreams and live life to its fullest. He took us through his life, right from the time when he dropped out of school in 10th, to his present passion of moviemaking. The journey was both inspiring and in my opinion would also make for a great script for his next movie.