The 3rd edition of TEDx Hyderabad held with 2000 plus attendees

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Hyderabad: Film Star and new age storyteller Daggubati Rana among 12 other including extraordinary speakers shared their “Ideas worth spreading”

To be successful studies are not important. Determination to achieve is more important. I am little educated but, I have become a case study for MBA students: says Kalpana Saroj, Disruptive Millionaire who claims to have started earning Rs 2 per day and is now doing Rs.2000 crore business.

Indian Universities are very difficult to run because of the indiscipline: Lt. Gen Zameer Uddin Shah

A P Hota, Managing Director of National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) says that the BTT trinity (Bill Payment System, Toll Gate Payments, Transactions Payments) is set to change the entire scenario of digital financial inclusion in the country

Just as people have Janampatri (‘Janma Patrika’ in Telugu) why shouldn’t we have Genomepatri of everyone too: says Anu Acharya, Genome Guru

As a photo journalist I shoot pictures to bring positive change. I helped 50 people set up businesses: GMB Akash, Photo Journalist

Hyderabad, September 24, 2017… TEDxHyderabad organised its next flagship event “TEDxHyderabad2017” Independently organized and licensed event by TED, a day-long event here at Gachibowli Indoor Stadium today.

TEDxHyderabad is organsed by SAHE (Society for Advancement of Human Endeavour), a not for profit society. The theme of this year’s TEDxHyderabad was “Do”. You are what you do. Celebrating ‘Do’ers and ‘Do’ing, TEDx Hyderabad with the theme ‘Do’ had a plethora of speakers ranging from Activists, Scientists, Army personnel to Industrialist spanning varied fields.

The theme DO was chosen as it a diverse and it has no one meaning. DO means different things to different people. You are what you do. Doing is more important than talking. Doers score over mere talkers. Doers change the world. This is a very meaningful theme – a small yet powerful word”, said Viiveck Verma, the co-organizer of TEDxHyderabad.

This year, 13 extraordinary innovators, thinkers, and speakers presented their inspiring talks and ideas to wow 2000+ attendees, coming from different parts of the country. The audience listened to incredible TED talks from TED.com and watched some brilliant performances by renowned performers.

This year speaker roster is drawn from all walks of life and represented diverse backgrounds from art, music, photography, space exploration, education, philanthropy, technology and agriculture.

The speakers include: Film Star and new age storyteller Daggubati Rana; Former Indian Army officer Lt Gen Zameer Uddin Shah; Disruptive Millionaire, Kalpana Saroj; MD of National Payments Corporation of India (NCBI), A P Hota; Disruptive Reformer, Social entrepreneur, Anshu Gupta; Survivor turned savior, Activist and Co-founder of anti-trafficking organization `Prajwala’ Sunitha Krishnan; Pocket Dynamite, Mark Dharmai; Glocal Strategizer, President of the US-India Strategic Partnership Forum, Mukesh Aghi; Social Entrepreneur, Pradeep Lokhande, Pune-411013; Hope Creator, Elca Grobler; Photojournalist GMB Akash; Genome Guru, Anu Acharya and Transgender Champion; Gauri Sawant;

Each of these speakers presented their ideas for a maximum of 18 minutes.

New age storeyteller Daggubati Rana gave a sneak peak into the journey of Indian cinema. By 1915 Indian cinema became the art keeper. He touched upon how from the era of silent movies, film world has grown as an industry, how technology, digital age changed film making. Along with these changes, the storytelling is also changed. Augmented, Virtual reality and many tools now help us tell the stories.

Web opened many opportunities to tell the stories. Web is offering an opportunity to every one of us to tell stories. Come and tell stories. Let us together tell stories. India is the land of great stories, he said

Actors act but can’t speak well is a general observation. But, Rana managed to put up a good show. He proved himself a good story teller on the stage too.

Kalpana Saroj, the first speaker of the day, a successful entrepreneur, an activist and a ‘disruptive millionaire’ shared her story of rags to riches with the gathering at TEDx Hyderabad. Her story of success is a testimony that it is not degrees / MBAs that make you successful entrepreneurs / Businesspersons but it is grit, determination and perseverance.

Kalpana narrated her story of being born in poverty in Roperkheda village in Maharashtra to becoming one of the most sought after entrepreneurs in the country and winning the Padma Shri in 2013. Speaking in Hindi, Kalpana Saroj said that she felt that she was flying in the sky when she was going to receive the Padma Shri award. Daughter of Police constable who used to bow and salute his officers, Kalpana felt elated when she got the Padma Shri.

Recalling her ordeals, Kalpana said that she was born in poverty. Though she was good at studies, she was not allowed to participate in any activities, sports, etc. She recollected how she faced discrimination and untouchability when she visited her grandfather in the village. She was married off at just 12 years of age to an unemployed man and lived in a slum in Mumbai and faced problems with her in-laws.

Seeing her problems, her father brought her back to their village. Facing problems, she attempted suicide but survived. She returned to Mumbai looking for livelihood and worked at a sewing unit for Rs.2 a day. Her sister’s death due to ill-health was the turning point and opened her eyes to the importance of money. She took a loan and started a business and from there on her journey as a businesswoman started.

Kalpana Saroj took a big leap when she was approached by workers of a factory that was closed for 25 years. The Tubes company at Mumbai was the first factory that was under worker management and had fallen in bad times. The company had a debt of Rs.116 crores, over 140 court cases, two trade unions, pending salaries of workers, etc. It was a problem nobody was willing to take on but Kalpana successfully bid for the company in 2006.

Later, Kalpana met the Finance Minister and held talks for saving the company. She asked for the penalty and interest to be waived off for the debts of the company. The Government accepted her requested and even 25 percent of the principal amount was also waived off. She revived the company and cleared the dues of Rs.8.5 crores. The company is doing very well now. Today Kalpana Saroj presides over many businesses and dons many hats viz., Entrepreneur, Activist, Businesswoman. The little educated Kalpana Saroj today has become a case study for MBA students.

Addressing the gathering, Lt Gen Zameer Uddin Shah said today Indian Universities are difficult to run because of indiscipline. I took over as the Vice Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University. Within few years, Times Higher Education in London ranked it as the number 1 university in India because of the culture of discipline I brought into the university, he said.

Germany, Japan, Korea countries which were destroyed in the Second World War, rebounded because of discipline and industrial nature of its people. Indian Army is the best in the world because of its discipline. If you treat your soldier better than his mother, that soldier will lay down his life for you and your country, informed Lt. Gen Zameer.

Do Indians’ lag discipline? No. NRI living outside India adapted themselves so well to behave in highly disciplined manner. But, Indians in India are not very disciplined. It may be because punishment is the key to impose discipline, Lt. Gen Zameer observed. Public opinion is very important. Approbation from fellow citizens can do wonder, he added.

Speaking at the TEDx Hyderabad, the Managing Director of National Payments Corporation of India (NCPI), Mr. A.P. Hota said that India now has the opportunity of building a less-cash society. Being a less-cash society is carrying out day to day transactions in a digital way, he clarified. He said that leveraging the digital platforms India can be a role model for large economies. Less-cash or cash-less societies are in practice in small counties like Singapore, Norway, Sweden but it is a challenge in a country like India. India can make it a success and can support the rest of the world in emulating, Mr. Hota said.

A Digital revolutionist, Hota played a key role in the implementation of MICR technology in Cheque Clearing, Electronic Funds Transfer, Automated Clearing House and Cheque Truncation System in India.

Elaborating on the steps taken in the direction of the journey towards a less-cash society, Mr. A.P. Hota talked about how the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), the nodal agency that handles payments in India of which he was the CEO for 8.5 years took various initiatives such as Domestic Card Network, Mobile Payments Platform, Aadhaar Payments Platform and now Contactless Payment Platform. He also talked about the JAM trinity (Jan Dhan, Aadhaar, Mobile) initiative of the Government which paved way for payment technology, financial inclusion and social rejuvenation.

Further Mr. Hota said that the BTT trinity (Bill Payment System, Toll Gate Payments, Transactions Payments) is set to change the entire scenario of digital financial inclusion in the country. He said that the NPCI building these back-end technologies and platforms is a great success story for India. He appreciated the close monitoring and commitment of the Government of India for the success of less-cash society. He opined that India can become a cash-less society and leapfrog ahead of countries like USA, China, Canada.

Pradeep Lokahnde, the postcard man spoke about his NGO, Rural Relations and his tryst with Postcards. He made use of the cheapest communication mode, “Post Card” available in India. Over the many years, he proved it as a powerful tool to connect the rural India.

With all the communication options, today – email, SMS, social media, mass media advertising – many people assume that a simple postcard is not as effective, but in reality, it is still the most cost-effective way. Pradeep Lokhande made use of it as a powerful tool to connect rural India, which no one has tried before. He did that to carry out activities of his NGO, Rural Relations. It is incredible indeed. He is a Pune based social entrepreneur who has contacted 58 lakh people in rural India. This Pune based social entrepreneur proudly claims that he received 9 lakh post cards from school children.

He has a database of 49,000 villages in 10 states across India. Known as the postcard man of India, Pradeep has one line address – Pradeep Lokhande, Pune-411013. Mail to his address is so heavy that the postman does not need specific details anymore. Pradeep, CEO of Rural Relations, an organization, he founded with the aim of developing rural India. He is a rural resource partner for corporates like Telco, P&G, Tata Tea and more; Rural Relations helps generate job opportunities in the villages.

Like NRI (Non-Resident Indian), Pradeep christened a new name NRV–Non-Resident Villager. Every Indian living in the city or abroad is a Non-Resident Villager (NRV), he says.

He started the Gyan Key Library Scheme, to establish libraries in the villages to inculcate reading habits among children. Everybody is an NRV because we all have come from communities. Therefore, an NRV can support, contribute in whatever the way meaningfully to the development of his/her village. Till date, they were successful in installing 3,055 Gyan-Key libraries in 3,055 rural secondary schools in 1,075 working days benefiting 8,50,000 students,”.

Addressing the gathering Ms. Anu Acharya, Genome Guru in her session that that earlier
Genetics was talked about in laboratories but now it has become a subject at cocktail parties. She said that predictive genomics can help reduce 60 per cent of the burden on Indian healthcare. Anu said that just as people have Janampatri (‘Janma Patrika’ in Telugu) why shouldn’t we have Genomepatri of everyone too.

As photographers, people shoot picture for different purposes. But, I shoot them to bring a positive change. Years of photos clicking as a Photojournalist, I earned many accolades for my work. But, those whom I photographed remained same even after years. I haven’t seen any progress in them. That is when I decided to photograph people to bring a positive change. I want to be their voice. So helped 50 people set up businesses informed GMB Akash, an award winning photo journalist from Dhaka Bangladesh.

There was a person who after getting injured in a road accident started begging. He begged so hardly to buy a dress for his daughter a new dress for her birthday. That really moved me. I helped him set up a shot to sell vegetables. That is when I learnt how every one of us can do something. You don’t need lot of resources.

Every human face has a story, and I capture it says GMB Akash. Akash, who considered as the Bangladesh’s best-known photojournalist told audience his story, photo journalism, street photography, the art of seeing the unseen.

Have some quiet moments in a life full of emotions. Whatever you DO, DO for soul feeding. You do not take a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography in all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved. Instinct and the ability to anticipate are skills that a street photographer acquires with experience and a lot of practice. The more you walk through streets with your camera, the more you will be able to tune into the world around you. As a street photographer, you are constantly scanning your surroundings. No expression or gesture can escape from you, the challenge is to record that story in your frame, says Akash.

Anshu Gupta, a social entrepreneur who founded Goonj, a Delhi-based non-governmental organization that positions the under-utilized urban material as a development resource for the rural parts of India was another speaker. In this country more people are dying due to lack of clothes than any other calamities: said Anshu Gupta, the clothes man and Magsaysay award winner.

A recipient of Ramon Magsaysay Award for his creative vision in transforming the culture of giving in India. His enterprising leadership in treating cloth as a sustainable development resource for the poor is well received and appreciated.

No doubt, we are the “fastest growing economy of the world” but a country where lakhs of people still die of cold due to lack of clothing every winter. Many rural women lose their uterus’ at their prime child bearing age due to infections since they do not have a ‘clean protection’ during their monthly menstruation cycles.

Anshu, one time journalist and a Corporate Executive, gave up his career and started Goonj. He decided he would make it his mission to clothe as many poor people as he could across the country. He began with 7- 10 pairs of clothings of his family and then began looking for donations and hand outs from others. Today they have hundreds of tons of clothes to distribute, barter. They handle 3000 tonnes of material annually.
‘The dignity of the recipients is as important as the pride of donors’ says Anshu Gupta. He came up with a novel scheme of ‘barter’. For the clothes you need, you donate your labour. The old concept of ‘Shramdan’. It has produced some wonderful results, he told the audience.

Anshu showed pictures of how roads, bridges and an entire section of Mangroves in Bengal built from scratch with such ‘shramdan’.

Towards the end of his presentation, he highlighted the importance of clothes by showing some very heartening pictures of cloth-less people whose appearance changed the moment they put on clothes. From looking like beggars, drunkards and sickly old people, they began looking presentable, civilized and decent.

So it is not just as protection from cold that people need clothes, they need them to look and feel like citizens from normal mainstream of life, he said for which the audience gave him thunderous applause and instant standing ovation.

Goonj, the NGO, he founded, ships over 70,000 kgs of material a month and has also converted 1,000 tonnes of used clothes, household goods, and other urban discards into usable resources for the poor. Goonj was chosen by NASA and the US state department as a “Game Changing Innovation.” Forbes magazine listed Gupta as one of India’s most influential rural entrepreneurs. Goonj has been given the Japanese Award for Most Innovative Development Project by the Global Development Fund.

Elca Grobler, Founder of My Choices Foundation, is another local speaker shared her unique story. An Australian, who made Hyderabad her city and when you ask Elca how long she is here, “indefinitely,” comes the reply. CFA and MBA turned hope creator; her NGO works in the domain of stopping domestic violence and sex trafficking. Every day, we’re trying to give women and girls the choice of freedom, says Elca. They say a dream is something you want to DO but a calling is something you have to DO. My Choices Foundation is a women’s protection organization that aims to help women and girls live free from violence and sexual exploitation, she added.

Another Hyderabadi speaker, Sunitha Krishnan, co-founder of Prajwala, a non-governmental body that rescues, rehabilitates and reintegrates sex-trafficked victims into society shared her journey from survivor to saviour. Raped at age 8, Sunitha Krishnan’s journey as a rape survivor to savior is incredible. Her journey, fight against sex slavery, Padma Shri awardee shared all the struggle she had gone through and the road ahead for Prajwala. She is a regular TEDx speaker.

37 years old transgender social activist, Gauri Sawant’s journey from being an outcast to motherhood shared her journey. Against all the odds, Gauri raised orphaned Gayatri as her own. She formed an NGO, ‘Sakhi Char Chowghi.’ My motto was to provide a space of freedom to all transgenders, hijras, he informed.

Mark Dharmai, Indian Paralympic Badminton Champion speaking in a session said that he gained strength from every hardship he went through. Badminton is my life, it keeps me going. I am very proud of playing for India. The facilities and appreciation that regular players get is much more than what the Paralympics get, he lamented. I hope that sooner or later, Paralympic stars will get their due recognition.

Dr. Anthony Vipin Das, TED Senior Fellow and TEDxHyderabad curator and licensee said, “Imagine a day filled with brilliant speakers, thought-provoking ideas and mind-blowing conversations. By organizing a TEDx event, you can create a unique gathering in your community that will unleash new ideas, inspire and inform.”

TEDx Hyderabad is not merely an event, we will develop TEDx culture in the city informed Viiveck Verma, Co-organiser.
VIIVECK VERMA, co-founder of the TEDxHyderabad shared five community engagement activities taken up by them. He highlighted few initiatives which include: Salon event in a moving bus which subsequently became a talk point in the TEDx movement. He also talked about “Live Lakes”, “100K First Response”, etc

We are exploring to bring into the city two wheeler ambulances to plug the gap on the lines of United Hatzalaiah, Israel. On Art Front, we are trying to revive few venues to make art within in the reach of common people.

In 2016, TED, the organization devoted to “ideas worth spreading,” had announced the launch of the TEDx Anchor Program, a dynamic cultural ideas exchange, designed to celebrate TEDx events around the world. Through a strategic collaboration with Infosys, a global leader in consulting, technology, outsourcing and next-generation services, the Program entails a two-year, multi-city pilot in India. Infosys was the presenting partner for 10 TEDx events in multiple cities across India in the past year and presented TEDxHyderabad, 2017.
Among attendee engagement activities planned at the TEDx, there was a stall 8mango.com set up by Bangalore based 35years old Dhiraj Sharma drew the large footfall. The tiny, eye catching and attractive objects made from e-waste and home/office junk put out on display caught everybody’s attention. I have used 22kgs of Eletronic waste so far and 50plus beautiful artefacts, disclosed Dhiraj Sharma. Though these were for display, many visitors seen enquiring if he would sell them. The objects are so cute that you feel like stealing them if they are not sold. I have run 80 episodes on Sony TV teaching how to make these tiny objects from the waste, discarded or thrown as useless things, he informed