Use innovation and technology for the society, participants urged

Only innovation with a social objective can be a winning formula for success in the future – this was what international award-winning experts had to say at the TEDx Coimbatore event that was held here on Saturday.

Speakers from various walks of life, who were devoted to their professions or causes, urged participants to use innovation and technology for the society and not for individual benefit. This was relevant in the light of the theme of the event being ‘Devote – Find your Purpose’.

Anshul Mishra, Collector of Madurai, spoke on combating the “endemic, all pervasive and omnipresent evil – corruption”. Listing out the places where corruption ranked very high, he said 62 per cent of Indians had first-hand experience of paying bribes, while 37 per cent took the help of brokers, and the remaining one per cent managed to remain incorrupt.

With the help of success stories of countries that had fought corruption effectively, Mr. Mishra said that when these countries had shown it was possible, it should not be difficult for India. Pointing out that it was not always correct to say only politicians were corrupt, he said that even the common man was corrupt; it was the urge to get things done at any cost and at the earliest that drove people to give bribes. It was also wrong to keep quiet when someone witnessed corruption.

Talks by some of the speakers were video streamed from other countries. While there was Henrik Hautop Lund from Denmark who developed shape-shifting modular robots who spoke on playful rehabilitation of mentally and physically challenged children and adults in rural areas of Sub-Saharan Africa on the one side, there was S. Muthukumar, a folk dancer from the Siva Sakthi Kalai Kuzhu in Thanjavur, to motivate the participants with his ‘Kaliyattam’ performance. A ‘Kalaimamani’ recipient, he is on a mission to showcase the folk art to the world.

Such were the differences in the nationalities, nature of work, and personalities of the speakers. But what made them stand as one single entity was their urge to bring across the ‘Devote’ message to the participants.

There was H. Ramakrishnan, a television journalist and former Chief Executive Officer of SS Music Television Channel with both his legs affected by polio, to motivate the youth for eradication of polio.

Brikesh Singh, Public Engagement Manager from Greenpeace India, was there to share his organisation’s efforts at inspiring, engaging and mobilising volunteers and activists across India to come forward and bear witness to the environmental crimes that it was fighting against. There were student speakers who shared their experiences on being socially conscious through their entrepreneurial activities while studying.

The event took off with sisters Lavanya and Subbalasmi playing the saxophone, and ended with a ‘Kaliyattam’ performance by Mr. Muthukumar. The Hindu was the media partner for the event.

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