The TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) Talks, a fast-paced three-day stage show that brought together an eclectic mix of speakers from across the world and from lesser-known pockets of India, drew to a close here on Saturday.
True to its USP, the final-day sessions presented some powerful and inspiring lectures, with a dynamic piece by playwright and feminist Eve Ensler on the need “to celebrate the girl inside us all”, the story of 16-year-old Babar Ali who runs a school in Murshidabad (West Bengal), and Thulasiraj Ravilla on eyecare in India.
Young Babar Ali expressed his passion for teaching and conviction in the power of knowledge and education. When asked about his own aspirations, the young headmaster said: “Aii: I want to study more, and learn more. I want to be a student forever.”
The last session comprised a performance by renowned percussionist Sivamani who, as always, displayed how he makes music out of everyday objects. There were talks by Union Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor and Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader Ogyen Trinley Dorje, the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa.
While the Karmapa implored the audience to “invest more in the technology and design of the heart,” Mr. Tharoor impressed with his articulate lecture on how factors such as mobile penetration and the worldwide appeal of Bollywood have changed the India story. “Years ago, we were perceived as a country of fakirs lying on a bed of nails. Today, we are scientists and engineers who can solve their problems,” he said.
The final act, however, was reserved for humour, and in true TED tradition, a group of comedians staged an act on the three intense days that went by at TED.
Thanking the participants, TED Curator Chris Anderson said: “The talks were every bit as inspiring and dynamic as we expected it to be. And the stories we heard here, and the people we met will without doubt leave an impact on us.”
The highlight of the conference for him, however, was the moment when eight Pakistani attendees stood up and the audience broke into applause. “I hope things will be better for both countries and there will continue to be more heartening and powerful stories from here,” he said.