The initial edition of Young Makers has been a power-packed conclave, featuring sports icons Mary Kom and Sakshi Malik, political leaders like Sachin Pilot, Nupur Sharma, and HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar, as well as entrepreneurs, thinkers, best-selling writers like Amish Tripathi and Anuja Chauhan, and best of all? An interactive and engaged audience.
Amish Tripathi kicked things off first thing in the morning with a fun session, discussing Indian myths, the Indian way, and making sure to incorporate loads of audience participation. Some quotable quotes?
“The Pythagoras Theorem was actually developed in India,” he said, while listing out some of the things the ancients had down pat, before adding, “No, we didn’t travel to Mars, as some people have been saying.”
“For most of human history we were among the most powerful nations — in ancient times, it was cool to be Indian. Just like it’s cool to be American now,” he said, also slipping in this gem, “We all know people who walk past the American Embassy and pick up an accent.”
He left the crowd with the thought that “If you want to be a rebel — and you should, that is the Indian way — you must know what is good,” imploring people to action, not just sloganeering.
I moderated a session with best-selling author Anuja Chauhan, who was superbly candid as always. When asked, she advised all writers to focus on the stories they feel most passionate about…not just what you think might sell. “If you write a good book, it will eventually spread by word of mouth,” she said, “Focus on writing, not marketing.”
Her work in advertising (from Pepsi’s campaign on Yeh Dil Maange More! to Mera Number Kab Aayega) were such a touchpoint for a generation, resonating with the 90’s generation. She also discussed what doesn’t work with young people – talking down to them, or trying too hard! Be authentic to yourself and read, she implores, especially those who want to be writers.
I asked Anuja to elaborate on this beautiful and touching piece she wrote recently, after losing her mother …where she says we should all look to the “older folk” in our families to tell us their stories — their lived history — it might just reveal a different India to us.
The sessions through the day were an amazing mix and very diverse indeed! From young makers like Ritu Beri, Puneet Dalmia, and editor Anant Goenka, to author Meghna Pant’s Tweet Lessons in Leadership from The Gita … The audience was interactive and participative throughout.
A session with Arvind Gupta was also revealing about facets of India — as he expanded on the saying, “Data is the new oil”.
He spoke of the “4 M’s of innovation: Mental shift, Money, Markets and Mindsets”. Money will come from the private sector, he said, and what the government is doing, is opening up markets and mindsets. He’s positive about what we need…saying, “The world today is sitting on the cusp of a new innovation cycle. India is at the centre of this.” But we have to do more — there are too few unicorns, he says…just 10-12 in the country, whereas we want 500, 1000…
Also fascinating was his reference to MyGOV as the “biggest participative governance model today”. They have been crowd-sourcing and crowd-rating logos, he said, with a nod to actor and entrepreneur Kunal Kapoor, the co-founder of Ketto, who was sitting in the front row, having already done his own session.
“It’s frugal innovation,” Arvind Gupta quipped, and involves a 50,000 rupee award to the person whose logo is crowdsourced and picked, instead of 50 lakh rupees to an ad agency!
The high point would have to be our sports heroes Mary Kom and Sakshi Malik, felicitated by minister Prakash Javadekar at Young Makers, before a hugely entertaining session moderated by Senior Editor, ESPNCricinfo.com. The Olympians had us in splits along the way, but did mention the hard truths — the challenges sportswomen have to overcome, and also the lack of good infrastructure, or where there’s good infra, the lack of good coaches. Cheered on and given a standing ovation, these kick-ass women showed us just what it means to #FightLikeAGirl. Oh and Sakshi Malik said Sonakshi Sinha has indeed offered to play her in any future movie!
Amrita Tripathi is editor at-large, SheThePeople.TV, and tweets @amritat