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Takeaways/Quotes from TEDx-IIMB inaugural edition

Pic: courtesy ted.com

Last evening I attended TEDx-IIMB – the inaugural TEDx edition at IIM-Bangalore. I caught 2 out of the 3 sessions altogether. The diverse speaker list included sports celebrity Pankaj Advani, comedian Vipul Goyal, social activist and Team Anna’s Kiran Bedi, parallel social entrepreneur Dr. Trilochan Sastry, acclaimed bureaucrat Amitabh Pant, behavior architect Ram Prasad, and spiritualist Khurshid Batliwala. There were three other speakers in the first session (which I missed).

I’ve attempted to transcribe the quotes I found the most interesting. Kiran Bedi’s session (which also included a brief Q&A) and Amitabh Kant’s talk (which was completely extempore) warrant separate posts which I’ll (hopefully) tackle soon.

The day you stop showing (people) numbers at Ramlila Grounds, the government will pass only its own version of the Lok Pal bill. – Kiran Bedi (Team Anna)

Get ready to march in March. – Kiran Bedi (Team Anna)

If all the IIMs, IITs and law schools in the country had debated the two versions of the Lok Pal bill and converged to Jan Lok Pal as the better bill, do you think the Government would have been able to pass its own version? – Kiran Bedi (Team Anna)

We underestimate the speed of large objects by 40%. – Ram Prasad (explaining why so many Indians are daft enough to cross the railway tracks in full view of an oncoming train)

The design changes we made for Mumbai Railways (prominent yellow marker lines at regular intervals) reduced the fatality rate by 75%. – Ram Prasad

Twenty-first century is the century of city states. GDP of New York and Tokyo are equivalent to India. – Amitabh Kant

Cities account for 75% of the overall production and 2/3 of overall emissions. – Amitabh Kant

If cities in rest of the (emerging) economies were to emulate Western cities, we would need FOUR Earth-sized planets. – Amitabh Kant

58% of India’s workforce is engaged in agriculture yet it only represents 14% of its GDP. – Amitabh Kant

No country (in the modern era) has grown in a sustainable way on the back of agriculture. Growth in manufacturing the ONLY way to keep India’s growth at 9% and above. – Amitabh Kant

Modern India’s founding fathers and China’s peasant revolution represent common underpinnings for being reluctant ‘urbanizers’. But China changed all that starting 1975. – Amitabh Kant

Atlanta’s emissions are 7X that of similar-sized Spanish city Barcelona. 97% of Atlanta’s residents commute by car. In stark contrast, 66% of Barcelona residents use public transit and 18% cycle (or walk). – Amitabh Kant

‘Master Planning’ is key. Smart City models pushed by IBM, Cisco and the Korean telecom companies show the path forward. – Amitabh Kant

Last new cities built in India? Chandigarh and Gandhinagar (both state capitals). – Amitabh Kant

The Delhi-Mumbai industrial corridor aims to create 7 new cities, riding on the back of a high-speed rail network for cargo. – Amitabh Kant

The choice is rarely between right and wrong, it is between right and ‘convenient’. Most people succumb to convenient. – Khurshid Batliwala

The fundamental question to ask ourselves is this – “are we working for our own achievement or to make a contribution?” – Dr. Trilochan Sastry

What motivates the silent social activist to keep fighting (against injustice) It’s not recognition or glory but a desire to “contribute” towards a better India. So we may have Pankaj Advanis in many other spheres of life. – Dr. Trilochan Sastry

(Whatever work we do for the betterment of society) Can we do it silently without seeking any glory?…. If we do that, we can build a great nation and… also eliminate poverty. – Dr. Trilochan Sastry