THiNK Live Blog Day 3

07:47 pm - Asked about the criticisms levelled at his agitation, he says that only fruit trees have stones thrown at them. Such is Nature’s law. The thing to do is carry on regardless.

07:45 pm - Talking about FDI, Anna evokes Gandhi, saying that to develop the nation, first the villages have to be developed. Selling the country to foreigners does not help, he says.

07:43 pm - Everything is being privatised, says Anna, and the nation is being sold to foreigners. Corruption is not the only issue, and all issues need to be contested.

07:42 pm - Anna says he will support only those candidates of Kejriwal’s party who are clean, not all of them. He says that Retd Gen VK Singh has joined him and they will tour the country together to fight corruption.

07:39 pm - There is nothing wrong with joining politics, but I want to clean it from the outside before entering it, says Anna.

07:38 pm - Crores of people will have joined this movement by 2014, says Anna. He wants to build grassroots organisation, to block the government’s nose until it is forced to open its mouth.

07:36 pm - Arvind Kejriwal and he have taken different routes, he says, but their destination is the same. Kejriwal wants to change the system from the inside, while he wants to fight from the outside. Both roads are equally important, he says.

07:31 pm - The government will have to bring the Jan Lokpal Bill before 2014, or they will have to go, says Anna. He says he’s been fighting for the nation since the age of 26, when he joined the army and braved Pakistani bullets. He says he took the wickets of six corrupt Maharashtra ministers and hundreds of officials before he moved his fight to Delhi.

07:28 pm - It is time, now, for Anna Hazare. Tehelka Hindi Editor says the power of Anna is that people will stay to watch him even after Shah Rukh Khan. Anna says he has recovered from his illness and says he is ready to fight for the nation again.

In the Green Room: Shah Rukh Khan. The Solitude of a Superstar: The Public-Private Journey of a Dream Catcher.

07:25 pm - “I live reality in its crudest form,” he says, “but it tastes bloody good.” The only way I keep myself sane, he says, is by clinging to the one person I love most: myself.

07:20 pm - “There is something wrong with me. i sense it, I feel it, but I don’t know what it is,” says Khan, talking about the gulf between his public and private lives. He says all he wants to carry on doing what he does. “The only reason I do this is because a mother somewhere with a strange child is watching my films,” he says. But there is something wrong somewhere, he says. But what he has decided to do whatever the people want from him and not care. “I don’t want to be a successful failure like my father; I just want to be bloody successful,” he says.

07:11 pm - Khan is reading the last chapter of his book, a grand summing up of his life and his many achievements (“Madhuri Dixit has danced in front of me for nine nights.”).

07:05 pm - Khan says that despite being a Muslim, he has often acted in Ramlilas and studied in a Catholic school. “I am very secular,” he says. “My wife is a Hindu and neither of us tries to impose our religion on each other.” He says that what he does want to get across is that Islam is a peaceful religion. He’s tried to teach that to his kids, and the fact that they can joke about Islam now means that they are on the right track.

06:58 pm - “I am a Delhi boy,” he says, and therefore a goonda. That is why he used to pick a lot of fights on moving to Mumbai, he adds. He’s matured, he says, but the Delhi boy in him comes out at times. Case in point: Stadium, Wankhede.

06:52 pm - Khan is now reading from his upcoming memoir, talking about travelling to Pakistan with his father and the pains of Partition. His father often told him that everything was better in Pakistan, he says, adding that his failures in India probably compounded that. Coming back from Pakistan, he says, made him realise that his father had died inside, and that is a major reason he never goes to Pakistan.

06:47 pm - Here’s Tehelka’s cover story on Khan, a candid interview with him where he opened up about his private life.

06:45 pm - His father’s death was extremely hard on his sister, he says, as she went into shock for two years. She couldn’t handle the loss of her parents, he says, but he developed a sense of detachment, sense of humour and flamboyance to hide his true feelings. “To avoid depression, I act,” he says.

06:39 pm - He says his father’s failure as a lawyer instilled a fear of failure in him and a need to make sure his children live better than he did. “I am a survivor,” he says, adding that he is a capitalist at heart.

06:37 pm - Khan is working on his memoirs, and this session is going to be the story of his incredible journey. He talks about his roots in lower middle class roots and his father, who never let him feel poor. His mother, on the other hand, was pragmatic, he says.

06:31 pm - The final stretch of THiNK 2012 has been really enthralling, with the fierce debate on faith followed by the unique stories of people who are subverting the entire idea of journalism. The last two sessions feature two men who are, in their own ways, phenomenons: Shahrukh Khan and Anna Hazare.

Tipping Point: Stalin, Amita Tute, and Shubranshu Choudhary. Deepening Democracy Through Technology

06:30 pm – Choudhary says: “We don’t need world bank fundings to develop units of communication in villages. Facebook for poor people.”

06:24 pm - Stalin says that they can get ground reports at a tenth of the cost of mainstream media. As the media starts retrenching, he says, community media can fill that space. On Maoism, he says that if this discussion was held not at the Grand Hyatt in Goa but in Ranchi, the police would have moved in and branded them Naxals. “We are not only inverting the pyramid of communication,” he says, “we are subverting the entire narrative.”

06:14 pm - If we sit in a circle and the media is in the centre, we have democratic journalism, says Choudhary. But when a small number of people own the medium, he says, it becomes problematic. Only when those who own the medium decide one’s problems are worth reporting is it reported. He says that CGNet operates through a simple IVR system that allows anyone to report news, which is then verified and disseminated.

06:10 pm - Shubhranshu Choudhary was a BBC correspondent. He calls himself a ‘vulture journalist’, as he went from one conflict to another. However, when conflict reached his home state of Chhattisgarh, he left the Beeb and set up CGNet, a community news source to get the real human stories out of the state. Here’s a Tehelka profile on him.

06:03 pm – Stalin talks about the impact video volunteers has had. To know about his work, watch this riveting documentary, India Untouched.

05:59 pm – Here is one of the videos that Amita Tute filmed in Jharkand, dealing with the economic injustices against Anganwadis. She is now talking about what it meant to her to be a Video Volunteer and be able to inform people through the local populations.

05:57 pm – Stalin, activist documentary filmmaker and founder of Video Volunteers, Amita Tute, an activist filmmaker and video volunteer from Jharkand, and Shubranshu Choudhary, founder of CGNetSwara and journalist.

Faith, Reason and Inner Understanding: Jaggi Vasudev &  Javed Akhtar. Five Star Fixes? Ancient Technologies for the Modern Mind.

05:42 pm - Wow, sudden agreement between the two! Shoma asks Vasudev about the cult of personality around him, asking him why his devotees take not only his techniques, but also his pictures that adorn their walls. You don’t have a problem if people put up pictures of rockstars or filmstars or even the Kingfisher calender girls, Vasudev replies, but a problem if they put up pictures of. Akhtar agrees, but still gets a knife thrust in. “If a guru is good at his profession, why should his pictures not be put up?” he asks.

05:33 pm - “The first thing a spiritualist will try to do,” says Akhtar, “is shake your faith in the five senses. Only then can he control you.” He says that to find out the truth, we should disconnect someone from their brain and see how they can expand their horizons. Even the sixth sense, says Akhtar, is a part of the mind. Vasudev is taking the high ground, saying that an argument between two diametrically opposite viewpoints is endless.

05:31 pm - Your mind works on data gathered by the five senses, says Vasudev when asked about his methods. But these senses are not reliable, he adds. “If you are seeking survival, these senses are enough. But if you want something beyond survival, you need to expand your perceptions.”

05:29 pm - Akhtar is not taking any prisoners. Asked about extreme rationalists like communists, he says that they are not rationalists. Their faith is communism.

05:28 pm - Shoma asks Akhtar about Ramanujam, whose mathematics were so intuitive, he believed the goddess implanted it in him. “He was human,” Akhtar says, “and he is allowed to be wrong sometimes.” He is OWNING this. “Faith is a blind power,” he says. “It paralyses your mind. You are able to do something very good or something very bad. But they have no control over their mind.”

05:25 pm - Vasudev says that there is a difference between belief and reality. One can be made to believe anything, and that is faith. And now the gloves are off. Akhtar wants to rebut, and Vasudev gets in this zinger: “The last time I met Javed, he told me that a sadhu told him not to use his mind. Clearly, he has taken that advice.” Ouch.

05:21 pm - Javed Akhtar, a committed rationalist, lays out the difference between belief and faith. Belief, he says, is something that is believed, if not necessarily known, but has a basis in logic. Faith, he says, has no basis in logic, and is not very different from stupidity. Great applause.

05:15 pm - Your body is an accumulation, says Vasudev, and that accumulation is yours. But it is not you. “Everybody should know this,” he says, “or you will learn it from the maggots.”

05:11 pm - Vasudev has said in the past that with Indian spirituality, there is more techniques than teaching. When asked why he charges so much for his courses, he says that 70 percent of his work in rural India and he is robbing the rich to facilitate that work, which is free.

05:07 pm - And now, one of the most unorthodox speakers at THiNK2012. Jaggi Vasudev is a mystic who loves speed. He drives SUVs and plays golf, and is as friendly with technology as he is with spirituality. This profile in Tehelka describes him best. He is in conversation with Javed Akhtar and Shoma Chaudhury.

04:51 pm – While the audience is enjoying the music, we give you one more backstage sneak peek. Here, our own Soumik – of the video team – interviews Ausama Monajed for our video series “THiNK in 60″. Check it out on our website when it’s published.

Soumik interviewing Ausama Monajed


04:38 pm - And now, another musical interlude with violinist Sunita Bhuyan.

Future Shapes: Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan, Sonal Kapoor and Shazeb Shaikh. The Youth Matrix: Changing the World in Small Steps.

04:36 pm - Shazeb Shaikh runs the Wall Project, going around Mumbai painting dull walls with murals. There are no overarching themes, only politics and religion are taboo.

04:32 pm - This session puts a spotlight on some young entrepreneurs. Sonal Kapoor runs Protsahan, an NGO that takes young girls off the streets and educates them. Meenakshi Reddy Madhavan runs a blog called Compulsive Confessions, where she obsessively writes every aspect of her life.

The Dissident Files: Ausama Monajed. Why You Should Care About Syria.

04:20 pm - The city of Homs has been at the centre of the Syrian conflict, and the government has prevented any news from coming out. A few journalists went in nevertheless. Here’s the final dispatch from Homs by Marie Colvin, a Sunday Times journalist who died in the violence. Also, this report by French Channel 4 shows the full horror of the violence.

04:14 pm - Russia continues to arm the Syrian government, he says. He denies claims, however, that the West is arming the rebels. “70 percent of our arms come from within Syria,” he says, adding that they come mostly from corrupt or defecting soldiers.

04:13 pm - Monajed does not believe the war is a civil war, but a revolution against tyranny. He promises parliamentary democracy once the regime is toppled, and says they are trying to control the hundreds of militias in operation. He says, however, that transition will not be easy. “You can’t expect us to go from Syria to Switzerland overnight,” he says.

04:09 pm - Asked whether he is disappointed with India’s inaction on Syria, he says that he understands India’s compulsions due to our import of oil. He says that the rebels have the same position of defending India’s stance on Kashmir as the government.

04:07 pm - Monajed, who is a member of the opposition Syrian National Conference, is asked about the atrocities by rebel forces. There is no comparison between the actions of a trained army of 300,000 soldiers killing its own innocent civilians and those of a disorganised rebel force, he says. He clarifies, however, that the Council condemns atrocities from both sides.

04:03 pm - “45,000 people (out of a population of 21 million) have been killed in the last 18 months,” says Monajed, talking about Syria’s woes. He says that the Syrian government has failed to provide essential services.

04:00 pm – Shoma Chaudhury reminds us that Masha Gessen was supposed to come, but India refused her a visa. Now, we have Syrian dissident Ausama Monajed, a man who has been resisting the regime in Syria for years, in conversation with NDTV’s Vishnu Som.

Profit and Prejudice: Sunil Munjal, KD Singh, Ronnie Screwvala. Dreams of Singapore in Vidarbha – Is India on The Right Business Track?

03:59 pm – “Industry is not an island, it’s all of us, it’s part of society, like politics”, says Munjal. And this talk is over.

03:56 pm – KD Singh comes back to his fear of FDI in retail to explain why the Trinamool Congress is the party of the aam admi. Everybody is defending his chapel right now, and Sunil Munjal doesn’t agree with KD Singh.

03:53 pm – Ronnie Screwvala: “Government should stay out of business, so in the rural development of entrepreneurship, we don’t need politics. It just needs strong decisions from people on the top” “The word entrepreneurship is one that defines India.”

03:49 pm – Sunil Munjal now disagress with KD Singh, because he believes that product and services in rural areas should not be “for” rural aeras, but rather the same, or better products than in the rest of the world. He also explains that this could fire up Indian exports.

03:44 pm – Sunil Munjal then offers a utopian view of Indian future. But we ask: instead of bringing people in 2% of the land (cities), why don’t we bring amenities to rural India?

03:40 pm – Sunil Munjal from HeroMotorCorp says that one should THiNK, but also “imagine”. He tries to imagine what would a THiNK fest look like in 2062. “Would Tarun Tejpal still be there?” he asks. He goes on explaining that rural population will move in cities in the future, and cities infrastructure must rise to the occasion.

03:37 pm – KD Singh goes down on memory lane and explains how he went from being a young common boy to being successful in business, and then he went in politics because he was hurt by the nature of Indian politics. He is now telling a story of poverty in rural tribal lands.

03:34 pm – KD Singh: “We are thinking about the aam admi, the common man, when we promote our policies.”

03:31 pm – KD Singh, Trinamool Congress MP, explains how his party is not against business or reforms, he just wants to control which sectors from abroad can come invest in India, regarding the controversy on FDI in India.

03:28 pm - Ronnie Screwvala says there are tremendous opportunities in rural India, and proposes that it be mandatory for all Indian youngsters to spend 6 months in rural India.

03:26 pm – Our guests from the business world bring us a perspective on entrepreneurship and rural entrepreneurship in India.

Maps of Time: Ganesan Srinivasan The Cosmic Fortune-Teller: What a Faster Moving Earth Will Do To Mankind

03:09 pm - Srinivasan breaks the suspense: scientists have concluded that the Universe will expand forever. Phew.

03:06 pm - Now that we’ve established that the Big Bang happened, what happens at the end? Einstein says that it could either expand forever, or the whole thing could contract into another small point: The Big Crunch.

02:57 pm - Srinivasan is giving a history of the theories of the Universe by Einstein, Hubble, et al, and how the Big Bang hypothesis coming about. In a nutshell, we know that the Universe is expanding, so it must have once been a single point.

02:52 pm - Author of a book called Can Stars Find Peace?, he has been at the heart of physics and astrophysics throughout his life: after a PhD at the University of Chicago, Srinivasan was a researcher and a professor in laboratories and universities in Zurich, Gothenburg, Cambridge and Bangalore. He even studied with Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1930.

02:52 pm – As we wait for the next talk, with Ganesan Srinivasan, here is another sneak-peek into the backstage of the THiNK2012 organisation. Anamika and Debashree take care of the Help Desk and greet guests to THiNK2012.

Help Desk


The Healing Voice: Ratan Thiyam. What Art Can Do In A Time Of War

02:48 pm – Ratan Thiyam discusses now the flaws of the Indian redistribution system for artists.

02:45 pm – Has your theatre of protest made a difference in Manipuri society? “I could see things changing, but I have to adopt many type of plays for the right situation.”

02:39 pm – “Manipuri martial arts are about the spiritual depth, the spiritual control.” Thiyam decided to introduce Manipuri martial arts to the actor’s training.

02:35 pm – Thiyam tells tradition is very modern and present to him, and he merges classical sanskrit theatre with modern forms.

02:30 pm – “Manipur is the kind of place where it takes 65 years to construct a road.” Ratan Thiyam, one of the most influential figures of theatre in the world today, talks to Tarun Tejpal about the difficulties to develop art in times of war.

01:22 pm – And now speakers and THiNKers go for lunch, after a great morning. They’ll be back soon.

The Development Knot: Jonathan Fenby. What Change in China Means for the World

01:20 pm – Fenby explains for the closing comments that the economic growth is a way for the communist system to survive in China. What an insightful talk, we really don’t know enough about China.

01:17 pm – The talk comes to China’s foreign investment. “They are blind in Africa, they just go there for natural resources, and next they’ll be going to South America.”

01:14 pm – Fenby now evokes the “trust deficit” in China. “China is today neither about communism or Confucianism, it’s about materialism.” “A saying expressed by a lot of young women in China is: ‘I’d rather cry in the back of a BMW than laugh in the back of a bicycle.’” Money is now everything in China.

01:12 pm – China cannot become this global superpower because it doesn’t want to, for Fenby. “Also because we actually know nothing about China, it doesn’t have that much “soft power” like the US.”

01:09 pm – Arvind Subramanian said two days ago that America in the near future would be subservient to China. That argument, in Fenby’s opinion, overstates China’s power. China is caught by the “dollar trap”, beacuse she owns $3.3 trillion of American state reserves but cannot sell them or hint to sell them, because it will lose so much value and they would be left with nothing. Fenby: “If you owe 100 rs. to the bank, you have a problem, if you owe 1,000,000 rs. to the bank, they have a problem.”

01:06 pm – “The middle class in China is a status quo supporter group, because it’s comfortable.” What Fenby is saying is that, unlike what history has shown, the economic development of middle-class China will not bring more democracy. He makes the case that social media is however changing everything, because officials are being targeted by the web, for their privileges and corruption.

01:03 pm – “There are 12,000 environmental bureaus in China, the rules are there…but the implementation is bad, because the rules are implemented by local governments – for whom it would be too expensive to change their practices”

01:00 pm – To be informed on the change of leader at the top of the Communist Party of China and its relationship to the USA, read this article by Jonathan Fenby in the Guardian.

12:58 pm – Fenby is now explaining the nature of the unrest in China. The causes: local corruption, requisition of farmland by local authorities, rise in prices. Watch this interview of Jonathan Fenby for the BBC.

12:55 pm – “China hs one Achille’s heel: farming. Their farming is very backward because the lands are owned by the state and do not allow development. The paradox of the Chinese model is that its mystique comes from farmers but the PRC story shows that the farmers have always been put down to favour urban workers.”

12:53 pm – Fenby claims that there is no Chinese exceptionalism. He admits although that China had a capacity to mobilize resources for growth in an impressive way. There is also a great misallocation of capital in the Chinese economic model. “China will mostle develop its service industry in the future”, says Fenby.

12:51 pm – However, Fenby explains that China knows that this model of growth cannot last because external consumption has plummeted. So there are bumping up wages, but the politics of the regime are changing slowly, as opposed to a society on a very fast highway. Judges, for instance, swear an oath to the party, so the judiciary sytem supports the regime.

12:49 pm – “Everything about China is enormous, they have lifted millions of people out of poverty. But this enormous achievement was fueled by a growth that involved very cheap labour, a very cheap manufacturing sectors for a low interior demand and a high exportation.”

12:47 pmJonathan Fenby will talk to Shoma Chaudhury about how China’s “dragon head” is showing in the world’s geopolitical and economic battlefields.

The Personal is Political: Bob Geldof. A One-Man Army War on Poverty

12:44 pm – Bob Geldof leaves followed by a standing ovation!

12:42 pm – Paula Yates, his ex-wife and mother of his three daughters, died of overdose in 2000. After her death, Geldof also adopted her daughter she had had with Michael Hutchence, the INXS member who had also committed suicide.

12:39 pm – Bob Geldof very candidly shares his experience of depression, and how he came out of it by fighting for the rights of fathers to raise their children, instead of giving all the rights to the mother.

12:36 pm – Bob Geldof ends the talk by sharing his personal experience, raising his daughters on his own after their mother’s death. He also shares how hard it was to not be able to see his daughters after his divorce, how it infuriated him.

12:30 pm – Geopolitical analyses by Bob Geldof: “We are in a G0 world, no G7 or G20 will solve problems. For the first time, we need Africa in the future. Ending the debt, developing aid, Chinese and Indian investments – this will help African countries come out of poverty.”

12:25 pm – Geldof insists on the power of the lobby he wanted to develop against poverty. 1 billion people watched LiveAid, they raised 150 million pounds. This talk is riveting the audience. Geldof’s wit and determination are fascinating people on Twitter.


12:22 pm – “It’s ridiculous that poverty should exist!”

12:19 pm – Geldof follows the thread of history, offering us an impression of Michael Jackson, who participated in “We Are The World”, after the success of “Do They Know It’s Christmas”.


12:17 pm – “To do nothing makes you complicit of the tragedy going on. So I wrote tunes, I tried to involve my friends from ten years in rock’n roll. We recorded a Christmas song.” Watch the historical hit that raised 8 million pounds.


12:14 pm – While he was already a successful rockstar, Bob Geldof watched a BBC documentary about poverty in Africa. And it shocked him dramatically. He thought: “I can do something about this. What charity actually is a person seeing the misery of another human being and says ‘let me give you a hand dude’. If lose this, something in humanity dies. If millions of people do it, it becomes a political force, and politicians will want to stop you because they are afraid.”

12:08 pm – “The individual is not powerless in front of injustice, I thought I could do something.”

12:05 pm – Tarun Tejpal brings up poverty in Africa, one of his life mission. “Poverty is not heroic, it’s not poetic, it’s not romantic”, says Bob Geldof. He also explains how rock’n roll offered him a language to change – from the boycott of South Africa because of the apartheid to Live8.

12:01 pm – Bob Geldof starts talking about his concern for nuclear energy, who could help, if treated safely, manage the energy challenge. He is now also expressing his anti-Euro position, as in his opinion it doesn’t make economic sense.

11:58 am – After performing last night, Bob Geldof discusses with Tarun Tejpal his political and humanitarian activism. “I don’t like to shut up, I like to keep speaking.” For those of you who wouldn’t be familiar with the man, here he is performing with his band (The Boomtown Rats) at LiveAid, the mega-concert he organised to collect funds for Africa in 1985.


Voters Grill: Vasundhara Raje. Time To Reinvent Politics in India?

11:55 am – The talk ends. If you’re interested in the details and workings of Rajasthani politics, read this article on the relations between Vasundhara Raje and the BJP.

11:52 am – The discussion veers to family. Raje says she tried her best to keep her son out of politics because of the unhealthy atmosphere that reigns, but “there are some genes”, she says, that have led her son to politics. Ian Lipkin will probably not confirm Raje’s bio-genetics.

11:49 am – Raje expresses her belief in “caring and love”: “That’s why I’ve basically never lost an election.” She expresses the need to get rid of corruption.

11:45 am – Talking about how she brought stem cells research in Rajasthan, Raje praises THiNK speakers David Christian and Ian Lipkin for bringing a open vision to problem – unlike what she defines the narrow vision of political life in India.

11:42 am – Raje takes the example of electricity cuts and electrical problems in Rajasthan to express how elected officials and people are a “loving family”, and have to work together to reach their goals. “Why don’t we act like this all the time? We don’t do it because we don’t have the will to do it.”

11:39 am – “I admire Mamata Banerjee immensely, her approach is completely different from mine. All of us in the country are facing the same challenges. We have to be able to bring all the challenges on board, and deal with them in the best way.”

11:36 am – “We know how we can fight, and we know how we’ll continue doing it. It was sexism all across the spectrum, across political parties.” – Raje.

11:32 am – Raje says the story starts with the difficulties of the gendered Indian society, as she was the first woman CM of Rajasthan.

11:27 am - Vasundhara Raje, former Chief Minister of Rajasthan, will ask herself if politics need to be reinventend.

11:08 am – Now for our first Universal Keys of the day, the musical performance. Sunita Bhuyan, violinist, expresses our string connections. Beautiful. We cannot convey the emotion of music, but here is a photo of the performance.

Universal Keys: Stringed Connections


Money and Morals: Shashi Ruia. How Money Must Carry Itself in a Poor Country.

11:06 am – Tarun Tejpal’s asks if there is a difference between Western and Indian way to do business. Ruia admits the family ties are more helpful in India. And ends the talk by saying that his favourite book is Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand.

11:01 am - A very witty Shashi Ruia takes a shot at India’s flaws, in all sectors of society. He hopes his experience can inspire the country to work better together.

10:52 am – Shashi Ruia now discusses growth and development in India, as compared to “rich countries”. He however shows a slide of US’s $56 trillion debt, explaining how finance, equity and liquidities work – inflation and deflation playing with the financial values of properties of all kinds.

10:48 am – #THiNK2012 has been trending online, and getting a lot of love from guests as well as Tweeters.


10:45 am – Shashi Ruia takes the stage with Tarun Tejpal. He is one of the “most confidential billionaires in India”, says Tejpal. He is the Chairman of Essar, a multinational conglomerate including steel, energy, shipping. “We have built almost all the ports in India”, sasy Ruia.

Growth Wars: Nicolas Véron and James Crabtree. Why Is The Great European Experiment Coming Apart?

10:41 am – Crabtree: “Why should Germany pay for the f*cking Spanish when the Catalan won’t pay for them?”, he says, quoting one of his colleagues. However, he does not point out what people are suppose to pay and why they are asked to pay, who is asked to pay. He makes the point that transnationalism is more complicated than any other geopolitical structure. The talk ends on Véron and Crabtree’s belief that next year the Euro will still be there – as a unique currency or as a common currency?

10:38 am – Nicolas Véron is finding a similitude between India and Europe. He says India is a model of a sub-continent living together. This is clearly a call for federalism in Europe, a question which is very controversial in the European continent.

10:35 am – “Indian economy is also driven but what the Fed and the ECB. But Europe is the symbol of the rise of a “post-modern” world order, neither pre-modern (third world countries, failed States) nor modern (nation-states). Countries interfere with each other.” – Crabtree

10:33 am – Nicolas Véron claims domination is not good talking about Germany. “Leadership should not be about dominance.” He admits there is a deep reluctance to look at interdependencies, especially for Germany. Germany has a history of hyperinflation and economic struggle, that is why their budgetary discipline is at the core of their politics.

10:29 am – Nicolas Véron doesn’t think the Germans will pay the “quick fix” for Greece or other Southern Europe countries. “To resolve this crisis, we have to change they way we make policies in the Eurozone.”

10:25 am – Crabtree: “At least you Indians can blame corruption, our economy isn’t corrupt but it’s a mess!” – “Germany must pay for the debts of the other countries, but they need to work out the modalities”. Watch this Greek documentary on the issue of debt, and how austerity policies have brought the countries of Southern Europe in a situation of social crisis.


10:23 am – “The Eurozone will survive, but we’re at a time of political uncertainty.” – Véron. Read this assessment of the current Eurozone crisis.

10:21 am – Nicolas Véron, economist and senior fellow at the Brussels-based Bruegel Institute, will be discussing the downfall of the Eurozone with James Crabtree, correspondent for the Finacial Times.

We, The People: Rajeev Chandrasekhar and Jayaprakash Narayan. Are We On The Right Track to Fighting Corruption?

10:18 am – Chandrasekhar comes to his solutions: parliamentary reform, institution building (CAG for instance) – and media, protecting information from corporate takeover. This insightful talks ends.

10:16 am – Rajeev Chandrasekhar explains there is an inherent conflict of interest for politicians to decide how they can reform institutions. He says there should be more checks and balances between the citizen and the elected official, because this unaccountability is plaguing India.

10:13 am – Rajeev Chandrasekhar: “The political class in India believe they have a God-given power for 5 years without checks and balances. So I don’t fully agree with JP Narayan – there is an allergy to reform by politicians.” He adds: “People who are going to lose power will fight these reforms to the nails”. Finally, he adresses the idea that the discussion should also include governance reform, not only corruption – even though it fires up crowds.

10:08 am – JP Narayan gives the example of how money in politics is destroying the democracy. In Andhra Pradesh, he says, a person who wants to be elected to the Lok Sabha has to spend at least Rs.5 crores. “It’s is crazy, it is a scandal, one cannot think there isn’t any corruption in these conditions.” – “Honesty and survival in politics are incompatible”

10:05 amRead this opinion piece by JP Narayan on how the government is promoting populist policies. You can also watch this video of JP Narayan, Lok Sabha MP, talking at a conference on institutions and parliamentary affairs.


10:00 am - Shoma Chaudhury asks JP Narayan about the solution to corruption proposed by the India Against Corruption movement in 2011, the Jan Lokpal. Read this dossier on perspectives for the Jan Lokpal Bill. JP Narayan proposes solutions, through reforms rather than simple punishment, to better the situation of corruption. He is pushing forward the idea that breaking up monopolies and creating economic competition will effectively fight corruption.

09:56 am – Chandrasekhar: “Where does the chicken and egg question start for corruption? It’s not important, there is a real problem with how business and politics are practiced, which should be transparent and regulated.”

09:53 am – Rajeev Chandrasekhar explains how, now, corruption is no longer a simple crime with a victim and a perpetrator. It’s much more complicated now, as it involves various spheres at different levels.

09:50 am – Shoma Chaudhury introduces the topic of corruption, a phenomenon constantly adressed by Tehelka. Our two speakers represent the world of business (Chandrasekhar, now independent MP in the Rajya Sabha) and of politics, which JP Narayan practices from the IAS to grassroots initiatives, founding the movement Lok Satta.

Modern Druids: Ian Lipkin on Why We Need A Virus Hunter

09:47 am – Ian Lipkin closes by calling the Kapoors to do like the actors of Contagion to raise awareness. And says he is available for any project to improve bio-surveillance in the subcontinent.

09:43 am – “Nobody wanted to read about my report on bio-surveillance, no politician, no media. So I was approached by a screenwriter – of Contagion – to produce a film where this issue was looked at accurately”. Lipkin now shows a scene of Contagion.

09:40 am – Modifying microflora, thus digestion, is one of the methods that is going to develop in the next years.

09:35 am – Lipkin is exposing a case work he did on the field in Saudi Arabia. They were looking for bats, found some in the city of Bisha, although the locals told them there weren’t any bats. They sent their results back to the US to be analyzed an sequenced the virus. Lipkin notes that one of his analyst in India, who would love to come back work here if there were decent labs.

09:32 am - Viruses also have economic effects, as they can plummet country’s stockmarkets.

09:30 am – The Indian investment in maths and engineering can help India fight against epidemics, says Lipkin. He explains how the work of epidemiologist helps make decisions and rapidly take action before a virus spreads.

09:26 am – Lipkin is showing graphs and maps of the spread of viruses. Not only is there “a link between poverty and infectious diseases”, but Lipkin says the best argument for vegetarianism is the transport of beef, pork and poultry, which carry viruses.

09:23 am – He now moves to SARS, which he analyzed when it broke in China. He is making the point that the virus travelled very fast and very far. Creepy.

09:20 am - Ian Lipkin starts talking about the spread of encephalitis in North America. Read this great report on encephalitis in India.

09:17 am – Lipkin praises THiNK2012 and dedicates this talk to Tarun Sehrawat, whose passing away proves the progress we need in the medical field, he says.

09:15 am – Ian Lipkin, world famous physician and epidemiologist, is a virus hunter. He identifies small microbes and immense viruses, and tries to find effective cures to fight them. One of his last feats was being the special consultant for the film Contagion, which has been praised for its scientific accuracy. Those who have seen it know how realistically scary the last scene is – when we find out how the deadly virus came to be.


Good morning! Today is the last day of conferences and performances, brain pickings and emotions. Ian Lipkin and viruses, the Eurozone crisis, Bob Geldof’s one-man war on poverty, Ausama Monajed and the Syrian Revolution, Anna Hazare, Shah Rukh Khan…and many other suprises.

Vasudev is taking the high ground, saying that an argument between two diametrically opposite viewpoints is endless.

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