Young Thinkers Meet is a flagship India Foundation event. It is a two day conclave of young intellectuals who brainstorm over various issues of national significance. The 6th Young Thinkers Meet (YTM) was organised by India Foundation on 30-31 July 2017 in Vadodara, Gujarat. The meet, themed ‘India 2047’, was well attended by dignitaries and over 70 young intellectuals from diverse educational and cultural backgrounds. Varied themes were covered during the course of the meet.
Shri Swapan Dasgupta, Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha) and Shri Ram Madhav, National General Secretary, BJP and Director, India Foundation, welcomed the participants in the inaugural session. Shri Ram Madhav explained the purpose of the meet. He said purpose of YTM is to define an innovative, developed India, an India we perceive in 2047 and roadmaps for building that India. Shri Swapan Dasgupta remarked that in India, we used to worship knowledge. In the west, they worshipped power. But knowledge combined with power becomes an undefeatable force. We have to break out for a ‘New India’ and continue the process of unlearning and relearning.
Inaugural session was followed by a session on ‘Financial Empowerment and Economy in Transformed India’. Shri Shaurya Doval, Director, India Foundation & Shri Saket Misra, CEO, Venus Asset Finance led this session. Issues related to the trend of rising population, financial inclusion, financial independence, job opportunities, questioning and re-defining ‘work’ etc. were discussed in this session. The speakers mentioned that the key to progress are the three Ds - Demography, Digitisation and Dynamism. Speakers mentioned that there is a need for creating a cooperation economy through ‘sarvodaya’ and ‘antyodaya’.
Shri Shakti Sinha, Director, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library led the session on ‘Public Institutions in Transformed India’. He described the state and nature of Public Institutions in India and stressed the need for critical thinking in Public Institutions. He talked of decentralisation and strengthening local governance. This was followed by a session on ‘Transforming Democracy in India’, led by Shri Ram Madhav. He said that the best way to ensure transparency is to disincentivise electoral politics.
Other sessions during the meet were on ‘Role of RSS and other social movements in Transformed India’ and ‘Education and Dharma in Transformed India’. These were led by Swamini Vimalananda, Acharya, Chinmaya Mission and Shri CR Mukunda, Sah-Baudhik Pramukh, RSS. Shri CR Mukunda threw light on the role and objectives of RSS in transformed India and the challenges it faces. He shared some of the RSS objectives and initiatives like Samaj Parivarthan (transformation of society), Vyavasta Parivarthan (transformation of system), Sajjan Shakthi Jagaran (awakening of the good) etc. Swamini Vimalananda began her session by stressing on the need to question. She said to transform we have to break out of the American’s old lifestyle that we are today living. We need to come out with our own Unique Selling Point (USP). She described learning by way of tuition and intuition. Swamini said Indian way has respected both the ways equally and laid stress on value education.
The Young Thinkers Meet saw two new initiatives this year - one panel discussion and the other Mock Parliament. The discussion on ‘Media in Transformed India’ saw participation of Prafulla Ketkar, Editor, Organiser; Kushan Mitra, Managing Editor, The Pioneer; Prashant Jha, Associate Editor, Hindustan Times; Rumu Banerjee, Assistant Editor at Bennett Coleman and Co. Ltd. and Smriti Kak, Journalist, Hindustan Times and the Mock Parliament saw participants discussing issue of ‘Beef Ban’ and ‘Demone-tisation’.
Participants at the Young Thinkers Meet made presentations around the theme ‘India 2047’, shared their initiatives, participated in the ‘India Quiz’ and discussed interesting books.
The valedictory session was presided over by Shri Ram Madhav and Shri CR Mukunda. Shri CR Mukunda said that transformation is not possible without thinking of the last (wo)man standing. He encouraged participants to work at the grassroots. Shri Ram Madhav, asked participants to be confident in one’s thought. He reminded all delegates that it was important to co-opt rather than confront those who might disagree with us. He urged delegates to be ‘respectful’, be ‘magnificent’ but at the same time have the ‘killer instinct’ and win the argument.
(This report is carried in the print edition of September-October 2017 issue of India Foundation Journal.)