After having put forth a congregation of speakers in TEDxIITKgp in 2011, this year the Technology Transfer Group returned with another version of TEDxIITKharagpur, bigger and better.

Organised with the theme as “The Unturned Pages”, the event was held on the 19th of January, where the turnout was remarkable despite it being a Saturday afternoon. The event began with an introduction by Prof. P. P. Chakraborti, Dean, SRIC and Prof. Amit Patra, Dean, Alumni Affairs followed by the lucrative speaker, Mr. Satyajit Bhatkal, director of the eye-turning show Satyamev Jayate.

He and his crew had undergone a journey that inspired them, yielding to them, times of great suffering, sorrow and shocking realities as well as to the undying spirit of a few Indians. Using the independent TED platform of “ideas worth sharing’, he shared his views about what he had learnt from the experience of making the show, quite adrift from the mainstream television.

Following him was Mr. Shubhranshu Choudhary, a Knight International Journalism Fellow and former BBC South Asia producer, who merged technology with journalism such that the spreading of news is not subjected to a hierarchy or power, leaving it for the listener to decide its relevance, by creating a free voice portal CGNet Swara, using which vernacular communication for solving of internal problems including economic exploitation and Maoist insurgency was simplified to a great extent. Next came the educational revolutionary, Prof. Sugata Mitra, currently working in Newcastle University, UK, who conducted the ‘Hole In the Wall’ experiment and concluded that a group of children, if exposed to the internet can teach themselves almost anything. This, he stated, was the future of learning.

Question existing notions and see if you can change them. The ones who did earlier, were no smarter than you

The post-break session was quite interesting and intriguing. It began with the talk of Mr. Aniruddha Sharma, an alumnus who is the CEO and Co-founder of Carbon Clean Solutions, an upcoming firm that helps in reducing the exhaust emissions from various industries and enabling them to sell captured carbon for making marketable chemicals. His company has received a 3.5 million pound grant from British government to enable him to successfully commercialize his plans.

The penultimate speaker was Mr. Kailash Satyarthi, a Child rights activist who left a lucrative career in Electrical engineering. He founded the NGO ‘Bachpan Bachao Andolan’ which has rescued over 80,000 child slaves.  He has been instrumental in the amendment and adoption of national and international legislations, treaties and conventions on child labour and education. Globally recognized for his activities, he spoke about his experiences and the hardships child as slaves face. Despite threats and major risks, he shared active measures his team has taken to give many children a ‘new’ life and educate them. As a conclusion, he requested everyone to not let the ‘child’ within us to die and take an oath to say NO to child labour.

We adults have created war, poverty. Why do children have to bear the brunt. – Mr. Kailash Satyarthi

Last, but not the least, was Mr. Pratish Datta, a Ph.D. student in Cryptology and Network Security in our Institute. Being visually challenged due to retinoschisis — a degenerative eye disease, he has come a long way and pursued his passion. He spoke about his shortcomings and how he managed to overcome them all with his mother’s enduring support. He firmly believes in ‘Where there’s a will, there is a way’ and encouraged the audience to pursue their dreams and to never give up. He received the Professor Jagadish Chandra Bose Memorial Gold Medal last year for the best academic performance award in the field of Mathematics.

Overall the event was a spirited affair which saw a sizeable crowd, including professors, students, research scholars alike. It ran through most of the afternoon and culminated late in the evening.

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