TED Talks By Indian Speakers You Can't Miss

Photo of Gayatri Sapru
2 November 2016

Need some inspiration? Our pick of the best TED Talks by Indian speakers across the world will give you just the motivation you need to get started on your road to becoming the next big thing.

Professor Anil Gupta

Gupta, a renowned scholar, is a professor at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, and the founder of the Honey Bee Network – an organization that supports and promotes grassroots innovation. Every summer and winter, in order to learn from grassroots teachers, he has been walking approximately 6,000 kilomaters across India for over a week as part of a ‘shodh yatra’ (hunt for discovery) for more than 12 years. He was awarded one of the country’s highest civilian honors, the Padma Shri, in 2004. Listen to him explore the true nature of innovation (and if nothing else, watch the most amazing little anecdote at 15:55).

Shashi Tharoor

Tharoor is an author, United Nations peacekeeper, refugee worker, human rights activist, Minister of State for Human Resources Development and diplomat. He’s also the author of over 15 best-selling books along with being an immaculate orator. He speaks about Indian history, politics and culture across the world. Listen to him explain education and its role on shaping the future of India.

Pranav Mistry

You’ll need to pick that jaw up from the floor when you’re done watching genius engineer, ex-MIT, IIT alumnus and current director of research at Samsung Research America‘s speech on the hunt for new ways to mix digital information with the real world – be warned.

Sugata Mitra

Educational researcher Dr. Sugata Mitra’s ‘Hole in the Wall‘ experiments have shown that even without supervision or formal training, children can teach themselves and each other, when motivated by curiosity and peer interest. In 1999, Mitra and his colleagues made a hole in a wall bordering an urban slum in New Delhi, placed an internet-connected computer, and left it there (with a hidden camera recording the room). What they saw was kids from the slum playing around with the computer and in the process learning how to use it and how to go online, and then teaching each other. Hear him speak about his inspiring vision for the future.

Devdutt Pattnaik

Dr. Devdutt Pattanaik is the author of more than 30 books and 600 columns on the relevance of mythology in modern times. He worked in the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries for 15 years before switching to his current career where he makes mythology accessible and decodes the hidden significance of ancient stories in the Indian psyche.

Arunachalam Muruganantham

Muruganantham started a social revolution of sorts by manufacturing sanitary napkins for women at a third of the market cost, and on the way suffering humiliation and ostracization in his village. Listen to his story of triumph and true entrepreneurship in this video.

Shekhar Kapur

Kapur, a filmmaker, talks about the importance of chaos, letting go and accepting contradictions as part of the story of life. Watch him cast a spell on you as he explains what stories mean using his film Elizabeth as an example.

Nandan Nilekani

One of the co-founders of Infosys and the father of the famous Aadhar card program, Nilekani is also a celebrated philanthropist; he won the Padma Bhushan in 2006 and Time listed him as one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2006 and ’09. Listen to him speak about his dream for India, and be inspired.

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