Nina Davuluri & other lisTED Indians

I have been attending TED Global for the last two years and find the entire experience intense and intellectually stimulating.  Listening to more than 100 speakers over a period of four and half days is like attending a boot camp, albeit an intellectual one. Lateral interaction with other participants coupled with ability to engage with speakers in an informal manner (as they stay through the entire duration of the conference) is another high.

The recent crowning of Nina Davuluri as Miss America unleashed a flurry of tweets; some good and some not so good. This tweet caught my attention.

As somebody who believes in India becoming a global soft super power, I wanted to add to the list of categories and fields where Indians have done well or have become significant enough players to be recognized as a category by themselves.

Coming back to TED Global, in each of these two conferences that I attended, there were at least five speakers who were Indians or of Indian origin. Out of 100 speakers, this appeared a decent enough size and I decided to explore further the market share of Indians out of the total TED talks posted so far.

Scanned the list of 1343 speakers available on for Indian sounding names and looks and came up with this list of 80 talks. (Click here for the spreadsheet LisTED-Indians ) An approximate 6% share of the new age intellectual market that TED has come to represent. One cannot categorize all the speakers so it would be difficult to rank Indians (or of Indian origin) on a comparative basis with speakers of other nationalities  but prima facie anything above 5% of any market, especially a fragmented and eclectic one that TED represents is indeed a credible achievement and one that we can truly be proud of.

Here is a play list of these 80 talks.

I have watched around 25 of the 80 talks. Some of the ones that have stayed with me and would like to recommend are:

  • Sashi Tharoor on ‘Pursuing Soft Power’
  • Shekar Kapur on ‘We are the stories we tell ourselves’
  • Ravin Agrawal speaking on emerging Indian artists.
  • Alwar Balasubramaniam on ‘Substance and Absence’
  • Aparna Rao’s humorous and high tech art.
  • Sheena Iyengar on ‘The Art of Choosing’
  • Ramachandran on  ‘Journey to the center of your mind’
  • Devdutt Patnaik on ‘East Vs West – the myths that mystify’
  • Pico Iyer on ‘Where is home?’

Hope you enjoy watching lisTED indians.

Meanwhile on the beauty side, the list of Miss Americas who are of Indian origin has made a debut with one entry. Surely this list too will keep growing. Congrats Miss Nina Davuluri !

Watch this space for more lists that we can be proud of as Indians.

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