‘Startup Talk’ at IIT Madras

IIT Madras is conducting its technical festival, Shaastra from January 4-7, which includes a “Green Energy Summit”, a program for experts and student enthusiasts to come together to learn and network. I’ll be speaking at the summit today along with Dr. Ashish Polkade and Swapnil Jain, where we’ll be sharing our respective entrepreneurial journeys in the CleanTech space.

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Unlimited Opportunities for ISRO: Public-Private Partnerships in Space

Earlier this month, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) announced that it is working at preparing a business model to partner with industries – public and private – so that they have a higher level of participation in the space sector.

Various media reports have quoted ISRO chairman K.Radhakrishnan saying “We are working at a possible model for investment, sharing of technology and responsibility with the industries. The response from the industries – public and private – is positive. It will take three or four years to arrive at a proper model”. While he did not confirm if the model will be based on public-private-participation, he did mention that the industries’ participation is sought to increase the production of satellites and rockets so that ISRO can focus on other core areas.

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The Modern Indian Looks Back: A Conversation around The Ekkos Clan

In the high altitudes of the snow mountain lives the powerful Indar. He uses his weapons, the thunderbolt and fire, to break into pieces the glaciers that crawl down the mountains like Ahi, a big dragon. The ice melts and releases from captivity the swollen waters. Thus the river is born. Full of life, the liberated waters flow like streams of milk, gushing through the slits and splits of mountains like freed cattle running towards their mother…

Written by débutante author Sudipto Das, the Ekkos Clan is essentially a mystery novel exploring the lives of multiple generations of a family as they realise a pattern of mysterious deaths and unknown benefactors around them. It’s not the average whodunnit though, and is grounded in a substantial base of research and exploration into our past and the origins of our civilisation. This journey wasn’t made with the aid of tangible historical remains and proofs, which diminish once you try to step further after going back a few millennia, but instead, a more living, breathing form of residue from our ancient past is combed through: language.

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Pax Indica: India, meet world

Non-fiction/Pax Indica by Shashi Tharoor, Penguin/Allen Lane, 449 pp; Rs799 (Hardback)

I recently read Shashi Tharoor’s Pax Indica: India and the World in the 21st Century. I wrote a review for the same, published on The Northeast Today website (and the upcoming print edition):

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Rendezvous With Destiny

There is a mysterious cycle in human events. To some generations much is given. Of other generations much is expected. This generation of Americans has a rendezvous with destiny.

— Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Speech before the 1936 Democratic National Convention, Philadelphia, June 27, 1936

It was the above quoted speech that inspired independent India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru’s “Tryst With Destiny,” considered to be one of the greatest orations of all time, delivered on the midnight which gave way to the 15th of  August, 2013, exactly 66 years ago from now. Its opening lines are often remembered during this time of the year:Continue reading →

‘Funny and Disturbing’

I recently read Aman Sethi’s A Free Man.

Insightful, humorous, and disturbing, this work of non-fiction is the story of millions of invisible men that that toil around us everyday, building our cities (and breaking them down when asked to), preparing our meat, selling us lemons… Aman Sethi explores not just the mazdoor, but the philosopher, the entrepreneur, and the struggle to be free. Vaguely reminiscent of The White Tiger by its synopsis, A Free Man is an achievement in journalism, a masterpiece in ‘development journalism’, and is the only book that I can describe with the phrases ‘very funny’ and ‘reads like a war documentary,’ simultaneously.

You can sample it out from an excerpt at The Caravan.

The Making of Modern India, One Essay at a Time

I recently attended the launch of India Since 1947: Looking Back at a Modern Nation, and picked up a copy.

Anthology/Non-fiction; India since 1947: Looking Back at a Modern Nation by Atul Kumar Thakur (Edited); Niyogi Books, 340 pp; Rs.395 (Paperback)

It has very nearly been 66 years since we, as one nation, took the reins of our destiny in our own hands. And while that still places us as a relatively young democracy (the US, for example, signed the declaration of independence in 1776), that the first generation born after that fateful midnight has now started retiring is a noteworthy milestone. As a people who use the same word for tomorrow as for yesterday, keeping track of the passage of time and the changes it brings along is not something we are very adept at.

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