EVENTS

Upcoming EVENT | PLANNED EVENTS | PAST EVENTS

Nov 2021: Topics discussed on NRI-Natter and its various platforms such as Think Do BIG (TdB) and Think Talk Walk (the talk), or simply TTW, are not only timely but strategic, and relevant to the audience (talented Indian non-elitist middle-class/salaried-class people with positive energy, creativity, community spirit, societal consciousness, activist instinct, entrepreneurial inclinations, global mindset and fire in the belly).

Here's the irresistible best part: we will organize the discussion to suit your convenience, interests and aptitude. That's true, genuine, democracy for you -- transparent, empowering, creative and innovative. What's more, you are free to pick and choose  from the topics listed below. You are free to take part in one or more discussions. That's not all. You can even suggest a completely new topic as well.

 

Typically, a discussion will focus on an Indian situation, scenario or issue that needs to be revisited afresh for a global perspective. The larger goal is to gain new insights and share them with the community, thereby building public opinion; and then, explore or develop, through collective efforts, sensible solutions in the form of feasible ventures that can produce relevant products, services or content/knowledge.

Click/tap here to know about the magic of our Natter online, the starting point for transformative change.

 

* * *

Will INDIANS finally realize what's the real, long-term OXYGEN for society?

Register now to participate in this real-time/live online event
 

In just a couple of years (2020 and 2021), the COVID-19 situation in India has exposed, and will probably continue to expose, the ineptitude of the Establishment (“the authorities concerned”).

 
But, the nation’s behavior after the outbreak of the pandemic has also laid bare the apathy and ignorance of the non-elites (the majority middle- and lower-income groups).

 
Could these two factors – the outbreak and the majority’s approach to living (and their attitude toward life itself) – possibly be correlated? Read more about our past events. And
register now to participate in our forthcoming events.

What factors distinguish India's majority non-elites (lower- and middle-income groups)?

Register now to participate in this real-time/live online event

 Indicate your preferred time and date (including time zone/location).

We will organize this live e-discussion as per your convenience

 

If you analyse the choices, attitude, approach and preferences of the majority (non-elite people or the so-called middle class) in India, what you will likely find is that some factors could well be responsible for the current state of mess.


What factors distinguish today’s majority? As we argued elsewhere on this website, the soul-degrading "sins" of India’s non-elite majority middle- and lower-income groups are the following:


Ego | Ego-related crookedness (confusing demoniacal traits for smartness, cleverness, intelligence) | Selfishness triggered by ego | Absence of selflessness (indifference to community/society) | Greed | Laziness (aversion to hard and smart work, and to sustained and consistent efforts) | Fear, insecurity and cowardice | Ignorance | Zombieness | Addiction to busy-busy hectic lifestyle | Preference for “comfort zone” (tendency to stick to only known, familiar or routine activities) | Mediocrity (reluctance to evolve, improve oneself constantly; tendency to take the easy way out; complacency; unwillingness to pursue excellence) |
Click here to know how these manifest in India


All these "sins" have led the majority to repose their trust and faith in the minority elites/Establishment, even though the latter have repeatedly shown over the last several decades that they are up to no good, that they are inefficient, not result-oriented, that they are in the “game” for themselves and to feather their own nest, abusing institutions and systems, and not really to “serve” the majority. 


This reckless outsourcing or delegation of societal responsibilities to an Establishment comprising scoundrels, thugs, corrupt officials, outright criminals and their ilk has led to erosion of democracy and other institutions, eating away at the vitals of the nation, besides hollowing out systems, processes and mechanisms that are essential to maintain the heart and soul of a society.


All this – COVID-19 has exposed, not just in India but also in the rest of the world. It’d be a lame argument to say that since the rest of the world is also suffering, there is no need for soul-searching in India. 


In a sense, the outbreak per se, the circumstances that led to the outbreak, and the post-outbreak chaos and disarray are all symptomatic of a deeper malaise – that of the majority not evolving as they should have, of them not taking enough responsibility for the community’s well-being, because of the factors listed above.


As long as those factors are not reflected upon, reviewed, and addressed, India will probably face bigger crises in the future. Escape from COVID-19 could also prove protracted, elusive or even impossible. For, there is widespread belief that COVID-19 may just be the beginning of Nature’s retribution for the excesses or sins of Kali Yug.

 

Just wishing that things will somehow magically, automatically return to (pre-COVID) "normal" sooner or later is, well, wishful thinking, daydreaming, delusional indulgence -- stubborn refusal to come to terms with reality.


So: is the 2020 pandemic a much-needed wake-up call for India? 


Let’s discuss this issue threadbare. Our lives, our collective future, are at stake. Please indicate a time and date you would like to engage in in this debate (fill in the form and submit). We will be happy to organize the event at your convenience. Every view counts. We’ll make sure of that. 


No longer should we continue committing the same mistake over and over again. Delegating responsibility to useless fellows (corrupt, self-serving politicians, heartless criminals, inefficient bureaucrats, profit-minded businesses and their henchmen) and reposing trust in failed systems, won’t work anymore.

 
Let’s take the first step toward building a New India. It’s now up to us ordinary, conscientious, right-thinking, responsible citizens. We have to quickly overcome our shortcomings and addictions, and learn to cooperate and collaborate for coordinated action.

 

If we don't act proactively even now to create the world we need; if we don't even use the COVID opportunity to ponder what's wrong with the world, and how our world should be, and what's the way forward ... then, someone else -- the elites -- will write our life's script, like they had always done.

 

Only, this time, their script will likely be infinitely more cruel and heartless as they will brazenly go about creating a dystopian world, emboldened by the majority's (our) spinelessness, disunity, selfishness and lack of a sense of responsibility toward the larger community. So, it's time to act -- and act in an unprecedented way.

 

For, it's now or never.

* * *

Nationalism and media controversies as
manufactured 'products' of distraction

Register now to participate in this real-time/live online event
 Indicate your preferred time and date (including time zone/location).
We will organize this live e-discussion as per your convenience

Every time the nation needs to take stock of deteriorating socioeconomic conditions and change its course toward a better future, public attention is manipulated away from serious issues and focused on invented bogeymen, vamps, demons and assorted enemy countries. Nationalism has been reduced to an psychological raw nerve that can be tugged at will by politicians and media to whip up jingoism among unsuspecting, ignorant, emotionally hyper-stimulated public.

 

When thousands die due to government apathy and inefficiency and incompetence, society's mind is saturated by media with a Bollywood suicide-related salacious content.

 

When the economy goes into a tailspin, attention is shifted by demonizing one neighboring nation or another, or one minority religious group or another.

 

What does it take for Indians to wake up and focus on real-world problems and challenges?

* * *

NRIs & RIs - From Crazy Cussedness To Creative Cooperation
Register now to participate in this real-time/live online event

Indicate your preferred time and date (including time zone/location).
We will organize this live e-discussion as per your convenience.

Introduction: For long, Indian citizens residing in India (Resident Indians or RIs), and those outside (non-resident Indians or NRIs, PIOs, and the Indian Diaspora at large) have had an uneasy relationship.

 

RIs think NRIs are traitors and snobbish -- people who have sold their souls and betrayed their own Motherland for Mammon.

NRIs think RIs are living symbols of sour grapes -- jealous, envious, embittered, mediocre, lacking in a global outlook, anachronistic in attitude, and under-evolved intellectually, due to insular minds and inward thinking.

That sums up the populist discourse in mainstream media as well as online social media.

 

Can this cussed equation be changed for the better? Given the precarious or delicate COVID situation, what is needed is understanding, amity, cooperation and collaboration, to pool ideas and resources together, and work toward rescuing India unitedly. Has the time come to recast the RI-NRI relations in a new mould for a win-win approach?

 

In the context of globalization, digitalization and unprecedented opportunities for starting up and self-actualization, the NRI-RI saga has acquired added significance.

If you are interested in joining the debate, come prepared.
Let's discuss how this flawed RI-NRI relationship can be transformed for a win-win outcome. Can Resident Indians and Non-Resident Indians be each other's gurus (teachers)

 

-- Come up with ideas for startups that can be founded by your global network of childhood friends, school, college and university friends, former colleagues (all Resident Indians or NRIs).
-- That startup should minimize financial and career risk, maximize constructive use of spare time, round the clock, across time-zones.
-- The startup you found should use latest technologies or concepts innovatively, creatively, to solve society's most pressing problem(s), and bring financial and emotional benefits to the founders.

Hope you will pick up the gauntlet and rise to the occasion. Come, let's brainstorm. Register first.

 

* * *

Has the COVID-19 pandemic exposed India's underbelly, its worst-kept secret: a casteist, class-ridden, crumbling society"?

Register now to participate in this real-time/live online event

Indicate your preferred time and date (including time zone/location).
We will organize this live e-discussion as per your convenience.

Ordinary people in India – citizens, consumers, taxpayers, technology-users, employees, workers, professionals, labourers, students, scholars, housewives, retirees – urgently need to realize it is time to wake up and shake off both indifference and ignorance.

It’s time to act decisively, collectively, unitedly.

If people don’t wake up and act, the elites will yet again run away with the nation, exploiting the pandemic to their advantage, and imposing their new model of society and economy on unsuspecting masses.

Only, this time their new vision, it appears from all indications so far, will likely result in a new world that is infinitely more cruel, cunning, riddled with extreme inequalities and authoritarian regimes, ripping asunder the fabric of societies as we have known over the ages. 

We will discuss these and more questions, and debate in a 360-degree way important issues that will stare at India in the post-COVID era. Join the Natter. Add value to the conversation.

* * *

Maharashtra, Karnataka, Goa, MP, Rajasthan ... Does people's will matter
any more in the world's largest democra
zy?"

Register now to participate in this real-time/live online event

Indicate your preferred time and date (including time zone/location).
We will organize this live e-discussion as per your convenience.

Poor voters! They vote on the basis of political parties' manifestos and ideologies. They vote after believing the leaders' poll promises and assurances. They vote as per pre-poll alliances. And, let's face it, they vote dumbly -- how else can you explain the fractured mandates, hung assemblies, unholy post-poll alliances, dethroning of governments through behind-the-scenes machinations and horse-trading?
 

State after state, the same drama gets repeated. More importantly, why is it that the world's largest democracy, which is also the world's IT superpower, unable to come up with tech solutions to facilitate citizens' active participation in the democratic process after the elections are over? Are recent (2018-2020) episodes in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Maharashtra, Goa, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Uttaranchal, Jharkhand ... not enough to wake us up?

 

Is the mechanism of referendum and regular direct consultation with citizens unfit for India?

 

Once the vote is cast, should the voter be cast aside, to make way for a select few from the elite to take over and make all the important decisions?

 

Is the vote a carte blanche for the elected representatives and political parties to do whatever they want, even if such actions run against the spirit of the people's mandate?

 

By voting, do voters lose their right to have a say in the kind of government they would like to be ruled by? Whither democracy?

Do we need the political office of Governor at all in every state?
 

Why can't all the functions and role of Governor be made absolutely transparent, objective and fact-based, even automated, without scope for subjective interpretations and personal discretion?
 

Should Governors be allowed to misuse powers to subvert the democracy's spirit and violate the will of the people?
 

Why can't poll-poll defections be banned totally?

 

Thirty-seven years and counting. Shameful! When will the culture of MPs/MLAs being placed under 'hotel arrest' -- resort politics, hideaways started in 1982 in Haryana, followed by Chandrababu Naidu's Bangalore stunt in 1984 -- give way to transparent, accountable, genuine democracy? When will the world's largest democracy evolve and become truly mature, a role-model for other nations?
 

Should MPs/MLAs have recourse to rules, exceptions and conditions that enable two-third or one-third of a party's elected representatives to switch their allegiance opportunistically, contrary to their pre-poll stand, manifesto or ideology that got them elected?
 

As in the case of Maharashtra in November 2019, when a new government is sworn in secretly amid political turmoil, why is it that people are kept in the dark about which MLA is on whose side?
 

Why can't be there be a more transparent process where  verification of all details is done individually, and authenticated by state bureaucracy or the Election Commission's local branch, given that we already have the necessary technology (biometric-ID, video conference, satellite phone, mobile telecom, email, WhatsApp, etc) available for the purpose?
 

People deserve to know on what basis state Governors invite certain individuals to form a government during contentious times. Governors must be made fully accountable and their actions should be 100% transparent. Unconstitutional moves, acting under favoritism, prejudice, malice should make Governors liable for criminal justice.
 

Elections need to be digitalized, simplified and inexpensive. Every time an elected representative needs to switch sides after elections, he/she must necessarily consult the voters of his constituency electronically, and act as per their choice alone. A win in election can't be used as a carte blanche. Any MP/MLA acting contrary to the spirit of democracy should be liable for recall by the electorate, using simple, inexpensive tech process.
 

We will discuss these and more questions, and debate important issues (like the future of Indian democracy and lessons for other nations). Join the conversation. Let's Natter.

* * *

"Crimes against women, mass hysteria and extrajudicial
killings -- is India in step with the globalized world?"

Register now to participate in this real-time/live online event

Indicate your preferred time and date (including time zone/location).
We will organize this live e-discussion as per your convenience.

A baffled, bewildered, bemused world is watching with utter disbelief as the Indian society unravels day after day. Not just due to our inability to actualize our full potential but due to the inexorable slide back to the medieval times, what with heinous rapes, blood-curdling murders, pervasive corruption, economic slowdown, crass consumerism, news media circus, fixation with cricket, TV, social media, apps, and movies, what have you. Last year (2019), the alleged extrajudicial killings and human rights violations by law enforcement agencies shocked the world, just like this year's (2020) sheer ineptitute that's marking India's handling of COVID-19 is doing. And even amid COVID doldrums and economic meltdown, the Indian society oscillates between celebrities and politics-related nationalism at one extreme and sub-human acts at the other extreme.

 

Have we completely lost it? Are we losing permanently a golden opportunity to not only transform our economy but lead the world? Is India failing to keep its commitments to the international community? Are we as a nation in violation of global covenants? Can we continue to be hopeful, confident and optimistic?

We will discuss these and more questions, and debate important issues (like the future of Indian democracy and lessons for other nations). Join the conversation. Let's Natter. 

* * *

Are religion and secular democracy compatible in post-COVID India?

 

Register now to participate in this real-time/live online event

Indicate your preferred time and date (including time zone/location).
We will organize this live e-discussion as per your convenience.

Even after 20 years of the 21st century, should religion and religiosity dominate Indian society, polity and psyche, against the wishes and prescriptions of Mahatma Gandhi, the 'Father of the Nation'? 

 

When COVID impact, economic meltdown, societal fissures, and geopolitical tensions are casting a dark, long shadow over the future of India, why are Indians obsessed with politicized, commercialized and corrupt forms of religion? While religions per se are NOT the problem, and are supposed to be a personal or private matter, the way they are sought to be meshed into the fabric of public space in a supposedly "secular" democracy continues to put a question mark over the future of the nation. 

Be it court-approved temple construction at a site where a mosque stood not so long ago, the targeting of an Islamic group over COVID fears (and before that during Delhi state elections), the Uniform Civil Code issue, demands for allowing women into hitherto male-only temples, forced conversions, linking of nationalism, patriotism and majoritarian religion, or essentially religious festivals celebrated in a manner that vitiates public spaces and disturbs general peace of the larger community, conmen masquerading as godmen, or social media posts leading to urban unrest and deaths... religion and religious dogmas continue to cloud and shackle modern India's pursuit of economic prosperity and social justice in the age of globalization and COVID-19. 

Is there a way out? Let's discuss. Let's pray, invoke and implore Bapu's spirit to remove all obstacles in Indians' path and to lead us toward a progressive, truly secular society.

* * *

"Whither (the world's largest) democracy?"

Register now to participate in this real-time/live online event

Indicate your preferred time and date (including time zone/location).
We will organize this live e-discussion as per your convenience.

 

Seventy-four (74) Independence Days have come and gone, the latest one on Aug 15th, 2020. The 75th I-Day is on its way. Our existence as an independent and free nation and our much-flaunted status as the world's largest democracy, however, do not seem to count for much in real terms, if we look around and discern that India today is a country marked by misgovernance, inefficiency, incompetence, dirty politics and corruption on one side, and widening economic inequality, cultural, religious and societal meltdown on the other.

 

Although grand announcements and policy decisions are made by charlatan politicians and policymakers from time to time -- digital health ID-card, anyone? -- elementary things like public health, education, infrastructure, rural prosperity, social welfare and financial inclusion continue to remain a mirage.

The cruel irony is that today, the world's largest democracy seems to be riddled with intolerance for dissent, crackdown on freedom of expression, secret long-term plans to create a dystopia where authoritarian regimes at central and state levels, regional political dynasties, powerful bureaucrats, defence and judicial officials, and mega corporations controlled by a few wealthy individuals, will hold sway (as always, you might add). They are being aided and abetted today by influential thought-leaders like certain soul-selling intellectuals, social media influencers, celebrities and media personalities. 

So, whither democracy? Or, can the majority non-elites -- the middle-class Indians -- cast aside their narrow differences of ego, caste, sect, region, language and socio-economic identities to unite as one solid community of patriotic Indians, overcome received smallness, embrace Big Change, use technology to cooperate and collaborate, and create a New India? 

Join this special post-Independence Day group analysis and review online. Chip in with your two cents (or paise, if you will). Every little counts. Be a champion of Big Change. Have you say. As stakeholders and right-thinking citizens, let's take stock. Let's make our Natter matter. Rest assured, frank and honest views expressed fearlessly go a long way in igniting Big Change. 

 

 * * *

Back to the top

COMING SOON...

Mind-stimulating live online video seminars and analyses on raging issues, current affairs and profound topics. (Typically, a discussion will focus on an Indian situation, scenario or issue that needs to be revisited afresh for a global perspective. The larger goal is to gain new insights and share them with the community, thereby building public opinion; and then, explore or develop, through collective efforts, sensible solutions in the form of feasible ventures that can produce relevant products, services or content/knowledge.
Click/tap here for a sneak preview of forthcoming discussions.)

It's all happening here on NRI-
Natter. Stay tuned.

Back to the top

 

PAST EVENTS...quick recap...

Online seminar:

In China, can NRIs-from-South match, and then outperform,
Asian entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley in the next 10 years?

 

Key elements of the topic and salient discussion points:
 

A) China:

The next economic superpower. Forecast to overtake the US to become the world’s largest economy before 2030. PriceWaterhouseCoopers forecast in 2017 that China’s economy will be bigger than America’s before 2030 and India’s will also be bigger than the US before 2050. Other forecasts by the IMF, World Bank and various other institutions more or less are in line with this forecast.

In terms of opportunities, China is now what the US was 30-40 years back.

The local ecosystem in China is characterised by accent on entrepreneurialism, or startupism, innovation, science & technology (AI, VR, AR, big data, automation, robotics, e-commerce, financial inclusion, easier credit, quantity-to-quality shift, reform and opening-up,  and support for foreign talent.

In China, visibility of India-related elements like movies, food, yoga, IT talent and university students is increasing by the day.

B) NRIs-from-South in China:
 

NRIs-from-South have certain shared characteristics, both good and not-so-good.
 

They are enterprising. But globally, much of that enterprise and dynamism appear to go into becoming idly-hunters, remittance experts, fellow-Southie-searchers, cricket-movie-TV channel lovers, temple discoverers, Indian grocery explorers. They are very good at South-South networking for festival-related get-togethers, forming cultural associations (which eventually get infested with factional feuds more often than not).
 

You can find NRIs-from-South in China's various industries/niches like IT, pharma, media, material sciences, space-related sciences, new/renewable energy, banking/financial services, industry bodies, top-level corporate executive positions and company regional offices, trading, furniture, fabrics/textiles, import-export business, electronic components, restaurants, etc.
 

NRIs-from-South in China are graduates, PGs and those with higher educational qualifications (MPhil, PhD, post-doctoral and fellows).
 

C) Working-class / middle-class / professional / self-employed NRIs worldwide:
 

A bit arrogant, snobbish vis-à-vis fellow Indians, but a bit defensive, with low self-esteem while interacting with Westerners.

Mostly, their minds are saturated with issues relating to local residency permits, PR cards, work permits, visas for family, exploring local advantages and attractions.

 

Their focus is on maximizing savings and remittances.
 

They are intensely focused on their domain (profession/vocation).
 

They are good at both spotting opportunities in the immediate environment and adopting new thinking, skills and strategies required to exploit those opportunities.
 

D) Asian entrepreneurs / big executives in Silicon Valley (which is a metaphor for the US and Canada geographies):
 

There are iconic figures such as Satya Nadella, Sundar Pichai, Jerry Wang, Adobe’s experts, Vinod Khosla, Deepak Chopra.

Factors that helped them succeed are supportive ecosystem; risk-taking ability which is not common among compatriots; competitive mindset in a cosmopolitan environment created by globalization; intellectual capital (brain power).
 

E) Current context:
 

Globalization, digitalization, technology, entrepreneurialism/startupism.

F) In the next 10 years:
 

The stage will be set for both China and India to emerge as great economic and cultural powerhouses.

Key conclusions drawn from the previous online seminar:
 

NRIs-from-South have starting trouble.
 

But once they get started, and begin to channelize their natural enterprise and dynamism in the right direction, in a cooperative and collaborative way, there is no stopping them. 
 

Unity and community-based approach can unleash untapped potentials in NRIs-from-South.
 

Focused efforts can lead them to realize their aspirations and dreams, including the desire to contribute to the society, to "give back".
 

There are a lot of opportunities arising as the world transitions to a new economic order where China and India will likely be the top two leading economies.
 

NRIs-from-South in China can come together and collaborate with NRIs elsewhere as well as compatriots in India to make the most of opportunities now and in the future, thereby changing the game for NRIs-from-South once and for all.
 

If NRIs-from-South stay rooted in their rich culture, and follow certain Dos & Don'ts, then they can really get ahead.

Back to the top