Ashis Nandy is a great postcolonial thinker and one of the foremost public intellectuals in India. His reputation as “the Frantz Fanon of our time” has reverberated across the continents and scholarly communities worldwide. A notable political psychologist, social theorist, and critic, he has produced some of the most original and important studies of postcolonial societies over the past four decades. Nandy is also a prolific writer and newspaper columnist as well as a feisty public speaker (New Yorker). Nandy’s many books include The Intimate Enemy; Alternative Sciences; The Illegitimacy of Nationalism; The Savage Freud; An Ambiguous Journey to the City; Time Warps; Time Treks; Traditions, Tyranny and Utopias; The Romance of the State; At the Edge of Psychology; and The Tao of Cricket.
Gopal Guru is an eminent political scientist and significant thought leader in the Indian political scene. Guru is the author of several books and specialises in political theory and philosophy. His researches include significant work on Indian political processes and politics of multiculturalism. Caste and Dalit politics have, however, remained his core areas of interest during his long academic career. He is considered to be one of the top-most academics to open up caste debates in the study of liberal arts in India.
One of India's best-known social commentators and advertising and marketing professionals, Santosh Desai is a columnist with several prominent publications.. He heads Future Brands, a branding services and consulting company, and was earlier the president of McCann Erickson India. Santosh’s principal area of interest lies in examining the evolving nature of consumer culture in India. He is considered to be a thought leader in understanding the relationship between culture and brands. He is the columnist of 'City City Bang Bang', a weekly article that looks at contemporary Indian society from an everyday vantage point. Author of Mother Pious Lady: Making Sense of Everyday India, Santosh is also an acclaimed media critic.
Shiv Visvanathan is an Indian public intellectual and social scientist best known for his contributions to Science and Technology Studies, and for the concept of 'cognitive justice' - a term he coined. He is currently Professor at Jindal Global Law School, Sonipat and Director, Centre for the Study of Knowledge Systems, O.P Jindal Global University. He is a trained social anthropologist with a PhD from the University of Delhi. An interdisciplinary thinker, prolific writer and delightfully bold and eloquent orator, Professor Visvanathan's articles and writings reflect his dissection of diverse issues with a sharp and critical wit. His wide interests range from cognitive justice, urban studies, the sociology of corruption and ethics, the sociology and philosophy of science, history of technology and traditional knowledge, social movements, globalization to the culture and politics of ecology which feature in leading newspapers and publications such as the Seminar magazine, Economic and Political Weekly, The Hindu, and Scroll.in. He is author of Organizing for Science (OUP, Delhi, 1985), A Carnival for Science (OUP, Delhi, 1997), Theatres of Democracy (OUP, Delhi 2016) and has co-edited Foulplay: Chronicles of Corruption (Banyan Books, Delhi, 1999).
Aseem Shrivastava is an environmental economist, activist, and a freelance writer. He is also the co-author of Churning the Earth: The Making of Global India. A Delhi-based writer, he holds a doctorate in enviromental economics from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He has taught econimics for many years in India and the US, and has also taught philosphy at Nordic College, Norway. Since 2005, he has been working independently, reserching, writing and lecturing internationally on issues associated with globalization and its impact. He was a speaker at the 2012 World Conservation Congress, in South Korea, and at the 2013 World Social forum, in Tunisia.
From the humble beginnings of being born in a cowshed in Bhutan, Saamdu Chetri was the single man charged with overseeing Bhutan's happiness - as the first head of its Gross National Happiness centre. During his six years’ tenure in private sector, he worked closely with many renowned firms in India. He also carries 18 years’ of experiences in socio-economic development working as Bhutanese Head for bilateral development agencies at Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and Helvetas. During this period, he was a member of number of development programmes in and outside Bhutan. Dr. Chetri has several publications to his credit and many interviews on radio, TV and magazines around the world. A venerate public leader on the concept of happiness, Dr. Chetri has travelled to many countries in Asia, Europe, US, Australia, and Africa, sharing the seeds of Gross National Happiness, the development paradigm of Bhutan since 1970.
A vocalist in the Karnatik tradition, Thodur Madabusi Krishna is known for his uncommon renditions and original interpretations of music. As a public intellectual, Krishna speaks and writes about issues affecting the human condition and matters cultural. He is the driving force behind the Urur Olcott Kuppam Festival and the Svanubhava initiative, and has been part of collaborations such as the Chennai Poromboke Paadal with environmentalist Nityanand Jayaraman. He is the recipient of the Professor V. Aravindakshan Memorial Award (2017), the Indira Gandhi Award for National Integration (2017) and the Ramon Magsaysay Award (2016). Author of the path-breaking book A Southern Music: The Karnatik Story , his latest book Reshaping Art examines how we can harness the power of art to make ourselves and our communities open and sensitive.
Aruna Roy is a socio-political activist and founder-member of MKSS (Mazdoor Kisaan Shakti Sangathan) and NCPRI (National Campaign for People’s Right to Information). She is President of the National Federation of Indian Women (NFIW). She was the 2016 Professor of Practice at McGill University ISID, Montreal, Canada, and the 2016 George Soros Visiting Practitioner Chair in CEU, Budapest. Her accolades include the Ramon Magsaysay Award in 2000, the Nani Palkiwala Award and the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Award. She was listed as one of the 100 most influential people in the world by the TIME Magazine in 2011.
Rajni Bakshi is a Mumbai-based freelance journalist and storyteller who writes about social and political movements in contemporary India. She is the author of Bazaars, Conversations and Freedom: for a market culture beyond greed and fear (Penguin, 2009), which won two Vodafone-Crossword Awards. Her earlier book, Bapu Kuti: Journeys in Rediscovery of Gandhi (Penguin, 1998) inspired the Hindi film Swades starring Shah Rukh Khan. Her books chronicle the work and lives of activists engaged in social transformation rooted in the philosophy of Gandhi, and look at the history, philosophy and anthropology of market-systems. Rajni Bakshi was the Gandhi Peace Fellow at Gateway House from 2011 till 2017. She serves on the Boards of Child Rights and You (CRY) and Citizens for Peace. She is also a member of the Executive Committee of the Gandhi Smriti and Darshan Samiti, an autonomous body under the Ministry of Culture and a long term associate of Centre of Education and Documentation (Mumbai & Bangalore).
With an academic and industrial experience of more than 30 years, Gayatri Subramanium has been associated with Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs since its inception. Her main area of work is to contribute towards policy advisory service and undertake capacity building and knowledge dissemination initiatives in the Corporate Social Responsibility. She has been a part of the evolvement of the new legislation on CSR in India representing IICA at various national stakeholders’ consultations. She has also represented IICA at various international forums. A pioneer in the field of sustainable practices in corporate culture, she is the convener for NFCSR - a unique platform created for Government, Corporates and NGOs for taking up development and sustainable initiatives at a national level.
Climate Staretgy & Responsible Banking, Yes Bank Ltd
Namita Vikas is the group president and global head, climate strategy and responsible banking, at Yes Bank Ltd, as well as its chief sustainability officer (CSO). She has over 27 years’ experience in the domains of banking, technology and consumer goods, with a focus on sustainable finance, climate action, social governance, risk management and corporate citizenship. She has been included in ‘Asia’s Top Sustainability Superwomen’ list curated by CSR works, Singapore. She also is an august opinion leader in areas of corporate social responsibility, public affairs, communication and policy advocacy.
Nikhil Pant is the co-founder of REACHA, a Voluntary Organization endeavoring to organize genuine Community Based Organizations (CBOs), which on the one hand respect the dignity of the individual and on the other promote community interests in a collective manner. His key focus area of work is to implement CSR in strategic situations for maximum impact - for example, one of REACHA projects is currently underway at Baramulla, J&K with Indian Army & ONGC CSR - as part of Ops Sadbhavana for counter-terrorism. He has over 25 years’ experience in the development sector - as Founder member of the NGO REACHA (since 1992); as a CSR strategist, policy maker, content author, adviser and trainer engaged in conceptualising, designing, leading, implementing, monitoring and assessing community based development projects at the regional and national level. He has worked closely with national institutions like CBSE (education and child development through Project Based Learning), corporate houses like the Tata’s (CSR projects for REACHA) and Mahindra & Mahindra (as Principal Consultant, Tech Mahindra Foundation, 2010-12 - for supporting sustainable grassroots’ community development CSR initiatives in partnership and consultation with NGOs and the beneficiaries).
Anirban Ghosh is the Chief Sustainability Officer (CSO) of the Mahindra & Mahindra group of companies. Often seen as the driver of group sustainability, he earned his spurs in sales, marketing, and importantly, strategy, and has been pivotal in the creating the Group’s agricultural vertical. His refreshing approach to sustainability, which lays emphasis on a hardcore business outlook rather than an activist's perspective, has found many takers; his efforts have helped the Group notch remarkable progress in the usual indicators: water conservation, waste management, and energy efficiency. He has, in a way, simplified or demystified sustainability for seniors within the Group.
Madan is an entrepreneur & angel investor working at the intersection of youth transformation, creating entrepreneurs, driving rural growth & empowering social changemakers. Madan started his entrepreneurial journey when he co-founded MeritTrac in 2000 as a pioneering idea in skills assessments and scaled it into one of the leading assessments companies in India. With a vision of transforming rural youth to be entrepreneurs, he founded 1Bridge, a platform that empowers rural entrepreneurs to accelerate abundance of access, choice & convenience to rural citizens, leveraging technology. Madan is also the Managing Trustee of Head Held High Foundation, a non-profit that stands for human dignity. He is a sought-after speaker at various conferences around the world and has shared his innovative ideas and thoughts at prestigious forums like TEDxGateway, TEDx GolfLinksPark, INK Conference, etc.