Special Issue

Open Minds 2018

Open Minds 2018

S Prasannarajan | Ullekh NP | Madhavankutty Pillai | Nandini Nair | V Shoba


Open Minds 2018: Public Square


Many decades ago, at the height of the Vietnam War, Noam Chomsky wrote an essay on the role of public intellectuals and why they must use their positions to speak truth to power and sift out the lies being peddled to distract people’s attention. Indian democracy offers such a privilege not only to intellectuals, but also to people who have made a name for themselves and are often in the public glare, directly or through their work. What is disturbing is that while it is important to uphold the truth, ‘feigned naivete’ tends to takes over. As Einstein had warned us, “The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.” That is why the individuals who champion democratic values and help make our country a better informed and fairer place need to be feted. This list is a celebration of the efforts of such influencers, without whom we would have only a limited perspective of the world.

Complete List of Open Minds 2018: Public Square

Salman Rushdie, Author | Pratap Bhanu Mehta, Political scientist | Nandan Nilekani, Infosys Chairman | Srinath Raghavan, Historian | Ram Madhav, BJP Leader | Swapan Dasgupta, Political commentator and MP | Shashi Tharoor, Scholar Politician | TCA Raghavan, Historian | Ramachandra Guha, Historian | Brahma Chellaney, Strategic thinker | Uday Shankar, President, 21st Century Fox, Asia | Anantha Chandrakasan, Technologist | Gita Gopinath, Economist | Soumya Swaminathan, Paediatrician and clinical scientist | Prasoon Joshi, Poet and Censor Board chairman | Madhav Khosla, Scholar | Sidharth Luthra, Lawyer | Shayara Bano, Triple Talaq Petitioner | Reuben Abraham, Economic Analyst | Pratima Joshi, Architect | Reetika Khera, Economist | Shamika Ravi, Economist | Sharmila Bhattacharya, Scientist | Vijay Prasad, Historian | Nayanjot Lahiri, Historian | Avani Chaturvedi, Fighter Pilot, IAF | Pranshu and Nishant Patni, Entrepreneurs

Open Minds 2018: Soft Power

What are the most important skills an employer is looking for? The top answer, if you ask Google, has nothing to do with Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Ranked No 1 is a ‘Positive Attitude’, followed by ‘Communication Skills’. Clearly, the proficiencies that drive the adult world are more fundamental. They are the ‘soft’ skills, if you wish. At workplaces—whether you are in sales or automation, a doctor or a teacher—it is your ability to grasp a situation, empathise, think, and get your mind across that is most highly valued. This is also why art and its practitioners are so crucial to our existence. The authors and artists, musicians and filmmakers, actors and sportsmen who appear on these pages guide us to think and speak. They influence us in ways both subtle and obvious. It is through their work that we arrive at a psychological sense of positivity: ‘concentrating on what is constructive and good’. In our social lives, to be ‘soft’ is to be easily swayed, silly even. But it is the soft power of these women and men that encourages us to use our critical faculties, discern hidden truths, solve complex problems and live positively. And to them, we are grateful.

Complete List of Open Minds 2018: Soft Power

Virat Kohli, Captain, Indian Cricket Team | Priyanka Chopra, Actor | Jeet Thayil, Author | Anju Dodiya, Artist | Alia Bhatt, Actor | Rajkummar Rao, Actor | Chetan Bhagat, Author | Jahnvi Dameron Nandan, Perfumer | Rupi Kaur, Poet | Parvathy Thiruvothu, Actor | Sujatha Gidla, Author | Balkrishna Vithaldas Doshi, Architect | Prayaag Akbar, Author | Ruchika Sachdeva, Fashion Designer | Palghat R Ramprasad, Carnatic musician | Unni R, Author | Kunal Kamra, Comedian | Vikas Khanna, Chef and Television Personality | Shoojit Sircar, Filmmaker | Srikanth Kidambi, Badminton Player | CS Santosh, Off-Road Biking Champion | Mayank Austen Soofi, Author and Blogger | Ratish Nanda, Conservation Architect