This month, the team at TEDxHyderabad hosted a TEDx salon that was far from average. Thirty-five Hyderabadians met bright and early on a Sunday morning to board an “X Bus” and prepare for a day’s journey of talk-watching, debate-having and idea-sharing … on wheels.
The salon was themed “Civic Responsibility” and focused on four topics — water conservation, city cleanliness, food distribution and urban congestion. The TEDxHyderabad team hand-selected five TED and TEDx Talks for attendees to watch and then planned out a route with stops that related to the ideas in the talks — from the office of the police commissioner of Hyderabad to a water reservoir outside of the city. “Locating areas in the city which had relevance [to the talks] was an integral part of the Salon event,” says organizer Anthony Vipin Das.
Hyderabad is in the midst of an extreme water shortage, as all four of the city’s major reservoirs have gone dry. One of these reservoirs, Osman Sagar, known locally as Gandipet Lake, was the first stop on the TEDxHyderabad tour and the drive to see it allowed for two great talks on water conservation to be shown. The first was activist Anupam Mishra’s call for the preservation of rural India’s traditional rainwater harvesting techniques and the second was civil and environmental engineer David Sedlak’s TEDxMarin talk on managing urban water systems in the face of climate change.
When the bus arrived at Gandipet Lake, attendees and team members got off the bus and discussed the ideas in the talks and their connection to Hyderabad life.
Next, attendees boarded the bus for two more talks and a final stop, the Hyderabad police command headquarters. As the bus headed toward the city, conversations turned to food security, city infrastructure and urban development as attendees watched talks from Josette Sheeran, the former head of the UN’s World Food Program, as well as The Ugly Indian, an activist leading a movement to clean, repair and refresh public spaces in India.
At the police headquarters, attendees met with the police commissioner of Hyderabad and talked government, big ideas and civic change in Hyderabad. The TEDxHyderabad team screened United Hatzalah founder Eli Beer’s TEDMED talk on providing emergency medicine via motorcycle for the commissioner and discussed how the ideas in Beer’s talk could be applied in Hyderabad. Attendees joined government employees for lunch and started discussions on the talks that had been screened during the day.
“We were encouraged and excited to see the way we could engage [city] lawmakers in this exciting conversation,” says Vipin Das. “For the team, it was an amazing experience to see how TEDx can engage thought leaders and decision makers from the government to come together on this common platform of TEDxHyderabad.”
Watch TEDxHyderabad’s whole civic engagement playlist below: