The Manipal Conclave: Orators for Change

Three or four years of college can be incredibly arduous, specially if you joined an engineering course without completely committing to it. And soon enough, the mundane cycle of code and debug, or electrical machinery takes a toll on the mind of a creature designed to not tolerate monotony.

Each year, in TechTatva, The Manipal Conclave comes to the rescue by bringing together an array of distinguished professionals from varying fields to speak about their work. The Conclave, thus enlightens students, and encourages them to wander beyond their course.

The set of speakers at The Manipal Conclave simply gets better every passing year. Let’s take a look at this year’s ensemble.

Kavita Seth

Soulfulness, and mysticism: two words that comprehensively describe Sufism, as well as one of its staunch emissaries, Kavita Seth.

Singer Kavita Seth started out with performing for the All India Radio, and Doordarshan but soon made her way to the playback industry, and music concerts. While Sufi music is her forte, and what she truly is synonymous with, she also specialises in ghazals, and folk music. Hailing from Bareilly, and holds a post graduate degree in Hindustani and Classical music.

She also won the FIlmfare Award for the Best Female Playback Singer, as well as the Star Screen Award for Best Female Playback in 2010, for Iktara from Wake Up Sid, the song being one of the many jewels in her illustrious singing career. Her other notable works from the silver screen includes Tum Hi Ho Bandhu from Cocktail, and Jeete Hai Chal from Neerja.

Ganesh Nayak

Introducing Mr. Ganesh Nayak, 34 years old, Assistant Professor, Senior Scale- Department of Instrumentation and Control Engineering at Manipal Institute of Technology (MIT). He is an alumnus of MIT, who had a transition from being a full time smoker to an expedition cyclist. He realised what he was doing and found his way out of it through cycling. On 7th July 2014, he started his first journey through the beautiful Manali-Leh roads to Srinagar and completed it on 5 Febrary 2015 by coming back to Manipal, covering 8000 km. In his journey, he witnessed poverty and he started to reconsider traces of life which he once took for granted. At your first glance, what would strike you the most about him, would be his youthful spirit. He had also delivered a talk in TechTatva last year.
Currently, he is working on his book which is about his journey, how he failed as a smoker but thrived as a cyclist. He is also a member of Mangalore Bicycle Club.

Atul Gurtu


For physicists like Atul Gurtu, matter is all that matters. Understanding the construction of life at a subatomic level is what they’ve dedicated their lives to.
Born on 16 January 1946, Atul Gurtu is one of India’s most renowned high energy physicist. His innate passion for fundamental physics drove him to join the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research(TIFR) in 1971, where he worked for almost 40 years, producing insightful research papers and working on projects with world famous organizations such as CERN. His multiple experimental collaborations with CERN, Geneva have made him a prominent name in the field of particle physics research. Mr. Atul also led a 70-member Indian team at CERN, participating in the first proton run at the Large Hadron Collider. His 40 year long dedicated work and contributions in the field of high energy physics continues to inspire many young minds into the field of science and research.

Sagarika Ghose

Starting her career as a journalist with The Times of India in 1991, over the years Sagarika Ghose has carved a niche for herself in the media sector. Currently serving as the consultant editor for TOI, in 2004 she was the first woman to host ‘Question Time India’, a panel discussion program which aired on BBC World. With an extensive list of accolades to her name, Ghose has worked for The Indian Express and The Outlook in the past.

She has been known for her strong views on secularism and has received equal parts appreciation and criticism by right-wing scholars for the same. Alongside the numerous awards, Ghose has also had a fair share of controversies linked to her name. Named as one of the thirteen famous women to have bagged a Rhodes scholarship by the Rhodes Project, she has authored two novels: The Gin Drinkers and Blind Faith. While the former is a tragicomedy highlighting colonialism and caste conflicts, the latter focusses on self-discovery. Previously the deputy editor and anchor of the CNN- IBN network, she resigned when the channel was taken over by Reliance Industries. Her most recent venture, Indira, India’s Most Powerful Prime Minister defines the high and low points of Indira Gandhi’s career, depicting her as one of the strongest world leaders in history.

Abhishek Upmanyu

Homo sapien. Comedian. Most importantly, Gareeb Aadmi.
Abhishek Upmanyu is one of the finer, young stand up comedians in India well known for his quick wit and Flash-like delivery of jokes that leave you gasping for air. He’s also the writer for On Air with AIB, the brain behind the jokes and one of the co-founders of the Twitter handle @gareebguy.
Hailing from Chandigarh, weighing a 150 pounds, he began working as a chemical engineer in Delhi and found that he had other interests. Comedy. He left his career behind and moved to Mumbai to get a start in the stand-up scene, and now has a YouTube channel that has amassed more than 360,000 subscribers where he posts videos of his performances. He entered the Delhi comedy circuit in December 2013 and it all went uphill from there.
The takeaway: once a GareebGuy, not always a GareebGuy.

Tanul Thakur

Tanul Thakur, the Mumbai based film critic, columnist, and independent journalist is another much awaited personality at The Manipal Conclave.
He was awarded the 62nd National Film Award for Best Film Critic. He has also been awarded the Mumbai Press Club Award for Best Lifestyle and Entertainment story. His works are like a breath of fresh air and he is known for his lucid writing style. Without being didactic he has the ability to view disparate elements in different perspectives and string them together in a very simple fashion which makes sense. Tanul Thakur is very straightforward in his movie reviews. He usually writes long-form narrative non-fiction. He has interviewed the likes of film critic Baradwaj Rangan, Cameron Bailey artistic director at Toronto International Film Festival, Siddiq Barmak on filmmaking in the middle of political turmoil in Afghanistan, and many more.
Tanul Thakur’s take on using memes for film review: “It looked like it was designed to tap into a certain kind of audience- a take down, with the sole intention of teaching the filmmaker a lesson. It can never be a well-nuanced argument of the film.”

Sharad Sagar

Image result for sharad sagar

In the year 2006, Sharad Vivek Sagar, a 14 year old boy from a remote village in Bihar, decided to set his foot down against the money-based education system rampant in India, believing in the right of every individual, rich or poor, to attain a proper education, which resulted in the formation of ‘We Aim High’, his first non-profit organization, with the support of UNICEF and other agencies. 2 years later, he took his vision a step further, founding ‘Dexterity Global’, a system of education platforms that serve undergraduate and high school students in South-East Asia.

As of 2017, Dexterity Global has helped over a million children in India and South-East Asia attain quality education irrespective of their financial background, with Sharad Sagar at the helm of this non-profit organization as its CEO. Sharad Sagar serves as a shining example of passion and talent utilized for the greater good of humanity, and has been an active part in several humanitarian events.

His chivalrous deeds have brought him wide spread recognition not only in India, but also the world. In 2016 he was featured in Forbes fifth annual ’30 under 30’ list of social entrepreneurs, joining the likes of Mark Zuckerberg and Malala Yousafzai. He was also featured on Rockefeller Foundation’s list of ‘100 Next Century Innovative Entrepreneurs’, and on Hindustan Times’ list comprising ’50 Heroes of Bihar’. He was invited by Barrack Obama for an event in the White House, becoming the first Indian to have been bestowed this honour. The accolades and the recognition are merely complementary to him, as he paces forward towards his vision of equality in education, not just in India, but across the globe.

Dr. Sachin Chaturvedi

Dr. Sachin Chaturvedi is Director General of Research and Information Systems for Developing Countries, a New Delhi–based autonomous policy research institute that specialises in issues related to international economic development, trade, investment and technology.
He has been a Developing Country Fellow at the University of Amsterdam (1996), Visiting Fellow at the Institute of advanced Studies, Shimla (2003), and Visiting Scholar at the German Development Institute (2007), besides being a visiting professor at JNU, New Delhi and Global Justice Fellow at Yale University. His experience includes working at he University of Amsterdam on a project on International Development Cooperation and Biotechnology for Developing countries supported by the Dutch Ministry of External Affairs. He has been a consultant for many notable organizations such as UNESCO, while also having led many research projects.
He holds a PhD in Economics. His major areas of research are based on trade, development, development aid and S&T and innovation issues.

Girish Nayandass

Girish Narayandass is the one of the head writers at All India Bakchod, a famous humor collective. He pursued his bachelor’s degree from Vishwakarma Institute of Technology and masters from Mudra Institute of Communication. Prior to entering comedy, he was into corporate advertising and was a part of organizations like DDB Mudra Group and Creativeland Asia, where he worked on brands like Cafe Cuba. While working with CLA, he was acquainted with Tammy Bhatt who was looking to enter the advertising field and they instantly took off. Armed with almost six years of experience in the adworld, Girish started working in the content and brand integration sector in AIB.

Regarding his work ethos, he believes in attention for detail, captivating the audience in a witty manner along with thinking visually and creating content within constraints. He also ensures that there is conscious discussion about social issues relevant to their content and the generation. Along with content, he is also into brand integration with companies like Swiggy. Projects like On Air with AIB and Honest Campus Placements gathered laud for him.

Yug Mohit Chaudhury

To deem one a beacon of justice is utopian today and Dr. Yug Mohit Chaudhary, a human rights lawyer of fortitude has dedicated his life in turning the tables around. An ardent admirer of W.B Yeats on empirical stances, he is the pillar of India’s vision of abolishing death penalty and fortifying the Law of Compensation against fabricated evidences.

Dr. Chaudhary is infamous for his crucial involvement in the cases for Afzal Guru, the Rajiv Gandhi assassination, Mahindra Nath Das and the like, arguing how death penalty in India is a lovechild of judicial controversy, weak circumstantial evidences and classism, groomed to suit political sentiments and situations. He goes by vouching for humans to find humanity in the justice system (or not), and by identifying fellow beings as humans first, saints or sinners after.






A big kudos to the organising team of The Manipal Conclave for assembling this wonderful stage. Don’t forget to attend the event, on 7th and 8th October 2017.


– by the MTTN Writing Team

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