The moral of the story… is the story.
Nations that tell the best stories — and not those with the largest armies or nuclear arsenals — will lead the world this century, said Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor.
“It’s the country that tells the better story that prevails,” Tharoor, who was speaking at the final session of the TED India conference, said. “India is and must remain the land of the better story.”
TED or Technology, Entertainment, Design is an academic body that holds annual conferences in the US devoted to “ideas worth spreading”. This was the first time a TED conference was held in India.
Tharoor cited the example of Bollywood films as stories that would shape the way people across countries looked at India in the years to come.
Counties in the 21st century would assert their power through communication rather than aggression, the minister said. “Countries are being judged by an audience that’s been fed on a continuous diet of social networking and communication.”
Tharoor’s fondness for social networking is well known. He used new media tools extensively during his Lok Sabha campaign and is said to have 100,000 followers on social networking site Twitter.
He said the rapid increase of connectivity in India, including the expansion of mobile phone networks, had empowered the underclass.
“Governments aren’t good at telling stories but people see a society for what it is and that will make a difference in the information age,” he said.
“If there’s anything worth celebrating about India, it is that India is determined to liberate and fulfil the creative energies of its people,” he added. “That’s why TED belongs in India.”
The event has drawn some criticism because of the high attendance cost — more than $2,000 (Rs 93,500) per participant.
Other speakers at TED India on Saturday included playwright Eve Ensler and management guru C.K. Prahalad.