The Silicon Valley of India
Went to Mumbai to be a part of the CNBC Awards for small and medium sector entrepreneurs. Over 125,000 applied, and they arrived at 18 awardees. In many ways, it is these small and medium sector entrepreneurs who are the legs of the Indian economy. The Indian economy moving ahead - in spite of all odds - is essentially rolling on the efforts of these people who have small and medium enterprises across the country, whose efforts and success do not depend on what happens in the international market. The variety of technologies that are being innovated from this sector is quite incredible. And these are real entrepreneurs, not popped up because of some market, or some other support from elsewhere. These are real entrepreneurs with fire in their belly to succeed, and they have really done a great job.
I happened to be there to give the award to the entrepreneur of the year. When I saw these people, many from small towns across the country who built these enterprises, and their hopes, aspirations, efforts and skills, I could not help from speaking out and saying how, unfortunately, a booming economy is being dismantled almost systematically by political forces; and I said as much in the presence of a few prominent political leaders. I also made a fifteen minute presentation on ethical governance on the corporate and business world…A very well attended program.
Then took a late night flight to Bengaluru for a three-day Inner Engineering program packed with corporate honchos, business leaders, and socialites, which was tucked away in the basement conference hall of a leading hotel in the city. In Bengaluru with the Bengaloorinavaru*… The first program of its kind in Bengaluru, and an enthusiastic band of 250 that also included some artists and a kanjira** player who was here for Yaksha Festival; he hopped up mid-session to join in with Sounds of Isha.
It has been a long time, almost twenty five years, since I closely interacted with Kannada people. It is funny how people are so different. The Tamil people are intense and always a surge, but just across the border, the people of Kannada stock are even physically not so robust - their emotions and energy so much gentler than the rollick of Tamil people.
I had to participate in the opening of a mall here and the people shed their usually hesitant and timid behavior and went for me in full force. The organizers had a tough time controlling the crowds that they had not expected. Even our volunteers were not ready for the crowd and its response to my presence. One more city where I have lost the pleasure of anonymity.
As I see numberless tall buildings coming up and ever-clogged traffic, a wave of nostalgia hits me about a gentle, pretty city full of gardens, early morning mist carrying right up to noon, colonial-time coffee shops, quaint proprietor-owned bookshops…a gentle big brother to Mysore City where I grew up. But today, Bengaluru, its original name being 'Bendakaluru' - a town where ‘the beans are well-cooked’. From Kempe Gowda to Sadananda Gowda. *** From the sylvan palaces of the Maharajas to become the Silicon Valley of India. Transformation of this city makes you both proud and sad of the things that are lost and can never be regained, and things that have been gained and cannot be discounted.
Bengaluru has become a name that nobody in the tech world can ignore. It has become the hub of software technology. Among the citizenry, usually the politicians are decidedly the most low tech people, but here, the members of the legislature in Bengaluru are not willing to accept the iPad – the 2nd version. They feel it is too low tech for them and they want iPad 3, the latest version. So... talk about high tech.
We finished the Inner Engineering program at evening 7:00, had a dinner meeting till 9:30, and then took an 11:00 flight back to Mumbai. So early morning 2:00 I got to Mumbai and next day was packed with meetings. That evening we had an In Conversation with the Mystic event and this time around it was with K.V. Kamath, the man who built ICICI Bank to its current prominence and who is hugely respected and valued. He continues to be the Non-Executive Chairman of ICICI Bank and is now Executive Chairman of Infosys. The value of who K.V. Kamath is, is not completely said in the positions that he holds. Just about anybody in the financial world seeks him as a mentor. He has been a mentor to various, super-successful entrepreneurs, and is the most respected name in the country and the world in the banking sector. He had come very well-prepared. It was nice to see that he took the trouble to read Mystics Musings, watch a few videos, and prepare questions that would be relevant for the evening.
The event was attended by the ‘Who’s Who’ of the financial world in Mumbai. Started off with a fabulous rendition by Sounds of Isha with Narayan as the lead singer. For the 2 ½ hours of this event, people sat there absolutely engaged, and it was nice for me to be exploring something other than the usual questions that come to me of spiritual significance, but of the business world and economic problems, and solutions for the country and the world. This is, in a way, a kind of steppingstone for the educational initiatives that Isha is taking on – about ten technical and business fields - and also a very spectacular conference that we are planning in November/December which is titled ‘Bioscope of Entrepreneurial Leadership’. The super top talent in the world will be participating in making this happen. We have already roped in some of the biggest names in the field and this conference will be taking shape.
If any of you want to be there, if you don’t want to get a regret letter, you must start now. Before we even start the registration, you must register because it is going to be just 120 people. The top number is only 120 people. Very prominent names are participating and conducting this event for us in the ashram on the 29th and 30th of November and the 1st and 2nd of December. So, if you don’t want to receive a well-worded regret letter, you have to really start now.
And as one of our well wishers offered a ten-acre land around Bangalore to start an institution - either a school, college or rejuvenation center - I had to take a late night flight from Mumbai to Bangalore. Saw the site today morning and drove down to Coimbatore for a meeting where I was late by a few hours, and hence the Spot also late by twelve hours.
* Bengaloorinavaru – People of Bengaluru
** Kanjira – a South Indian frame drum which Sadhguru also plays.
*** Kempe Gowda – the founder of Bengaluru. Sadananda Gowda – the current Chief Minister.