TEDxDharamshala Blog

TEDxDharamshala aims at inspiring the community to step forward and take action.
Through ideas, we facilitate a conversation between thinkers, doers, change makers.
As a result, we open up avenues for dialogue to expose the local community to future possibilities
of growth in the fields of art, science, technology, business, etc.



The God(less) People: Death, Riots and Religion

If we look at the origin of every major religion, a common theme one finds is the desire to unite people. Unite them against the atrocities being faced by them, through love and peace. We take pride in associating with the religion we follow, for the divine principles that it teaches us. Religion covers up for the human emotions that education isn’t able to impart. While we might follow different religions and have different beliefs, one thing that is common amongst us all is the respect for life and an aim to create a peaceful world. So, where were these qualities that form the foundation stone of every religion when mobs of angry devotees lashed out across the nation, when the head of the spiritual group Dera Sacha Sauda, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, was convicted of rape and sexual exploitation of two of his disciples?

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Where the Mind is Still in Fear

“Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high”

The vision of a free India, a better India, drove the pioneers of our freedom struggle to leave no stone unturned in an attempt to see their dream fulfilled. The world was wrought in chaos when India came up with an idea that no one had ever tried successfully before: Non-violence. Our ancestors did all they could, went far and wide, to ensure us the free world that we live in today. On our 70th Independence Day, when most of those who fought for the world that we live in today is gone, it won’t do good to count what all is still wrong with our society.

It doesn’t do justice to those who liberated this country if we look at all the physical factors troubling this nation. The problem runs deeper. The problem lies in the fact that the generation of today knows not what the price of freedom is. While we are free under the law, our society still remains a slave to its thoughts.

The Chaos that Plagues Us

The problem is not with the external factors controlled by the economy or government policies. The issue lies with our understanding of this nation. To begin with, there is the casteism that breaks us up into unrelated sections rather than a united India. 70 years since that glorious victory over foreign suppression and yet we fail to see each other as brothers and sisters. It matters not what we make kids chant as a pledge in school assemblies every day. The ground reality is that we are divided mentally. We hear a name and we put characteristics on it. We accept or reject people based on an identity that they have no control over. You can find unity in Indians who are living abroad. For it is when they leave their homeland, do they understand its true value.

We have once again become a society divided into many factions despite having united for a common cause once. The 70 years since 1947 have taken a toll on our memories. But this is not all. For not only are we divided as people, we are divided as individuals as well. For a land that gave birth to philosophies like “Satyameva Jayate,” we are now in a very sorry state. The values of peace, harmony, and compassion, that have filled our history, now stand in an endangered situation. Greed has taken over our hearts. Evil rules our hearts and minds.

Going Back to Move Forward

Our history is tainted by its fair share of cruelty as well, but there also lies the bravery of those who chose to stand up to these things. The freedom struggle is only one example of that will to shape a better future for this great nation. Visionaries like Raja Ram Mohan Roy ended age old vicious practices that threatened the very existence of this society. When we look at all these tales of bravery and revolution, one common theme to be found is the inability for any new idea to stay in place unless it was successfully established in the minds of the masses. For Mahatma Gandhi, it was instilling unity. For King Ashoka, it was a respect for life and compassion. The list goes on but the fact remains that change needs to be brought from the inside.

No account of a change forced upon people by laws that lived on till date can be found anywhere. India is the birthplace of many religions that are known for their peaceful and benevolent teachings. Our folklore, no matter which region it comes from, talks about values important to the sustenance of humanity. May be rather than looking for answers in the history of foreign lands, what we need is a deep study of our own culture.

Building a Better Future

The future of a society lies in the hands of its youth, is what most people agree to. However, this completely disregards the importance of all the other age groups that shape this world every day. The youth is important in terms of taking things forward but those who teach them are even more essential to this process. What this country needs, more than anything else, is rational thinking. This coupled with morality in character can lead us into a future where we rise as a super power, not in terms of financial figures but as an enlightened society.

What is also important is that we stay true to our identity. The identity of an Indian, for a nation that strays away from itself, is sure to fall. While imbibing the virtues of foreign cultures in today’s globalized world is essential to our survival, this makes protecting our own beliefs even more necessary. Only when we open our minds and hearts can we be led to the world,

“Where the mind is led forward by thee

Into ever-widening thought and action

Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.”


Are you cut-out to be a SPEAKER at TEDxDharamshala? Tips for submitting a strong nomination.

TEDxDharamshala is a platform for change.

A change that can be brought through a creative and confident display of ‘ideas worth spreading’. Dharamshala has been an abode to countless inspirational figures who work towards the progress of the global community.

Keeping that in mind, we would like YOU to nominate speakers and performers who possess the same passion and desire to do something good for the world. These nominations can be of any age and from any walk of life and should carry with them an idea which inspires others to do more.

Here are a few guidelines to help you select your nomination(s):-

We need speaker/performers who believe in ‘Inspiring Possibilities’ in others. In simpler words, they must possess a strong and original idea. Not having spoken on any TED or TEDx stage earlier is a plus.



Make sure that their idea is backed by solid facts and properly constructed. No Pseudo science, please.



Your nominee(s) should be confident and smooth in their vocabulary. Ask yourself the following: “Is he/she the right person to display this idea?” or “Will he/she be able to bring out the full meaning and intent of their presentation?”



The scope of the idea being presented can be local or can be targetted towards a certain geography or section of the society, but, it should be open enough to be extrapolated to a global scale. If it relates directly to Dharamshala, then that is always a plus.



Nominate those who drive themselves for the betterment of society by sharing their ideas and not selling their product. Please don’t nominate people who intend on promoting a product or themselves. TEDxDharamshala or any other TEDx stage is not a place for advertisement or endorsement.

You can submit your nominations here.
We understand the time and effort that goes into your submissions, and for that, we are ever-grateful.

We look forward to unveiling the list of speakers soon. Till then, visit our website and follow us on Facebook(@TEDxDharamshala) to get regular updates.


Cross-cultural influences in Indian music

Music has been prevalent in the Indian subcontinent for millennia and is a big part of India’s heritage. Indian music practices date back to the Vedic times (3000 B.C.), with references in Rigpratishakhya, which explains the phonetic aspects of the Rigveda, Samaveda(contains the seven notes of the raga) and Natya Shastra, which elaborates on the octave system. From the ancient Sanskrit notations to the modern Sa Re Ga Ma, Indian music has imbibed various techniques and practices to become what it is today: flawless.




To understand how modern Indian music came to be, we have to understand what it was. Besides entertainment, music was used as a form of communication between the human and the divine. Ceremonies were celebrated by chanting verses in a repetitive fashion with minor vocal and instrumental improvisations or Alap. Several forms of music were common, like Samgana, Jatigan and Prabandh Sangeet. While all of them were based in Sanskrit, a form of music called Dhruvapada, hailed during the Gupta period, used Hindi as a medium. Dhruvapada is the Indian music form that paved way for the development of the Indian classical music we listen to today.



Indian music has over 4 million ragas or melodies that can be roughly categorized into Hindustani music and Carnatic music, which are majorly received in the northern and southern regions respectively.

Hindustani music acquires a lot of its embellishments from Tibetan and Persian music cultures. It relies on vocal and instrumental improvisations with idiom-based lyrics set in a loop.

Carnatic music is more lyric-based and follows the traditional octave pattern.

While both styles arose from the same form of classical music, Carnatic style is more in touch with its roots while Hindustani style has imbibed multiple folk tunes and regional melodies.

Sufi style music has had a great impact on Indian music. It has contributed to the Indian classical culture and has been prevalent since the Islamic era (9th century). Amir Khusrau has enhanced Indian classical music by introducing Persian and Arabic features in it. He is also known as the “father of Qawwali”.



Connectivity is a major factor in encouraging fusion techniques in music. Indian music has had a major reformation in the last score because of networking and media. Ease of access to creative collaborations among people from different forms of life has led to new ideas and genres. Entities like TEDxDharamshala have promoted and celebrated these ideas time and again and have enhanced the musical creativity of this generation. Examples of such collaborations include Coke Studio, The Dewarists, MTV Unplugged and many more. Contrary to popular belief, social conformity is not a bad thing if it leads to wondrous and creative music. Accepting opinions and opening our minds to new possibilities is what its all about!

Here is a list of famous collaboration you may have heard of:


Indian music is praised as one of the most versatile and innovative cultures all over the world. That’s because, when it comes to music, we are intricate, observant and adaptable. In a population of 1.3 billion, there are musicians who are jointly working on almost every style of music. In India, music is not a profession. It is a way of life.



Author: Amish Mathur

Feature Image: Michael Tompsett

5 Housemakers Turned Entrepreneurs Are Galvanizing The Human Race

She can work now but the nine to five bank job or the eight to two school job suits here more. She can get a lot of holidays, proper week offs, more perks, now the first day of her period off and the main point is that these jobs are less stressful and will not bother her much. So that she can responsibly work at home and then serve her family.

Seeing her in the field job of a journalist, marketing executive, etc. is something that the society cannot digest. She cannot travel alone it is not safe, she cannot attend late night corporate parties she might face some negatives consequences, in the end, if she wants to work then she should go early in the morning and come back by afternoon or evening. Seeing her work in the most adverse conditions is not so exotic to our eyes.

Breaking all the barriers, keeping aside all the thoughts of the society these housewives have shut the mouth of many people by establishing themselves as successful entrepreneurs.

1. Prerna Singh- Just Prerna

She is using the opportunity that everyone has in their hands. She started a Facebook page named Just Prerna, and today she is a celebrated reviewer of silver jewellery. Her business page attracts a lot of people who seek advice and approvals. Via

2. Bandita Bose- Unchainedreamz

Initially, she worked as a marketing expert, but her passion made her quit her lavish job and started her venture called Unchainedreamz. She sells DIY items and also encourages other people to join her and sell their masterpieces. Craft aficionado uses social media mainly to sell her items. Via

3. Prachi S Vaish- HopeNetwork.in

Prachi is the founder of a therapeutic website which helps people deal with different types of psychological problems. With an experience of ten years and an M.Phil in Clinical Psychology, she is helping people through phone and the internet. Via

4. Aditi Gupta- Menstrupedia

“Shush! You don’t talk about those days so loudly” This is a very dialogue that we girls hear very often. Aditi too was brought up in a traditional family of India. Breaking all the barriers and proving the myths wrong she started India’s first comic magazine based on periods. Via

5. Rekha Kakkar: My Tasty Curry

My taste curry is a personal food blog of Rekha which is read by millions of Indians. She writes about simple Indian dishes and also shares the recipes. She is a foodgrapher. Via

ARTISTIC REVOLUTION: Art forms can change the world

For centuries, people with vivid imagination have conglomerated to accomplish certain goals, which have brought about a change in a way that has affected almost everyone. These artistic movements have left a significant mark on history itself, creating trends and setting them in stone (quite literally). Art has no age, religion or sex. It starts with an idea and a purpose of progressive enlightenment. Art forms have risen and subdued throughout time, but never has one died out.

History teaches us one thing: people die but ideas survive.


The first ever artistic movement can be dated back to 400 BCE when the Roman and Greek architecture was revered. Since then, creativity has taken many forms: The Renaissance, Baroque, Mannerism, Abstract and Romanticism to name a few. These art reforms happened for various reasons, but the one reason, which is common for all, is progress.

There is no progress without change.


An artistic revolution is a kind of natural selection process, i.e. only the best prevail. A widespread trend, a strong motivating factor, and creativity are the important elements that can bring about change on a massive scale. For example, during The Renaissance, great painters like Rafael and Da Vinci had strong connections to spread their message to a large number of people, they had the motivation for transforming public mentality and, of course, they had immense creativity.


The past 50 years have seen many artistic movements. Art forms like hyper-realism, funk art, toyism, pseudo-realism and much more have made their mark. This generation has a gigantic imagination potential, which has produced strong artistry that asserts progressiveness. Social media has eliminated the problem of getting a piece of creative out in the open, making it easy for artists to get in touch with like-minded people. Also, it provides a platform to display the process and effort that goes into making a creative and promoted a DIY trend. Some of the best DIY creatives are:

Plastic spoon lamp shade


Bottle flowers


Shoes decor


Clipboard wall art


Paper rosette backdrop



Art will keep evolving along with the society’s evolution of thoughts and advanced knowledge and tools of expression. Whether there will be an art movement on a global scale is hard to say, but we do hope that amidst all the chaos, we are fortunate enough to find the Picassos and Gaudis of today.

And if we are really fortunate, we might come to a cognizant realization – There is an artist in all of us, giving each of us the power and divinity to disrupt.


Author: Amish Mathur

Ways In Which We Are Complicating Our Lives More

Life is an emotional rollercoaster ride. There are turns, flips, and bumps. We have to stay strong and keep moving forward. We have a lot of roles to play at different stages of life. The key is passionately working. Everyone wants a life which is less complicated and smoothly moving. But there are certain things that we do that increases the pressure in our lives. This leads to stress and pushes you to nowhere.

Don’t you want to know? Read Ahead.

#1. You avoid risking

There is always a fifty-fifty possibility. The outcome might be disastrous but why don’t you at the other side of the coin, it can change your life for ever. The greater the risk, the higher is the intensity of success. How will you know if the water is cold if you don’t step in it? Via

#2. You always compare yourself with others

There will be always someone who is ahead of you and also there will be people who are behind you. Being contented with you have is the mantra. Aisha is working with an MNC, Pihu owns the latest gadget, Rakesh bought a car, this list will never end. But it can only if you want. Via

#3. You seek validation

Your inner confidence is essential. If you like wearing red lipstick to work, wear it with confidence what others think should not matter. Others approval should not matter. If someone compliments you accept it with grace, and if someone criticises you, take it with a smile. Via

#4. You temporize

Projects pile up, and you end up not meeting the deadlines. Prioritize and plan carefully. Don’t give anyone a chance to scold you. Make mental notes or write it in your diary. Procrastination is a complication. Via

#5. You sit idle

Don’t wait for the perfect chance will not walk up to up but you will have to struggle a lot to find it. Life is not as smooth as a cheesecake. You have to develop and create your opportunities. Via

#6. You hold yourself

Set yourself free. Don’t stop yourself from doing anything. Become a vagabond then the world will seem better. Don’t clutch things too tightly let them go. You are on a diet, but your heart wants you to visit the most trending ice cream parlour please don’t think just go. Via

#7. You complain

Your life and your decisions. If the decisions turn out to be good, then you boast about them and if they go turn out wrong then take the responsibility of them. Grumbling only leads to stress. There is always someone whose life is more miserable than yours. You have at least something the other might not even have a roof. Via

The past is a blunt knife that will tear you apart. Live the present with a smile and learn from your mistakes. Let the future be a surprise but work hard for it.

The Image of ME

The philosophy of Yin and Yang symbolizes how opposing forces have to work in harmony in order for sustainability to prevail. Light and dark, good and evil, happiness and despair, they all go hand in hand. One after the other. But this principle doesn’t just work on forces in the outside world but within humans as well. Yin and Yang also symbolize the presence of masculine and feminine forces in all of us. While feminine forces are stronger in some, masculine forces prevail in the others. However, this isn’t where it ends. There is also a balance of good and evil, bravery and cowardice, kindness and meanness, compassion and cruelty, and every other element that makes us human.

We all feel we know ourselves. Is that true? Are you sure that you are what you think you are? Think again, for there is also a balance between what you think of yourself and who you truly are. While the former is always wonderful by our standards, it is in our darkest moments that we face the latter. A you that is everything you hate.

The Dual Personality

We all enter and leave this world alone. But the time that we spend here is wasted looking for approval. Friends, family, strangers, we try to put our best foot forward, or at least our version of it, all the time. What does this lead to? The presence of a lesser known personality made up of everything about yourself that you know the world doesn’t approve of. Hatred, jealousy, despair, insecurity, all need to take a back seat when you are on stage.

“All the world’s a stage,

And all the men and women merely players;

And all the men and women merely players;

They have their exits and their entrances,

And one man in his time plays many parts”

While Shakespeare talks about the parts we play in the course of our life, this stage exposes us to a script as well, that needs to be followed. A script to help you fit in.


Happiness is a deception. It is when we are happy and things are going just as we want, that putting a façade is an easy task. Trying times expose the reality behind that mask we all wear. There never exists an equilibrium between our real and mirror image. Most of the times, the latter is stronger. This collision between our two personalities often leads to the cracking of the outer shell. Thus, comes out poison through the cracks in this shell. A poison that is so violent that not only does it engulf those around us, but our own selves as well.

The best thing to do seems to keep the mask intact. Make it strong and impenetrable. Let no one see who you are when the night is dark. The truth is, many people can do that. Very few are incapable of controlling the charade. But at the end of the day, those few are the happy ones.

The Secret to Happiness

Recently, when my shell was about to crack, a friend, on a very dark and stormy night, told me, that only those who can balance the two sides of their personality can ever be happy. It isn’t as easy as it sounds, but yes, that is the key. The problem is that we waste too much of our time pleasing others. So much, that we forget to please ourselves. The moral compass works well in most people. Following your intuition is the key. No matter how well rehearsed you are, the script can never ensure happiness.

The first step is understanding our true selves. Analyze yourself when you go through tough times. Figure out your weaknesses and turn them into your strengths. The objective is to make yourself happy and letting out your hatred and anger might not be the solution. The answer lies in being at terms with the world.

No one is a saint, and it is impossible to expect that we will ever overcome the drawbacks of humanity. That is why Yin and Yang aren’t about the supremacy of Yang (light) over Yin (dark). It is about harmonizing the two opposing forces. Accepting people for what they are, yourself, fate, and believing in a better tomorrow is the secret to happiness. In the words of Scarlett O’Hara,

“Tomorrow is Another Day”


Good vs. Evil

The world is a sad place. A pessimistic statement to begin a blog with, but it couldn’t be truer. I’m sure everyone reading this will agree to. The emotions and qualities of the human nature that are supposed to bind us together are dwindling with every generation and what was once a social society has now become a pack of hunters. The geek in me believes that we aren’t very far from turning into the world that was depicted in Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games.

Religion was one way of bringing people together and binding them in a common thread of shared love and beliefs. The moment we were left on our own we started using this to wage wars against the people we were taught to love. The fight between Good and Evil is an ancient one, which is probably as old as the very existence of this planet. But which side are we fighting on?

The Human Nature

In my more philosophical moments, I realized that the problem begins with the venom that is inside each of us. The thing is, we all believe we are right. No one who was truly moral has ever been ignorant to the fact that there is a very fine line between virtue and vice. The problem is that we see ourselves in others. The things that we imagine someone might do to us, without a pre-existing proof of the belief, are things that we are capable of doing to people. If you didn’t get what I mean, then let me put it in more simpler terms. If you feel that someone might betray your secrets, the problem is that you suffer from the same inability to keep things to yourself.

Ever wondered why it’s easy to fool a child with fake promises? The answer is that this principle of seeing ourselves in others applies to them as well. The mind of a human is purest in the early years of life, free from bias and prejudice, and can’t possibly imagine that there could be any wrong in this world. Which we take advantage of to get our way.

What is Evil?

The subject of the blog isn’t human nature, it’s good vs. evil. So, what classifies as evil? How do we know whether we are in the wrong? The answer is a simple one, but that which most of us have forgotten: Don’t do that, results of which harm someone. That solves many problems if you think about it. Corruption, terrorism, you name it. Unless you don’t name a health problem, I will assume that my point has been successfully put across.

Once we put another life, the creation of God, above ourselves and our beliefs, true peace can be achieved, inside out. However, not only is this world sad, it is also a bad one. Anyone who tries to clear their conscience gets hit hard in the gut in the long run. But I suppose that is where true bravery comes in. Bravery can’t be defined by the lack of fear of death. True bravery is the struggle to live one’s life in a way that it means something to others.


Eternal Peace

The strategy that would help good prevail isn’t the eradication of evil. Peace is a temporary state after all. The strategy is the conversion of the way we view the world. The solution is to live your life, not for yourself, but for those around you. Once we begin to share the pain of those we share this planet with, not just humans, but everyone. Once we rise above ourselves, can we ever, hope to truly conquer evil.


Boys Don’t Cry

Women rights issues go far and wide. The atrocities that they have faced at the hands of men and even their own gender at times is what drives them to continue the struggle to achieve equality. In the process, we forget one gender that has been ignored all this while. Someone who hasn’t cried for help yet but is being ruined since time immemorial. These are humans whose moral compass is disconcerted by the society, leading to a lot of bad karma building up for them. We are to be blamed, ladies and gentlemen, we all are to be blamed for this moral dilemma that we have been instilling in our fellow beings. We the pioneers of a better world and even our ancestors, are to be blamed for the plight of MEN.

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