Bringing TEDx to the mountains–the inspiration.

TEDxDharamshala licensee, Srijan Sharma, speaks about what inspired him to bring TEDx to the mountains and what it taught him.

TEDxDharamshala is happening on January 13th, 2019 and as everyone is warming up to the event, we got the licensee, Srijan Sharma, to talk about what made him bring TEDx to this small town and way. He sat down with one of the enablers and here is what he had to say:

Why did you want to be a TEDx licensee?

I like projects that work at the community-level. Fostering and impacting communities for innovations and growth; to traverse through the possibilities of new ideas and get acquainted with the ideas that are already out there, is something that intrigues me. I am very curious that way. And TEDx events are one such platform and I wanted to contribute to the community.

Where did this inspiration of community building come from?

Majorly from the projects I worked on when I was in college. Along with some of my co-college attendees, I started a small enterprise called 365 degrees with the intention of developing learning-based communities. We were all over the place, honestly. But we were dedicated to make wonders happen.

Why didn’t you just bring 365 degrees in Dharamshala then? Why the switch to TEDx?

I would have loved to. But my previous experience with TEDx events in other cities taught me that this platform gives an international access and perspective to the community. For a place like Dharamshala, that is something that will inevitably come. I was just inspired to be a part of its early stage.

Something that will inevitably come, can you talk about that more?

I believe that Dharamshala is at the tip of becoming a cosmopolitan city. The city already has significant international influence with its mixed cultures and heritage. But it has been on that tip for a prolonged time now. I believe that a contributing factor there is the lack of awareness of this potential at the community level.

When I was exploring the community for TEDxDharamashala 2017, I learnt that this city has ideas and concepts which, if developed to their fullest, can have prominent global impact. But the community in itself isn’t aware of that. One of our speakers last year, for instance, Sarika Singh, has been working on narrating and writing the journey of Thangka art in Dharamshala and a majority of the community was unaware of it before she spoke at the conference.

“The focus is never who did something
different but what did someone do differently.”

And how do you think the TEDx platform can do that?

TEDx is a neutral platform; it is standard for all those who participate in it. I essentially view it as a get together of people who are curious to scout through the different things that are going on in the world. They come, they interact, and they learn. TEDx is all about ideas. The focus is never who did something different but what did someone do differently.

Putting these ideas out there build an open space for imaginations to run wild. And well, that is essentially what I aim for this conference to be, a trigger that can make imaginations run wild.

What is the theme for TEDxDharamshala 2019?

Imagined Realities. It could be looked at as a continuance of our 2017 theme, Inspiring Possibilities, where we had participants talking about the all the possible wonders that can happen. This year, we have brought together people who imagined a possible way of life and worked towards turning that into reality.

When we’re talking about building a community, there has to be a sense of identification with the community that you address. How well do you identify with Dharamshala?

I am just beginning to explore this city. But in the relationship that I have already developed, I am amazed by the wonder that this city, and its people, is. And it’s because of that amazement that I am motivated to make this happen. There is potential here and I just want to make an effort towards realizing it.

I don’t know the community inside and out but I am familiar with it. I want to build a better TEDx experience this year. And it’s only my identification with the community that is making that happen.

How do you think people of Dharamshala are receiving TEDx?

It is pretty good, to say the least. TEDx in Dharamshala works as a community and during these two years, we have had so many curious, inspiring, and brilliant volunteers work with us. And it has, more or less, starting developing into a community we wanted to build. And it is growing. So, I would say we are doing something right.

What do you want to say to this community?

“If you won’t then who will?”

Dharamshala is an amazing place. That goes without saying. But what I like most about this place is that it is so accepting. Everyone is welcome here, without any judgments. And I think it is that very quality of this community that can make the impossible happen.

It’s not as much a message as a request to this community to be a part of our efforts; to work with us for driving it into innovations because if you will not, then who will?

About Srijan Sharma

Born in Jhalandhar and brought up in Dharamshala, Srijan Sharma defines himself as a doer. He is an enabler who always wants to push boundaries and grow. He hasn’t done a good job in separating his work life from his personal one so it’s not possible to say what he likes to do in his free time. But, he has tried his hand at blogging, designing, entrepreneurship, and even marketing. He can be quite irritating at times but he doesn’t seem to be bothered by that. One of his hobbies includes purchasing domains on the internet for no apparent reasons. Other than that, he is pretty boring.


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