By: Atul Saswat & Rahul Sudhakar

“Ideas shape the course of history.” – John Maynard Keynes, British Economist

TED stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design. It was started over 30 years ago as a non-profit organization in California committed to ‘Ideas Worth Sharing’. It covers topics ranging from science to culture to other global issues.

TEDx is an extension program which is run under the brand of TED to bring a TED like experience to a wider range of audience. The main difference between TED and TEDx events are that the former takes more of a global approach while the latter primarily focuses on a local community organized by curious individuals who seek to discover ideas and spark conversations. Officially, the ‘x’ in TEDx stands for independently organized TED events.

A TEDx talk showcases specific agenda where speakers present their ideas in under 18 minutes.

VSSUT, Burla conducted its first edition of TEDx on 29 and 30 September with the former for a gala dinner and the latter for the main event at Sir Visveswaraya Auditorium inside the University Campus.

TEDx has a certain X Factor which for us, are the organizers. They are the ones who select the theme and interesting speakers. It is because of their hard work and diligence and the sleepless nights put in order to make the event a grand success. The event was organized in collaboration with the EDP Cell, VSSUT, Burla under the license of TED. It saw a unique gathering of leading thinkers and innovators who unleashed new ideas and information.

The gala dinner was held on 29 September at Hotel Silver Moon, Sambalpur which welcomed the speakers, faculties of the university and the dignitaries of the district to launch the TEDx VSSUT brochure and officially mark the inception of the event.

The main event on 30 September ran through a total of 5 sessions with intermediate breaks, for refreshments and musical and dance performances by the University’s official Music & Dance Clubs – Souls and Vibranz.

A total of 17 speakers shared their ideas on the theme of the event – ‘SOLVING THE UNSOLVED’.


1. Jagdish Mahapatra

The event was kickstarted by Jagdish Mahapatra, Managing Director of Crowd Strike, Asia, a ‘93 batch alumnus. Having shared his presence on TED Talks India Nayi Soch hosted by Shah Rukh Khan, he went on to establish the importance of choosing our role models or heroes and inculcating the habits that made them the person that they are.


2. Dhiraj Sinha

Dhiraj Sinha, a ‘92 batch alumnus of UCE Burla and IIM Calcutta, Vice President of Capgemini has been a part of the Indian IT Industry since mid-90s. He was a part of the core team of Globsyn Technologies that set up the first IT finishing school in the country. He unveiled the fundamental specifics for testing and that extended to the spectrum of business to create a gravity of attention.


3. Rakesh Barik

Rakesh Barik, a ‘95 batch alumnus of UCE Burla, Director and Technology Consulting Leader at Deloitte, India is a pioneer in the skills of comprehending the necessity to spark digital transformations within the organization. He brought to attention the inevitability of digital emergence and ways to adapt to it to create a faster, secured and systematic world.


4. Pinaki Ranjan Mishra

Pinaki Ranjan Mishra, a ‘92 batch alumnus of UCE Burla, is a Partner and Sector Leader at Ernst & Young. Having witnessed the growth of the consumer sector in various successful companies, his interest remains keenly rooted to understand the reasons for their successes and failures. He sparked his ideas on financial, retail and other domains dissecting into the fundamentals.


5. Sreekumar Chatra

Sreekumar Chatra, a ‘91 batch alumnus of UCE Burla and IIM Ahmedabad, is currently a partner at Edelweiss Infrastructure Fund. In his previous roles he has assumed responsibility in two of the Big Four Accounting Firms, PwC and KPMG. The talk revolved around his experiences in principal investment, financial advisory and management consulting and his learnings off the profession realm.


6. Bodhisattwa Sanghapriya

Bodhisattwa Sanghpriya, a 2018 batch alumnus of VSSUT, Burla is the founder of the startup InventGrid based in Odisha. He has been awarded the Youth Star by the Russian Federation for his contribution to space science. Founding member of VSSUT student satellite team, founding secretary of Govt of Odisha Innovation Cell established in VSSUT, Burla are the laurels that stands testimony to his repute. The talk was enriched with the stimulation to be an innovator and to contribute positively to the society.


7. Athar Shahab

Athar Shahab, an ‘89 batch alumnus of UCE Burla, is the CEO of Nabha Power Limited (wholly owned subsidiary of Larsen & Toubro). He is a veteran graced with excellent management acumen, policy and financial advisory, business development and consulting ingenuity. He endowed his ideology of acting and not hesitating to take risks in life to achieve success.


8. VSLV Team

Apurwa Masook, founding member of VSSUT Student Satellite Team delivered the talk on how the team managed to step into the steep terrains of Rocket Science by building India’s First Multipurpose Student Rocket, registering their name in the Limca Book of Records. He shared his vision about the future of satellites and rockets in the upcoming future.


9. Rashmi Ranjan Mohapatra

Rashmi Ranjan Mohapatra, a ‘92 batch alumnus of UCE Burla, Managing Director of Kemppi, India has shouldered managerial positions at sales and marketing as well as acted as a panellist in Confederation of Indian Industry. Having been an integral member of Skill Development in India by setting up centre of excellence with 20 institutions since 2011, he expressed his vision on Automation and IoT coupled with the welding industry and thus, bringing a refinement in the sector.


10. Suraksha Jain

Suraksha Jain is a 17-year-old budding social entrepreneur, designer, inventor and a social activist. She encompasses diverse activities such as the designing of an e-bicycle to avert pollution, operation of a non-profit organization of sanitary pads to spread awareness, ensure menstrual hygiene and make the product cost-inexpensive, encouraging tobacco sellers to engage in healthier professions and by teaching in the slum areas at the weekends. She delivered the talk on Indian Education system, the faults and reforms that could be brought in to make education a wonderful mix of passion, knowledge and satisfaction.


11. Arun Krishnamurthy

Arun Krishnamurthy is an Indian environmental activist who has initiated the campaign for cleaning various lakes across India. He is known for founding the NGO, Environmentalist Foundation of India (EFI) in 2011 based in Chennai. Having resigned from Google after winning a Google Impact Award, he took on cleaning an astounding number of 17 lakes and bagged the prestigious Rolex Awards for Enterprise in 2012 for scientific lake restoration in Chennai. The talk reflected his inclination towards environment and appealed the audience to act on the immediate threats against it.


12. Krishna Trilok

Krishna Trilok, writer of the fantasy novel Sharikrida, Novel Writing Workshop Captain of the Climber and official biographer of the celebrated composer, singer and music director, A.R.Rahman. He prefers being called a storyteller than a writer. He emphasised on the importance of balancing academics so as to not let it hold you back in chasing your dreams and dived into his journey of storytelling to become a passionate writer.


13. Sagarika Nath

Sagarika Nath, Odisha Cadre IPS Officer RR 2016, stands testimony to the genuine pedigree of feminism. She has raised the bar by engaging in community policing, rescuing 19 female victims from human trafficking, and drug abuses. She dispelled the stereotype of policing being a masculine job and the hype of UPSC being a tough examination and to be steadfast in one’s dream and hard work to achieve all that is considered beyond the bounds.


14. Ashesh Padhy

Ashesh Padhy, a ‘92 batch alumnus of UCE Burla is the Senior Vice President at Reliance Power, Nagpur and a known face in the power industry. He has played a vital role in transforming UCE, Burla into VSSUT, Burla. He is a true leader when it comes to building teams, selling dreams and solving problems. He provided insight into the history of the land and shared his perspective on how the problem of India’s political and economic subjugations can be met with a solution.


15. Yogesh Chopade

Yogesh Chopade, V. Faculty at Symbiosis & Corporate Trainer has led the journeys of a Consultant, Business Process Architect and Project Manager. With 17 years of Industry experience with SAP implementations, supply chain and logistics, he has also authored two books discussing on the domains of career and life. He unfolded his multi-faceted persona on developing the nuances of life.


16. D Prakash Rao

D Prakash Rao, a social activist elevated from the mere status of a tea seller in the slums of Cuttack to a good Samaritan after featuring in the PM’s talk-show ‘Mann ki Baat’ He has been running a primary school called ‘Asha-o-Aswasana’ catering the need of 75 students’ education, food and health facilities. He expressed the importance of solving the concerns of the society, on the capacity we are bestowed with, out of empathy rather than expectations.


17. Sruti Mohapatra

Sruti Mohapatra, a social activist and a crusader for people with disabilities is the founder of ‘Swabhimaan’, a cross disability organization, advocating for and serving people with disabilities. With an illustrious academic career, recipient of Best Student Award in 1978 in Utkal University, National Debating Champion, she even qualified for the Civil Services Examination in Allied Services. The talk encouraged to act against all the odds and invoke the crusader in us.


Besides the 17 talks, 4 more TED talks were featured on the screen previously conducted across the globe adhering to the theme of ‘SOLVING THE UNSOLVED’.

With over 200 attendees, the first edition of TEDx VSSUT was brought to the conclusion. The convergence of the bright minds with the blend of inspiring talks and enthralling performances ensured the event to be a grand success. Although the journey was quite difficult from being rejected twice to finally obtaining the license and conducting an event of such a huge stature. The university administration played an integral part by serving as the backbone and supporting the event and team in tough times.


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