In the last year or so, I saw several public discussions around data protection, privacy, cross border data flow, technology and law. Taking a lead in organizing such discussions of public importance are two emerging and quirky platforms in India namely The Dialogue and Medianama. Kazim Rizvi (founder of The Dialogue) and Nikhil Pahwa (founder of Medianama), are doing a fantastic job at curating these events.
Both platforms bring together a diverse group of people including retired military, IAS, IFS officers and serving government and private professionals, all deeply passionate about India’s security, sovereignty coupled with data and deep analysis. These people share their insights and experiences, helping shape informed thoughts and pushing discourse in the right direction. There are also an eclectic and energetic group of young thought leaders working as lawyers, researchers, journalists, technologists, teachers and corporate leaders in these discussions, each of whom brings with them their own dreams, for themselves and India. With each event I attended, I saw the discourse getting better and warmer. Sometimes, I saw faces, familiar from previous conferences and events, which helped form a beautiful ecosystem of like-minded people who are willing to guide my thoughts towards meaningful action.
At these events, you mostly see discussions around policies, bills and laws. Given the absence of such discussions in our parliament on these issues presently, these civil society platforms are helping fill this void and ultimately leading to a more well-informed law-making process. To my mind, these platforms could also be seen as the ‘modern day parliament’, or like a friend said ‘a model parliament’. After all, even these platforms are by the people, for the people, and of the people. Hence, one must thank the organizers of these platforms for constantly working towards turning their idea into reality. It is a lot of hard work to bring people together to do something constructive. It is also important to thank the sponsors of such events who, one might think to have their own personal interests, but the fact is that the content at these platforms is well moderated and you find that you have people representing their own independent views too and not just views which are beneficial to the sponsors. The hope here is that both platforms will continue to encourage independent and a fierce review of matters of public importance without letting the interests of any particular entity or individual find more space than necessary. Overall, the discussions are well balanced and independent. For anyone interested in nation building, you must try to attend some of these events, observe and perhaps even present your thoughts where relevant.
Diverse participation by people who dream of making this world a better place
On a related note, I would also like to share an observation from a recent event on the future of technology policy held here in Delhi. It seems that lawyers outnumber people representing other professions and walks of life. One of the participants was not very happy about this. At this point, I felt that one cannot disagree with the importance of having a diverse group of participants at public discourses. It would be great to see an eclectic group of technologists, behavioral scientists, poets, writers, artists, filmmakers, sportsmen, entrepreneurs, philosophers, leaders from all fields, polymaths and all interested in furthering the interests of nature, mankind, their nation, organizations and themselves. Preferably, in that order.
It is important to thank all the people who come together to be part of a thought-provoking conversation because it is only when human beings engage peacefully that the world moves forward meaningfully.
I would like to end by cheering for many more meaningful public discourses where we find an ever-increasing number of lawyers too because if you look at history you will find that lawyers have always played a key role in shaping the future of nations and the world! You must encourage the lawyers of your country to participate, stay engaged and learn from meaningful discussions so that they are able to represent your interests vehemently if and when the need arises.
Thanks for your attention and time.