The tale of a startup – from Gania to Europe

The tale of a startup – from Gania to Europe
Start- up is the name of the game in Entrepreneurship as it is a good time to be an entrepreneur in Asia's third-biggest economy. Startups are hitting new highs in terms of their valuations. Global investors are ploughing funds into the sector and culturally there is a greater acceptance of entrepreneurship in the country, inspiring Indians to try their hand at setting up the next potential billion-dollar company. Ten years ago, we were only talking about IT startups, but now it cuts across everything, ranging from e-commerce to fitness to art. The home-grown success stories of startup ventures like Flipkart, Swiggy, OYO and many more are adding to the attraction for future entrepreneurs as more and more of them jump on the startup bandwagon. All this is true and thriving…

Festivities, down memory lane

Festivities, down memory lane
'The stories of how I grew up in village, my school life and my childhood tickle my memory' Come festivities and I am driven down the memory lane by their nostalgic charm. The festive season starts right after the Ganesh puja and continues till the end of Kartik month of the Hindu calendar. The stories of how I grew up in village, my school life and my childhood tickle my memory. About four decades ago, I lived in a remote village in Kalarabanka in Cuttack district of Odisha. The village lacked basic amenities, even electricity. There was a narrow road by the riverside across which most of the modest houses were built. Even without the trappings of a comfortable life my village was unparalleled with its green cover, ever-welcoming Paika…

KISS exemplifies Food Security

KISS exemplifies Food Security
Food is an essential requirement for functioning of all essential life processes. It is vital for good health and in prevention of diseases and their cure. Unhealthy food leads to numerous diseases and body malfunctioning of the organs. Food has since time immemorial has been the cause of integration and dissension of human civilizations. When man moved from the nomadic and hunter-gatherer stage to the sustained and settled life style; agriculture became the crucible of evolutionary change. Agriculture became a reliable source of food supply and the backbone of economies around the world and the primary contributor to the socio-economic development of any human society. Rampant poverty prevails in many countries despite their rich natural resources of the 7 billion people inhabiting this world 795 million people in do not…

KISS, Kalinga Fellowship, Kanya Kiran: Towards gender parity

KISS, Kalinga Fellowship, Kanya Kiran: Towards gender parity
Throughout history, the central role of women in society has ensured the stability, progress and long-term development of nations. A nation is empowered only when women and girl children are equal partners as men. In the words of Swami Vivekananda, "Countries which do not respect women have never become great, nor can they ever become in future.” Women empowerment is a gateway to peace and development for a nation or society at macro level and family or organisation at micro level. There is progress only when there is gender parity and women are respected and treated as equal with men. The Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS) and the Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology (KIIT), premier educational institutions of global repute, from the beginning have created a space for equal…

Revisiting a train ride to Calcutta

Revisiting a train ride to Calcutta
In the foothills of Himalayas, listening to the chirping of the birds my mind was growing restless in the midst of a calm and stunning setting. The serene atmosphere failed to provide rest to fast whizzing thoughts. Sleepless and restless, I was thinking about last night's journey. I was at the Mayfair Himalayan Spa Resort, a spectacular celebration of luxury and heritage located in the hill town of Kalimpong in Bengal. From my otherwise busy schedule, I had to take time out to attend the parliamentary standing committee meeting on coal and steel in Kalimpong. I express my gratitude to Naveen Patnaik ji, the chief minister of Odisha, for reposing faith in me and giving me an opportunity to represent the state as a Rajya Sabha member. Everything was perfect,…

Bliss of Service

Bliss of Service
When we dare to take the challenge, we call for success. If we don’t dare and stay in the comfort zone, bringing in change is difficult. I would like to share the small example of taking a few students of KISS to New Delhi on a tour. All the success is attributed to the intention to do something good. Kids born into poverty in the interiors of the state never get an opportunity to explore the world and find a cause to live for. Instead, they were tortured by the Naxalites and churned into the system of red-tapism where they finally meet their end. They never thought of coming into the brighter side of the world. I have done my small bit of bringing, nurturing and educating them on this…

Towards a compassionate work culture

Towards a compassionate work culture
Some moments become monumental. Sometimes strangers come across in your life as your own people and give a feeling of belongingness. I feel privileged to share such a remarkable story. It dates back to 2016 when I delivered a talk at the 11th Foundation Day lecture of Sir Ganga Ram Hospital at India International Centre, New Delhi on the theme of Inclusive and Sustainable Development. More than 600 elite people attended the talk. It was for the first time that they had invited a social worker for their Foundation Day lecture. After the talk, the audience gave a standing ovation. Overwhelmed and moved by my story of struggle, an old gentleman came to talk to me after the lecture while I was being thronged by the crowd for pictures and…

Bridge of Progress- Gurupriya Setu

Bridge of Progress- Gurupriya Setu
Odisha is one of the fastest developing states in India today. It has marched ahead in terms of quality of life, real income of the people, rise in investments, reduction of poverty and geared up socio-economic development. However, the benefits of development don’t reach the remotest corner of Odisha, the tribal hinterlands which are inhabited by poorest of the poor inspite of being mineral rich belt. The major lacuna is connectivity. One such district of Odisha, Malkangiri, considered a hotbed of Maoist activity, has been deprived of the benefits of the growth. Isolation, alienation, superstition, ignorance coupled with high incidence of Naxal activity has bedevilled the region in the past. Abysmally low literacy, high infant mortality rate and inaccessible terrain put a big question mark over the talk of inclusive…

My note to readers

My note to readers
Dear Friends, People who know me are aware that I am not very tech-savvy nor am I a person of many words. My life has been about outright action. But I see it's important to connect the dots of my life and give it to the people, young and young at heart. My primary phone is still not a smartphone. But I realise that I have to march ahead with the changing times. I am learning it and that's the reason I have been keeping you updated with all my activities and development through Social Media. Now, I am taking baby steps to start a blog and delve into that arena. It will consist of my thoughts on social, political, economic, tribal, education and other aspects of India and world.…

The strength to beat all odds ‘Lord led me to where I am today’

The strength to beat all odds ‘Lord led me to where I am today’
The horror in the film Night of the Living Dead was a work of fiction, but in 1971 I lived through a night no less harrowing as a six-year-old with my widowed mother and two-year-old sister. Being trapped in our own house in remote Kalarabanka, an obscure village in the then Cuttack district, we were dying every moment while expecting a miraculous escape from the ordeal. Today when I look back, I shudder to think what could have happened to us in what could well be counted as the darkest night of our lives. The thought of that fateful night still runs a shiver down my spine. That night, hunger and poverty with all vengeance seemed to have joined the fury of nature to entrap us, but we overcame because…