Summit of the Powerless

Tehelka is organising a Summit of the Powerless on 20 and 21 November 2006 at the Jamia Milia Islamia University in Delhi. Should you wish to attend, please register at

For details visit Given below is an introductory note and the tentative schedule.

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Summit of the Powerless

India is going through a period of great change and great upheaval. At such a time, it has become crucial to ensure that voices across the country are heard, and people are given a chance to participate in the future being newly moulded for them -- people whose lives are impacted daily by the decisions the powerful make.

To give voice to this silent majority, to find creative responses to some of the most difficult questions of our time, on November 20 –21 this year, Tehelka is hosting a visionary new forum: The Summit of the Powerless.

The core idea of the Summit is to bring together the three key stakeholders of a free society on to the same platform: money, power, and people.

Political and business leaders wield enormous power and influence over the lives of the poor. But in most forums, the converted talk to the converted: the powerful to the rich; the powerless to the powerless.

The unique idea of the Summit is to create an environment where the powerful will lend their ear to the powerless. The Summit seeks to bring the powerful into a new context. A context visually, emotionally, and conceptually constructed to be empathetic to the powerless.

The agenda? Not just to air differences, but hunt for common ground.

The broad theme for this year's Summit is Two Indias, One Future. Under this matrix, the Summit will discuss some of the most pressing issues of our time: the role of the State; the farmer crisis; the gap between rural and urban India; reservations; naxals; Kashmir; the Northeast; land usage; and a vision for more equitable cities.

Every panel in the Summit will have two or more speakers each from the grassroot, political, and corporate sectors. There will also be AVs and personal narratives in every panel. More than 50 key human rights activists, peoples' movement leaders, political, and corporate heads have already confirmed participation. Recognising the importance of such a forum, the President of India too has agreed to participate in the Summit.

Apart from the panel discussions, many important conversations, arguments, and linkages will be made possible by the Summit. It has immense potential and provides an immense opportunity.

Tehelka is inviting everybody working to create a more equitable and humane world to attend the Summit. Do come and empower the Summit with your presence.

If you can come, please register at

If you have any queries, please write to

And do pass the word around.

Best wishes,
The Tehelka Team


Tarun Tejpal, Editor-in-Chief, Tehelka welcome address.
Outlines summit agenda

Keynote Address by the President of India

OPENING SESSION: Two Indias, One Future
Confirmed Speakers

Aruna Roy
Anna Hazare
Kamal Nath
Sitaram Yechury
LK Advani
Arun Maira

Farmer Suicides: Urban India vs Rural India
Confirmed Speakers

Ajit Singh
Sachin Pilot
Rajiv Bakshi
Vandana Shiva
Mihir Shah
Kishore Tiwari
Sharad Pawar
Amrinder Singh

SESSION 1 b (simultaneous)

The Positive Model: Stories of Rural Success

Confirmed Speakers

Father Thomas Kocherry
Rajinder Singh
Prakash Amte

Reservations: Inclusive Progress or the Death of Merit?
Confirmed Speakers

Yogendra Yadav
Kani Mozhi
Udit Raj
Arjun Singh
Arun Shourie

SESSION 2 b (simultaneous)

Equal Education: Excellence or Prejudice?

Confirmed Speakers

Anil Sadgopal
Ashok Aggarwal
Mushirul Hasan
Krishna Kumar
Parth J Shah


Shubha Mudgal
Kailash Kher
Indian Ocean
Zahroor Sahin


Opening Session

The Indian State: Protector or Alienator?

Confirmed Speakers

Kapil Sibal
Ram Jethmalani
Praful Patel
Medha Patkar
Dipankar CPIML


Naxals: Backlash of the Fourth World?

Confirmed Speakers

Sumanto Banerjee
Dilip Simeon
Dr Vara Vara Rao
Janak Lal Thakur
Manendra Karma
KPS Gill

SESSION 3 b (simultaneous)

Kashmir: External Hand or Internal Haemorrhage?

Confirmed Speakers

Wajahat Habibullah
Pervez Imroze
Omar Abdullah
Mehbooba Mufti


The City and the Powerless

Confirmed Speakers

Charles Correa
KT Ravindran
Madhu Kishwar
A Jockin
Jaipal Reddy
Milind Deora
Vijaypat Singhania
Cyrus Gazdar
Rajeev Chandrashekhar
B S Nagesh

SESSION 4 b (simultaneous)

North East: On the Map, Off the Mind?

Confirmed Speakers
Wasbir Hussain
Patricia Mukhim
Lachit Bordoloi

SESSION 5 (Final)

Bollywood: Can cinema bridge the divide?

Prasoon Joshi
Sudhir Mishra
Rakeysh Mehra
Raveena Tandon
Anupam Kher