Manipal Institute of Technology hosted the inauguration ceremony of INK Makers’ Teenovators, an innovation challenge for students from secondary schools across the country. The ceremony began with an address by Dr. Narayana Sabhahit, Registrar of MU. Dr. Sabhahit talked about the Manipal Academy of Higher Education’s evolution over the years, and the culture of excellence cultivated by it throughout its history. A living showcase of this is MU’s constituent, Manipal Institute of Technology, which is celebrating its Diamond Jubilee year. The Director of MIT, Dr. G.K. Prabhu, elaborated on the road ahead for students as well as administration, and their expectations from a monumental year to come.
After Dr. Prabhu’s rousing speech of what was in store for MIT, Ms. Lakshmi Pratury, CEO of INK, introduced Chief Guest Dr. Shashi Tharoor as he took the stage. His address focused on the importance of innovation in our daily lives, citing Manipal itself as a successful example of a start-up. Reminiscing over his days in college, he highlighted the increase in opportunities students have today and the importance of utilizing these to promote social and economic inclusiveness. In an economy that is poised to have close to 11000 start-ups by 2020, he reiterated the importance of promoting creativity at the secondary and collegiate level. Successfully reminding students that India is at the brink of having the youngest workforce in the world, he simply said “The best is yet to come.” Dr. Shashi Tharoor’s speech was brimming with hope, as he spoke about attempting to build an India for the lowest 25% - and how students in colleges and universities were pivotal to realizing that dream.
To the delight of everyone present, the event also included an interactive session with Dr. Shashi Tharoor, which was hosted by Ms. Pratury. A splendid opportunity to see a more candid version of him, the audience heard about his life - from a fledgling debater in college to his illustrious career in the United Nations. He credited this as the driving factor of his decision to enter the Indian political arena, stating, “I’m still at it, because, in a democracy, politics is the one sure way to affect change in the country.” In addition to his political duties, “Best-Selling Novelist” is another feather in Dr. Tharoor’s cap. The audience was captivated by his extraordinary diction as he read an excerpt from his latest novel, An Era of Darkness.
The event ended with the commiseration of the finalists of Teenovators. A showcase of excellence, the chosen projects all portrayed the same dedication to innovation highlighted through the course of the afternoon. Projects ranging from a non-surgical solution to colour blindness to finding a feasible mechanism to recycle mercury served as sparse examples of the excellence Manipal Academy of Higher Education successfully cultivated with this edition of Teenovators.
When asked if he had any message for the students of Manipal, he said, “Be the best version of yourself you can be, after all no one can do you, better than you.”