Annual Festival – Shravasti

Scenario

Premise

It is well known that the culture of a country is driven by its philosophy. Businesses and politics are then a progression of the culture. The foundation of India’s philosophy lies in its Vedic roots. Despite us having such rich cultural heritage, we find our youth amidst a catastrophic identity crisis owing to the miniscule understanding of the rich philosophy. India is among the largest consumer markets to the global businesses. It is time for us to be able to showcase our rich culture and celebrate it, such that, as the global businesses sell to India, they also end up exporting culture and in turn, businesses, from India.

Current Situation

India, one of the largest democracies, has always been considered an amalgamation of several cultures & traditions that are several millennia old. A monumental disconnect is that many believe that age-old customs and traditions were formed by an uncultured, uneducated and uncouth lot without any scientific temprament. Bollywood might have done more harm to the culture in the recent past, than anything else. Wisdom and Knowledge are often separated by Time. Give knowledge time, and one becomes wise. 

Not much emphasis has been given to the fact that people like Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg tried to experience the esoterism & qualitative aspect of Indian culture before building multibillion dollar companies that drive global economies.

Need

It is critically important with increasing urbanization that the youth keep connected with their roots. Culture has always been an essential component and a key factor for human rights and democracy. It is important for the government to undertake culture into account in all its actions so as to foster intercultural respect and promote diversity. Investing in local cultural resources including tangible and intangible heritage including traditional knowledge and skills, as well as music, dance, theatre and festivals, can develop sustainable creative economies, open up opportunities to youth, and help strengthen identity and social cohesion.

With increased emphasis on innovation led growth, we need to be focusing on fundamental research and product innovation, not just service enhancement, replicated from the west. Bhagwad Gita, prods one to ask the three basic questions viz. ‘Who am I?’, ‘Where have I come from?’ and ‘Where am I going?’ These esoteric questions are timeless wisdom of our heritage. Google Maps uses the exact same algorithm. When we project it, this is what we need for fundamental innovation as well. Most youth in India today, want to be innovators like Mark Zuckerberg. Not realizing that what he did was in a different geography, in a different era. The most important for these youth, is to realise their current coordiantes and plight, leading to soutions to their problems rather than solutions to problems that never existed for them. This will come form a deep understanding of the philosophy, leading to culture.

It is time to unflinchingly and unapologetically reclaim the culture that is at the very roots of the society.

Solution

A Vedic festival, Shravasti, with by-invite-only guests from across the world. The name Shravasti has been carefully picked. Beyond a unique ring to the name, this village in UP is of historic importance to Buddhism. Shravasti is a four-part, two and a half day festival with elite speakers and performers who are able to make a forceful impact on the abstruse topics, normally obscured to a common man.

We believe that enabling people to understand the basis of Indian culture & traditions can be used as a catalyst for creativity. India with 65% of its population under 35 and about a half of the country’s population of 1.25 billion people below 25, it is clear that we are a youth driven country and that this asset can become our biggest strength or it can lead a path for other economies to capitalize on our potential.

Kautilya Fellowship Network through Shravasti aims to help form a strong base for cultural growth and strengthen its link with the growing economy of India. Representation of a significant segment of the community, the youth will be encouraged to:

  • Contribute to local development and prosperity.
  • Be a bridge between culture, tradition and modernity.
  • Have the interest, energy and passion to address issues and concerns, such as heritage management, sustainable tourism, local development and community involvement.
  • Have affinity for information and communication technologies to network and transcend geographical boundaries.
  • Be in a position to act as potent agents of positive social change that will yield greater economic and social well-being in the perspective of sustainable development for generations to come.

The creative industries that we wish to collaborate with can serve as a springboard for new ideas and innovation, which can open up new opportunities for employment and learning, while at the same time promote well-being and self-esteem and empowering entire communities. It has been observed that young women and men are increasingly engaged in proposing creative solutions to local challenges in the form of NGOs and others. This creative energy needs to be harnessed so as to maximize the positive impact it can have on society.

Transmitting the values of intercultural understanding, cultural diversity and creating a sustainable environment from one generation to the next is essential if the seeds of peace are to be planted and nurtured by future generations.

Owing to the success of the festival, we plan to take this festival across every state, in the country.