June 29, 2009

Speaking at Peking

I was invited to give a speech at Peking University, following a long line of accomplished orators such as Bill Clinton and Tony Blair. Consistently positioned at the top of China's university rankings, Peking University draws the brightest minds in the nation. There were four speakers including myself, each responsible for discussing a different geographical region of India. I gave an overview of my time living, working, and traveling in South India. I focused on my time in Bangalore and Hyderabad, briefly touching on trips to Kerala and Pondicherry.

The audience was made up mostly of Chinese students who gave me their complete attention. They were captivated by my delivery and awed by my gravitas. After my speech concluded and the applause died down, I was asked several intriguing questions by the audience members:

  1. What is the religious composition of India?
  2. Are there really cows on the street? (The girl asking this warned me beforehand that it would be a "cute" question.)
  3. Why does India have significantly more developed IT and bio tech sectors than China?


"We do not need to proselytise either by our speech or by our writing. We can only do so really with our lives. Let our lives be open books for all to study." - Gandhi