Culture & Lifestyle / Mindful Inspiration: 5 Superb South Asian TED Talks You Can’t Afford To Miss!

Mindful Inspiration: 5 Superb South Asian TED Talks You Can’t Afford To Miss!

Culture & Lifestyle Jul 10, 2019

“The power of a good talk cannot be denied nor can the thirst for knowledge which is why millions of people around the world watch TED Talks with a goal to learn from experts spreading meaningful ideas. From the viral talk that featured Shah Rukh Khan, to some incredible charitable organizations as well as talk by noted poet and wordsmith, Javed Akhtar, these are our list of 5 superb South Asians TED Talks that you can’t afford to miss! 

Starting in 1984, TED is a media organization that held conferences with innovators, leaders and experts to share ‘ideas worth spreading” on a range of topics from technology to social improvement in the form of a “TED Talk”. Since 2006, TED talks started posting recorded presentations online and they now film with live audiences and made accessible through streaming or downloading on the TED website or youtube (both free of charge) in over 100+ languages worldwide.

With so many TED Talks available, it can be hard to decide which ones to watch if you’re already dealing with a busy schedule. Though choosing between the abundance of knowledge at our fingertips for free is a beautiful problem to have, it’s still a problem nonetheless and as always, we’re glad to step in and offer support!

Read below for our suggestions on 5 TED Talks by South Asian speakers you you can’t afford to miss:


TED Talk: Thoughts On Humanity, Fame and Love

Speaker: Shah Rukh Khan

Overview: You have probably seen it already but it’s so worth another watch. Millions have experienced Shah Rukh Khan’s tear-jerking scenes and big characters in Bollywood films so it’s a treat to him speak authentically in this inspiring 18 minute TED. Sharing some of his personal journey including the loss of his father at a young age, Khan addresses a variety of challenges many of us face including adapting too and engaging with the overwhelming use of the internet and social media. In a TED infused with wisdom and humour, Khan reminds viewers that we are responsible for our energy and actions (for example, we can use the internet to connect with each other positively or use it to spread hate and/or negativity) and that our potential is infinite. With the overall message being that true enlightenment can only be reached through love and compassion, Khan challenges us all to use our power to break barriers (and not build walls) to connect with each other.


5 Superb South Asian TED Talks You Can't Afford To Miss
5 Superb South Asian TED Talks You Can’t Afford To Miss: Shah Rukh Khan. Photo Credit:


TED Talk: Changing Perceptions – From Sikh To Superfan

Speaker: Nav Bhatia

Overview: Filmed at a local TEDX event in Canada, in this 16 minute talk, Nav Bhatia shares his experience migrating to Canada and encountering racism. Bhatia shares how when faced with discrimination in particular due to his turban, he made conscious choices to break barriers and help change the perception of Sikhs and South Asians in his community. One of the avenues Bhatia was supporting the Toronto NBA team The Toronto Raptors at their first game in 1995. Never having missed a game and drawing attention for his loud cheering, Bhatia was awarded the title of “Superfan” and South Asian Ambassador for The Toronto Raptors. Bhatia explains how he purchases 5000 NBA tickets yearly to distribute to underprivileged children in order to help youth of all ethnicities integrate and bond over a fun experience. Filmed in 2014, with the Toronto Raptors win this year, Bhatia has surged in popularity and we wanted to highlight his inspirational message on the impact of stepping into what makes us uncomfortable to help develop a higher level of connection and lower levels of prejudice.


5 Superb South Asian TED Talks You Can't Afford To Miss
Toronto NBA Raptors “Superfan” Nav Bhatia  is adored by many fans off and on the court. Photo Credit:


TED Talk: How Women In Rural India Turned Courage Into Capital

Speaker: Chetna Gala Sinha

Overview: Addressing some of the challenges related to finances and banking in rural villages in India, in this 14 minute TED, Chetna Gala Sinha shares captivating stories of real Indian women who used their perseverance and creativity to better their lives and communities. We are thankful for Sinha who took charge when the females in her village were denied the opportunity to open a savings account and opened the first ever bank for and managed by women in India. Viewers are left inspired and reminded that through creativity, perseverance and connecting with each other, our potential to change our communities is limitless.


5 Superb South Asian TED Talks You Can't Afford To Miss
5 Superb South Asian TED Talks You Can’t Afford To Miss: Chetna Gala Sinha. Photo Credit:


TED Talk: How Education Helped Me Rewrite My Life

Speaker: Ashweetha Shetty

Overview: Born into a family where her mother could not read or write, Ashweetha Shetty shares her life experience growing up in rural India in a village where higher education for women was not the norm. In this 11 minute TED, Shetty shares how her perseverance to break cultural norms and obtain a higher education helped change her life and self-worth. Shetty helps empower others through Bodhi Tree Foundation, a nonprofit organization  that supports students in rural India by helping them through formal and life skill education. The overall message in this TED is inspiring and highlights the importance of not letting circumstances or the identities it may feel we are born into (in Shetty’s case for example poor, village, girl) define or limit us.


5 Superb South Asian TED Talks You Can't Afford To Miss
5 Superb South Asian TED Talks You Can’t Afford To Miss: The Bodhi Tree Foundation supports education in rural India. Photo Credit:


TED Talk: The Gift Of Words

Speaker: Javed Akhtar

Overview: Words have the power to bring us together but also tear us apart. In this 10 minute TED (in Hindi with subtitles availale in 11 languages), by Javed Akhtar viewers are called to reflect on the power and impact words have in the human experience. We use words (which Aktar eloquently describes as a series of lines put together in writing and/or sounds in auditory) all day to describe what we see, think and feel. The fact that words can trigger memories as well is a remarkable aspect of humanity; we sustain the world using words and Akhtar does a good job of reminding us about their power to lift ourselves and humanity.


5 Superb South Asian TED Talks You Can't Afford To Miss
5 Superb South Asian TED Talks You Can’t Afford To Miss: Javed Akhtar. Photo Credit:


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Rachna Sethi

Rachna Sethi


Rachna (@mindfullyyours)is a graduate of the Applied Mindfulness Meditation program from the University of Toronto, a certified Educator with two bachelor degrees and a diploma in Art Therapy. She's dedicated to living with a compassionate approach. Committed to helping people integrate Mindfulness...