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Welcome Address by Chairperson

Smt Bhanumathi NarasimhanNamaste, Welcome to all of you. With the Blessings of H.H.Sri Sri Ravi Shankar it gives me great pleasure to welcome you to this 5th International Women’s Conference on ‘Women and Technology’. Together we will journey back to the future and return to the source.

Here I would like to take a few minutes to explain this beautiful theme. Technology has been with us since the human intelligence has flowered. When we see our history, we see many monuments that are technological wonders – the Pyramid of Giza was built without cranes and computers. The ancient seers of India compiled the knowledge of Astronomy, Ayurveda and many subjects by simply meditating. They had the ability to read each others’ thoughts and the ability to see the past and the future. What strengths did they draw upon to achieve this Himalayan task? We are often amazed at how the mobile phones, internet and social media have changed the way we connect to each other but do we wonder at the capacity of the mind that created this technology? If a small machine has the power to connect, our mind is no less. But how do we train the mind so that these subtle technologies are available to us? Technology is something that follows the laws of nature to bring us some comfort. Spirituality connects you to the source, puts you back in your nature, which is enthusiasm, peace, love and joy. This is the secret we must learn from our history, the knowledge of how to return to the source, go deep within, connect to the inner-net where the power of our own mind is revealed to us. With this knowledge when we look at the future, we can ensure a better planet, using safer technology for our children. In every area where technology is in use, there is a scope for debate, there is a fine line of balance where it is useful or becomes a burden or cause of stress and fatigue, where do we draw this line? There are many leaders here to add value and throw light upon this as we share our life experiences. At the same time, we’ll also learn how spirituality helps us to maintain this balance effortlessly.

Today, families that are separated thousands of miles away, can talk to each other, see each other with the help of technology. Yet it is not the same experience that we get. See we have been connecting with all of you for the past few months by emails and internet. Today, we are really really happy that sisters from around 55 countries are present here. It is a different joy to see, to meet you in person, isn’t it? Here I would like to tell you about one of my friends, the couple would always argue about selecting a place for a holiday. When the wife suggests a place, the husband will say that I have already seen it in the National Geographic channel, you can see it on Youtube, why waste so much time and money. This is what has happened, the virtual experience has limited our actual experience, is it the same I’d like to ask you? Is it the real thing? Is it what we want? As creators and users of technology, we have been greatly empowered, yet this power comes at the cost of becoming entirely dependent on this very technology. The discussion on ‘Technology – Freedom or Dependence’ will create greater awareness of the choices that we make in the use of technology. A world of information is available at our fingertips – stories, movies even friends; everything is available in the virtual world. Education in the remote areas has become a possibility through technology for eg distance learning programs. A few years ago, when chatting with my friends I would ask them what their children were doing? They would answer that they were playing with friends outside. Today if we ask mothers the same question they will say that they are playing with their computers inside. So is this what we want to give to our future? We have to think about it.

So we will discuss the impact of technology on education and on the learning curves of children with the kind of exposure that they have these days. Technology has not only brought us several comforts but it has also shrunk the world into a village, but are we really connecting or is it just an illusion? How to move ahead without loosing the human touch? So the workshop on creativity and innovation hopes to open up new dimensions or perception to ensure constructive advancement in technology, while the session on ‘Complimenting the Human Touch’ in the field of health, education and environment brings to our awareness the balance that is to be maintained. Through the session ‘Redefining Technology’ we hope to bring a paradigm shift in our understanding of technology through the glimpse of subtle technologies of mind management.

Keeping the globalisation of human values as a focus, we’ll also explore the means to empower women in rural and remote areas through technology. We are in a time where most of our work is done through the fingertips, so let us take some time off in the next two days to know the mind behind these fingers and come up with creative ideas, to create a safer, happier world for our future generation. Thank you and once again I take this opportunity to welcome all my friends and sisters, all the dignitaries present here, to your home.