Past Speakers 2023

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Dr. Alka Pande

Curator, Art Historian and Art Consultant

Topic : Unveiling Taboos: Learning from Women's Experiences in Indian Visual Culture

Dr. Alka Pande, a distinguished art historian, taught Art History at Panjab University for over two decades and shared her expertise at institutions like Delhi College of Art, NID, and DJ Academy of Design. Her research delves into gender identity, sexuality, and traditional arts, with postdoctoral work in critical art theory at Goldsmiths, University of London. She holds accolades such as the Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters from the French government, the Australian-India Council Special Award, and the Amrita Sher-Gil Samman. Dr. Pande is a prolific writer and curator, organizing exhibitions in India and abroad. She's instrumental in museum setups and serves as a consultant art advisor and curator at the Visual Arts Gallery in New Delhi's India Habitat Centre.

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Paromita Goswami

Grassroots Activist

Topic : Ordinary Women, Extraordinary Impact: Unveiling the Strength and Wisdom of Rural Heroines

Paromita, a Tata Institute of Social Sciences graduate in 1995, has devoted her career to grassroots activism. Her impactful journey has earned her esteemed fellowships, including the Ashoka Fellowship in 2002, the Eisenhower Fellowship in 2004, and the Yale World Fellowship in 2005. In 2009, she served as a visiting fellow at the National Institute of Rural Development. In 2022, Paromita ventured into the literary world, publishing short stories in renowned magazines such as Jaggery Lit, Out of Print, Kitaab International, Muse India, Mean Peppervine, and Himal Southasian. Notably, she was honored with the 2023 Rama Mehta Writing Grant Award for an English short story exploring the theme of 'Fear and Struggle.'

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Jidnyasa Chawaldhal

Social Activist

Topic : Seeing Beyond Sight: Empowering Lives and Finding Purpose through Resilience

Jidnyasa Chawaldhal, is a remarkable individual with Retinitis Pigmentosa, rendering her 100% blind. She dedicated herself to helping mentally challenged students, serving as an honorary assistant teacher, and excelling in Yoga Praveen exams. Despite the challenge, she focused on holistic healing therapies, naturopathy, Reiki, and music. Jidnyasa initiated the "Peace Centre" for holistic healing. Her passion for learning took her to Bangalore where she learned Computers, especially for the visually impaired. Her passion for social service led her to Anandwan, where she started a computer center for the blind, she became the first visually impaired lady instructor at a Government Industrial Training Institute in Maharashtra. In 2012 she started Atmadeepam Society Nagpur her own NGO dedicated to training and skill development for disabled persons. Her journey is a testament to resilience and dedication, marked by numerous accolades and recognitions for her outstanding contributions.

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Rozina Rana

Psychologist and Motivational Speaker

Topic : Embracing Vulnerability: Redefining Strength for Women's Empowerment

Rozina, a seasoned Psychologist and Motivational Speaker of over two decades, encountered a devastating tragedy with the loss of her 21-year-old daughter in a tragic road accident. Her courageous decision to donate her daughter's organs marked her as a trailblazing Muslim woman in her city. This compassionate act inspired her to establish a foundation in her daughter's honor. Transitioning from motivational speaking to leading social projects with 800 volunteers, she emerged as a beacon of resilience and an inspiration to countless women who've witnessed her remarkable odyssey. At 54, Rozina remarkably represented India at the Mrs. Earth beauty pageant, defying her own expectations, and propelling her transformative journey from "GRIEF TO GLORY."

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Archana Das

Social Activist

Topic : The Strength Within: Harnessing Willpower to Triumph Over Cancer and Life's Challenges

Archana Shantanu Das began her journey in Nagpur, gaining recognition for her talents and social work at the Hedgewar Blood Bank. Her life took a unique turn during the "Veglya Vata" event by Saptak. She faced early challenges, including her father's untimely death, and became a strong support for her family, providing meals for 25 people. Despite battling cancer and the loss of her husband and mother, Archana emerged as a survivor, counselor, and advocate for cancer awareness and women's education. Her story is a testament to resilience and an inspiring narrative for her TED Talk audience.

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Milli Pandey Vikamshi

Visionary Artist, Poet and Educator

Topic : Empowering Young Minds: A Creative Revolution in Education

Milli Vikamshi, a visionary artist and educator from Lucknow, flourished early in drama and painting. Her talent shone at Lucknow College of Art, winning national awards and a Ministry of Culture scholarship. A renowned independent artist, Milli's solo exhibitions cemented her reputation. Co-founding the AlagAngle Community Art Centre, she mentored students into prestigious design schools like NID and IIT, leaving an enduring mark on art education. Her literary and film pursuits earned international recognition. Milli advocates for music, poetry, film, and social awareness. She exhibited globally, authored poems, and created films showcased internationally. She's also active in Nagpur's theater scene and founded 'AlagAngle Community Art Center' and 'Makers Adda.' Milli remains a driving force in art and education, nurturing the next generation of artists.

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Neha Thombre

Social content Creator and Influencer

Topic : From Village to States: A Rollercoaster Journey of Spirit, Laughter, and Empowerment

Neha Thombre, from a remote village, overcame challenges to pursue engineering in Pune and Mumbai, despite her farming background. She faced discrimination due to regionalism, her Varhadi dialect, gender, and caste, limiting her opportunities. These struggles fueled her artistic aspirations, leading to drama in Mumbai, where she worked with Gulzar sir. She faced language-based discrimination in Mumbai. Her passion for art and activism led to her selection in a US comedy project and caught the Election Commission's attention. She is now a social content creator, shedding light on various social issues, gaining recognition from national and international news agencies, and becoming a voice for the voiceless. She tirelessly works to raise awareness about pressing concerns.

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