The Festival of Digital Swaraj, held at Heritage House in Mysore on the 23rd and 24th of September, 2023, marked a significant milestone in the journey towards Digital Swaraj—a movement dedicated to creating a digital revolution that ensures equitable access to technology and leaves no one behind. This two-day event celebrated the convergence of technology, culture, and social impact, with a range of activities and initiatives that showcased the vibrant spirit of Mysore and India’s digital transformation.
The first day of the event was celebrated by conducting the following activities:
Crafts Mela: The festival kicked off with a vibrant crafts mela, where local artists and enterprises came together to celebrate the rich arts and cultural heritage of the Mysore artisanal community. This showcase of indigenous craftsmanship highlighted the community’s dedication to preserving their cultural traditions through arts and crafts. The mela featured an impressive array of handmade products, including Indian board games, resin jewellery, modern paintings, apparel, and eco-friendly items.
Launch of Digikargha: Digikargha, an experiential handloom space, was unveiled with the aim of connecting artisans, weavers, and designers. This initiative celebrated India’s diverse weaving traditions, which are steeped in wisdom and heritage. It provided a platform for collaboration and innovation within the handloom industry. Just like the Kargha which stands for a hand loom used to hold and interweave yarn into exotic fabrics, DigiKargha aims to connect artisans, weavers and designers to celebrate the weaves rich in wisdom and tradition through digital empowerment. In Mysore, at the Heritage House we are creating an interactive space where artisans and weavers come together to showcase their art and craft.
Museum of Digital Society: The day continued with the launch of the Museum of Digital Society—an interactive space that showcased the 20-year journey of empowering communities across India. This museum used various media, including publications, digital innovations, ground stories, and archival documents, to depict the remarkable transformation brought about by digital inclusion in 27 states and 240 districts of India.
Soliga Tribe Performance: The first day concluded with a mesmerizing cultural performance by the Soliga Tribe, who presented their traditional Gorukana Dance. This performance served as a reminder of the importance of preserving and celebrating indigenous cultures in the digital age.
Tech4Good MXR: The second day of the festival featured Tech4Good MXR, an event dedicated to promoting technology for social good. The event included pitches from entrepreneurs focused on creating a positive social impact. Experts and investors in inclusive cultural education, heritage preservation, literature and arts, local wellness, and health provided valuable insights.
The event brought together a curated audience of ecosystem enablers. Mr. Osama Manzar, Founder-Director, Digital Empowerment Foundation presented the keynote address where he elucidated on the need for inclusive and sustainable solutions by the young entrepreneurs. The panel of experts included Nandita Sharma (Founder of Ame Organics), Arjun Chaitanya (Talent Accelerator, Karnataka Digital Economy Mission), Amir Ullah Khan (Research Director, Centre for Development Policy and Politics), and Shalini Kala (Rural Development and Agriculture Specialist). Their presence added depth to the discussions and offered guidance to the participating entrepreneurs.
Entrepreneurs and social enterprises from various sectors, including health, education, science and technology, environmental sustainability, and apparel, presented their pitches. Notable organizations such as EApps Technologies Pvt. Ltd., TiE Mysuru Chapter, eLINT Labs Pvt. Ltd., Shashi Industries, Bharath Mills, Brand Lift, Isha Life Sciences, The Better Hands, Zarava, Mysuru Adda, and Roll the Dice showcased their innovative solutions.
Dr. Madanmohan Rao (Co-Founder, MXR.World) conducted a masterclass on “Pitching and Storytelling: Communication Tips for Entrepreneurs.” This session provided valuable insights into effective communication for startups and social enterprises.
The Festival of Digital Swaraj at Heritage House, Mysore, was a testament to the commitment towards achieving Digital Swaraj and fostering a digital revolution that leaves no one behind. It celebrated the synergy between traditional craftsmanship, digital innovation, and social impact, while also providing a platform for entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas for a better future. This event not only showcased India’s rich cultural heritage but also highlighted its potential for technological advancement with a human-centric approach. It was a memorable two days that left a lasting impact on all participants and attendees, inspiring them to continue their journey towards a digitally empowered and inclusive society.