How A Motivational Speaker Sold Patriarchy At IIT Roorkee To ‘Inspire’ Students

IIT Roorkee recently invited Vivek Bindra, the famous motivational speaker, to speak on how to ‘harness the power of the mind’. The event was held on August 2, 2017, organized by the Department of Humanities and Social Science to motivate the first year students.

Speakers blared “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna” as he arrived with two panditjis. Mr Bindra is doubtlessly a great orator. The flow of his speech captivated the audience. He began with the idea of belief systems. It started going wrong when he defined the ‘distractions’ in a student’s life. Through various slides, he tried to assert that students should not get deviated from what they came for. That they should focus on their career and not go for ‘break ups’ and ‘patch ups’. This was when motivation became moral policing.

Slowly but steadily Mr Bindra’s speech revealed its hidden sexism of his beliefs as he went on with his power point presentation. There was a slide which made it clear just how conservative this famous motivational speaker is. At the bottom of the slide were the words ‘sex statement’ with a picture of a girl. At the top were the words ‘success statement’. The point of this slide, according to Mr Bindra, was to show that we should try to improve our ‘success statement’, and not our ‘sex statement’. Our ‘success statement’ would improve our ‘sex statement’ automatically. By ‘improving sex statement’, he basically meant that there’s no need to focus on women and sex, as they’ll automatically come if one is successful. This was followed by statements like, “Girls in the matrimonial sites only look for boys who are wealthy and successful.” Unsurprisingly, the students applauded these statements. Is this the kind of ‘motivational’ speech expected in a coed institution?

Later on, Mr Bindra’s speech progressed to shlokas from the Bhagavad Gita. His aim became clear when the speech ended and he asked the students to purchase the books on the Bhagavad Gita which were being sold outside the conference hall. The speech, which started in the name of ‘motivation’, ended up promoting his books and Hinduism. Not surprisingly, IIT Roorkee doesn’t allow the messes and canteens to cook non-veg food inside the campus except egg, keeping in mind the sentiments of the vegetarians who might feel offended.

Ironically, the Humanities Department is organising a workshop on ‘Semiotic Approach to Feminist Studies’ from August 8 to August 12.

I just want to tell Mr Bindra that all women, and especially the women in IIT Roorkee, know enough to not be used as objects that increase the ‘sex statement’. They are good enough to get their own jobs and not ‘run behind’ boys who are ‘wealthy and successful’.