Every year, the two days of the India Today Conclave, which is a festival of ideas, are a breath of fresh air for my mind. I always come back invigorated. This year was particularly special as the 16th edition of the Conclave was the first to be held in Mumbai.,Every year, the two days of the India Today Conclave, which is a festival of ideas, are a breath of fresh air for my mind. I always come back invigorated. This year was particularly special as the 16th edition of the Conclave was the first to be held in Mumbai. The city received us with such warmth and enthusiasm. Each session was packed with an attentive and responsive audience.This Conclave unfolded in the shadow of Brexit, the election of Donald Trump in the US, and the recently concluded state elections, in particular the stunning victory of the BJP in Uttar Pradesh.There was much to talk about. The new world is multipolar and New India has a role to play in it, said former French president Nicolas Sarkozy, whose country stands on the brink of a historic election which will probably elect a confirmed outsider no matter which ideology it chooses. The axis of the world is no longer a Western one, it is an Asian axis. As he pointed out, this creates an extraordinary opportunity for a country like India, with its tradition of celebrating diversity and respecting differences, to lead the world in dialogue and conversation.The thought found echoes in the brilliant outspoken speech of President Pranab Mukherjee, in his last year in office. India has no room for Caesars, strong men who trample over people and their ideas, he said, quoting Jawaharlal Nehru. He noted approvingly what Prime Minister Narendra Modi said after the emphatic verdict in Uttar Pradesh: while electoral verdicts are determined on the basis of bahumat (majority), the state will be governed on the principle of sarvamat (consensus).advertisementThe prime minister himself, delivering the concluding speech at the end of two days of scintillating debates and spirited discussions, coined a new term for this form of governance-‘deliberate democracy’ where decisions are taken after consultations and consensus. As the theme of the conference was The Great Disruption, in my introduction, I called him Disruptor-in-Chief. In his speech, he said: “It’s the people of India who’re the disruptors, not me.”And so it was when I heard Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani highlighting the role of technology in building the fourth industrial revolution. He spoke inspiringly of why India was well placed to take advantage of the convergence of physical, digital and biological sciences that will enable humanity to reimagine, reinvent and re-engineer all aspects of life and living on this planet.A largely young workforce, the absence of legacy technology, an open market and a political vision are all enablers. Sports stars and dream merchants, policy-makers and young disruptors, corporate titans and campus firebrands, everyone at the Conclave embodied the spirit in which it was started-to continue a conversation with the times we live in. As one of India’s foremost entertainers, Shah Rukh Khan, said: “When you’re making and selling dreams, you’re not actually selling the impossible.You’re creating something that allows people to imagine their own possibilities.” That encapsulates what we try to do-hold a mirror to society, and show it at its potential best and possible worst.The Conclave, with its innovative short films, digital art session and extraordinary performances, was on ground, on air, streaming live online, trending at number one on Twitter on both days, and now it’s in print. I’m happy to say that Conclave 2017, with its 58 speakers and 28 sessions, radiated an all-round sense of unbridled optimism and hope for India. May that grow by leaps and bounds.