TED Talk of the Week: Chetan Bhatt

The Speaker

Chetan Bhatt is a sociologist, professor, and human rights activist. He teaches at the London School of Economics and Political Science, where he leads LSE Human Rights. His concentrations include nationalism, religious extremism and violence, social theory, and terrorism studies.

The Topic

“Chetan Bhatt: Dare to refuse the origin myths that claim who you are.”

In today’s society, there’s an extraordinary emphasis on knowing where exactly you’re “from.” Everyone has a place of origin, whether that’s your or your ancestor’s birth place. But, in Chetan Bhatt’s talk, he explains that claiming an identity from your past can actually be counterintuitive. He challenges listeners to put aside emphasis on cultural backgrounds for the sake of advancement into the future.

Who Should Watch and Why

This speech is great for two kinds of people:

  • Anyone grappling with their sense of cultural identity, and
  • Anyone looking to broaden their worldly perspective.

Tensions are high in today’s political landscape. More often than not, we get swept away with details about the past, shining negative light on perceived flaws and mistakes. But Bhett argues that it’s not our literal or metaphysical past we should worry ourselves about; instead, we need to look to better ourselves in the future.

“It’s not where they are from. It’s where they are going.”

-Chetan Bhatt

Strengths of the Presentation

  • This talk toed the line between informational and relatable nicely. The speech was crafted as a personal story but hit some serious points that drove his topic home.
  • Bhatt used storytelling in a refreshing way. Not only did he go over some classic myths, but he used current stories to debunk those myths, adding to the narrative element.
  • The speech was relaxed and humorous, but above all, it was also inspiring. He encourages the audience with a call to action: build your future, don’t focus on the past.



  • Storytelling can be a refreshing way to captivate an audience, even for a political topic.
  • If your message is strong enough, you can still be funny and relaxed while also being inspirational.

Tags: ,


Share your opinion.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *