Philip Wollen’s influential speech spell-binds
The TiE Summit was different on 22 December 2010, not in terms of the entrepreneurial success stories, but in terms of a speech from a philanthropist that pierced our conscience to the core. Hardly do I remember a speech of this kind in my entire lifetime. For me, it was an eye-opener at the Shri Fort Auditorium in New Delhi. The speech did not eulogize any business idea, nor any money making trick. Instead, it was on environment, peace and vegetarianism. Maneka Gandhi introduced Philip Wollen to the hordes of entrepreneurs who had rejoined the hall after lunch. Initially everyone thought if it was Maneka Gandhi, it would be something impractical argument in favour of animals. But she began her address benignly showering ceaseless accolades on Wollen. Still everyone felt that she was doing a marcom job for someone who is less popular in India.
Philip Wollen, an Indian-origin Australian philanthropist and environment activist, climbed the stage and cast his spell on the business fraternity in minutes. The way he spoke on the atrocities being committed on the animals around the world for food was mind-blowing! There are millions of animals butchered mercilessly in horrendous ways, he said. Through his presentation, he flipped the audience through the slides manifesting merciless ways which people in different countries have adopted to make animals breathless for food.
He emphasized that “there might be different languages around the world to communicate, but the communication of pain is identical in every language. The painful screams do not need translation but a magnanimous heart.” What threw the audience into a spin was his prediction about the end of the world. He expressed his vehemence against the meat industry which is consuming nature with tonnes of toxic wastage released every year into the ocean. According to him, the meat industry is the biggest threat to the global ecosystem and is set to eat the future of posterity.
Wollen urged the men in power—entrepreneurs—to resort to vegetarian practices and at least make a policy not to serve meat in their organisations. He hailed India as the only country where number of vegetarians are far higher than in the world. But he sees the tradition diminishing and thus warns.
Everyone in the auditorium gave Philip a standing ovation, which was the testimony that his words didn’t bang against the walls but had gone to the hearts also.
I can only conclude the blog post in the words of Maneka Gandhi who once wrote of Philip “Philip Wollen is not a human being. He is from another planet. They simply do not make humans like him any more.”