New Delhi, India (PressExposure) March 17, 2013 -- It's been nine months in the making. It flowed out of Showtime's association with the World Economic Forum each year in Davos. And it had a great social objective to it. The basic thought - if the world's greatest thought leaders could brave the inhospitable environs of a chilly, one-horse town called Davos to ostensibly conference but actually to network, could we not get them to a gorgeous princely destination like Jodhpur to do much of the same while they lent their support to one of the most deserving causes across the planet.
The weekend of March 8 - 10 this year saw that wild thought become hard-core reality. Together with the Maharaja of Jodhpur and his family and team, Showtime created what was an incredibly magical 3-day experience for 250 luminaries from across the world while raising awareness and resources for a critical cause - head injury and brain trauma. For the Maharaja, it was a dream comes true. In his words, "the Jodhpur One World Retreat with its underlying theme of 'A Beautiful Mind' was the propitious coming together of several interests of mine. Above all, it aims to give a new critical impetus to the work of the Indian Head Injury Foundation, a mission very close to my heart." It may be recalled that the Maharaja set up the Foundation after his son met with a horrific polo accident some years ago and he discovered not just the woeful lack of facilities in our country for treatment of brain trauma but the terrible fact that India was actually the head injury capital of the world. It seemed an absolute travesty of justice that while 1 out of 200 head injury victims died in the US, in India, the figure was 1 out of 6. And so he was determined to do something about that and that's how the Indian Head Injury Foundation was born.
The Jodhpur One World Retreat hopes to take the work of the Foundation to the next level. Eminent speakers from across the world including Dr Raj Narayan from North Shore LIJ, New York who spoke on 'Improving Outcomes from Head Injury' and British composer, Nigel Osbourne who held forth on 'Music and the Healing of the Mind' pledged their support to further the work of the IHIF in its noble mission. What was even more gratifying was the wholehearted support pledged by Nita Ambani and the Reliance Foundation, Gayle de Peatro who spoke on behalf of Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Aga Khan Foundation, media houses like CNN IBN, automotive giant, BMW and celebrities like Sachin Tendulkar and Dia Mirza who were also present at the Retreat.
In fact, the large presence and commitment of Corporate India at the Retreat demonstrated that it had a truly softer side to it and was willing to make that extra effort to show its support. The contingent led by Mukesh and Nita Ambani included Dr Naresh Trehan, Suneeta Reddy, Vikram Mehta, Ajit Gulabchand, Pawan Munjal, Atul Punj, Devaunshi Mehta, Pramit Jhaveri, Sanjay Nayar and Suhel Seth with international expat heads, Rebecca Irvin of Rolex, Raymond Bickson of the Taj and Phillip Von Sahr of BMW adding their mite. Also present in spirit were Trustees, Deepak Parekh and K P Singh who were both laid low by illness and a number of other corporate czars who pledged their support including Sunil Mittal, Ajay Piramal, Hemendra Kothari and Shalini Bhupal. Adding a touch of international royalty was Princess Hussah-al-Sabah of Kuwait and the Duke and Duchess of York, Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson.
The Opening Night of the Retreat that coincided with International Women's Day aptly saw a delightful rendition of 'Nari - Celebrating the Indian Woman' brilliantly choreographed by renowned Indian theatre director, Bansi Kaul with over 150 Indian classical and folk artistes from across the country performing on the spectacular ramparts of the Mehrangarh Fort. If that set the tone for the serious thought sessions on 'A Beautiful Mind' that followed the next morning and afternoon at the even more spectacular Balsamand Lake, it needed rockstar Sting's one-night only Private Concert on the lawns of the gorgeous Umaid Bhawan Palace to provide the final complement for an action-packed day. And a truly fitting finale was the Thanksgiving Brunch hosted by the Maharaja and Maharani at their residence in the Palace the next morning.
The Jodhpur One World Retreat will hopefully be the harbinger of many more such landmark efforts. That's what Showtime sincerely believes would be a perfect tribute to the hard work and dedication that went into its creation. In the words of its Managing Director, Michael Menezes: "Showtime has over the years consistently set the standards for the entertainment and experiential marketing industry. I am delighted that the Jodhpur One World Retreat is yet another example of this. It is a truly pioneering effort in an extremely critical space - fund-raising and cause-related marketing - and is even more timely and relevant because of the new 2% CSR rule introduced recently. Corporate India is going to need our professional expertise in helping them make a meaningful contribution to transforming the lives of the underprivileged and deprived. The Jodhpur Retreat is an exciting example of how interactivity, networking and dialogue can integrate with leisure, culture and the arts makes this transformation possible."