Bill Gates comes across as a serious sort of a guy—we did not expect him to be a prankster.
But the Microsoft chairman played a neat trick on an elite audience this week at the Technology, Entertainment, Design (TED) event at Long Beach, California. Gates released a swarm of mosquitoes into the audience. “Not only poor people should experience this,” he explained. His media team later clarified that the insects did not carry malaria.
Malaria is one of the global challenges that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation wants to attack. The point of Gates’ prank was to sensitize his audience to the scourge of malaria. He was making an almost-Gandhian point: that you have to experience something to understand it.
For the citizens of a country with crumbling infrastructure and poor governance, there are similar possibilities: a planned traffic jam outside Rashtrapati Bhavan, broken toilets in Parliament, perhaps muddy tap water at the India International Centre? Will that get those in the government sit up and take notice?