Stating that Indians have always lived in harmony, top industry leader Ratan Tata on Sunday said education and job satisfaction will help weed out the growing instances of intolerance.
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"Education, job satisfaction are issues that will help reduce or eliminate intolerance because it will be replaced by knowledge," Tata told reporters after announcing a tie-up
with US-based online education non-profit Khan Academy.
"Our country has lived in harmony...we've to work together, we've to live together and continue do so, and not contribute to the intolerance that is growing in the world around us," the former Chairman of Tata Group said.
Tata, who now heads the Tata Trusts, however refused to formally join the debate which has already seen the likes of President Pranab Mukherjee, Reserve Bank Governor Raghuram Rajan, Infosys founder N Narayana Murthy and Biocon's Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, among others voicing their reservations. It also led to protests by filmmakers, writers and intelligentsia, who returned their state honours.
"I don't want to get into the issue of intolerance as being voiced on TV in India at the present moment," Tata said.
Khan Academy's chief executive Salman Khan, who has his roots in the country, also said that education will be the key in ensuring that intolerance does not grow.
"Education will be a source of tolerance; the more students get educated, the more students have access to tap into their potential...I think a lot of intolerance comes out of economic frustration," he said.
Khan said that India has always shown itself to be a "deeply tolerant place", but acknowledged that all the countries have their own "rough spots".
Citing conversations with his mother, who grew up in India, Khan said that India has always celebrated its pluralism and tolerance.
Tata Trusts Ties-Up With Khan Academy For Free Online Education
Tata Trusts announced it will be supporting US-based non-profit Khan Academy to provide
free online education to Indians through one of the biggest open-access online platforms.
Ratan Tata did not specify the aggregate value of resources which will be granted to Khan Academy during the five year partnership by Tata Trusts, which control 66 per cent of the shares of Tata Sons, the holding company of the over USD 100 billion group.
Tata said the promise of free access to quality education is a "new era" and a "compelling opportunity" with a potential to multiply literacy rates which attracted the Trusts towards
making the commitment.
"What the Khan Academy has created is a concept which provides free education and knowledge to anybody, anywhere. Therefore, for me, as an Indian and as a citizen on this
planet, it's a great privilege. I look at this as a great opportunity where we will do something to create a difference for generations," Tata said.
Salman Khan said that Indian students already use Academy's content but it is now in the process of creating specialised content in English and Hindi for the benefit of India, one of the youngest nations in the world.
He said the Tata Trusts has been supporting education for over a century now, which involves giving grants, providing scholarships for students going abroad for studies etc.
The concept brought in by Khan Academy is "refreshingly different" and will make a "tremendous difference" in India by turning illiterates into literates.
Stating that his ideas were called "delusional" when he first spoke of having top quality content and giving it for free and without subjecting the children to advertisements, Khan, who was present on the occasion, said times have changed now and there is a sense of appreciation.