The question that we all need to answer is a simple one: should the highly educated and trained elites of India’s information technology and industrial sectors come only from well-to-do families and communities? Should we be offering to at least a few young people from deprived communities the same opportunity, or should they remain for ever at the low ranks?
The conventional way of thinking about poverty is to get the masses out of illiteracy and offer them some education to be able to hold jobs beyond being simply unskilled labor. Undoubtedly these are necessary initiatives. But it is not possible for any student to cope with good college studies without the right background all the way through high school. There are no shortcuts. Literacy programs and emphasis on primary education can give a valuable head-start but nothing more.
I am afraid most people are unable to visualize the impact of professional success among those from socially and economically deprived communities. There is no great aspiration on anyone’s part for them. We need to change that mindset. That is precisely why we started Shanti Bhavan nearly 11 years ago.
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