'The real award I am looking for is policy change'

by Abhinna Shreshtha    Apr 05, 2011

Brij Kothari, president, PlanetRead, won a social innovation honor at this year’s Nasscom Indian Leadership Forum. We caught up with him to get his reaction after being honored by the award. Excerpts.

How does it feel after winning the award?
It feels great; winning awards is always wonderful. The real award I am looking forward to is policy change. It was an honor to win the award from Mr. Kabil Sibal, because it is his ministry that I am actually trying to convince that the same language subtitling is going to transform 3 million weak readers to people who can actually read newspapers.

Are you approaching other government institutions too?
We have been talking to various ministries to pick up on this idea and scale it up nationally, so same language subtitling on all songs in all languages becomes possible. The future is to scale it up in such a way that it becomes impossible to stay illiterate in India. If you learn a few letters of the alphabet in schools and practice it at home using the film song programs then it guarantees that you will be a literate.

Any plans to take your product to other markets?
If this model works in India, we can take it to other countries. For instance, many countries in Africa produce songs in their own languages, so clearly this solution will work there as well.