A short clip where an educator of an ed-tech platform is seen making racist remarks against indigenous communities has sparked outrage among people. In a statement, the platform (Unacademy) said it "unconditionally regrets the comments".
The clip was first flagged on Twitter by Hengam Riba, a student who hails from Arunachal Pradesh and studies at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai. Later, the paltform YouTube page following outrage. She said that these remarks directly reflect the persisting bigotry at the social and cultural level regarding the tribal communities in India.
In the clip, the educator Siddharth Singh can be heard saying in Hindi, "Tribal log jo hota hai humare, dimaag toh hota nahi unke paas koi, nahi unke paas koi, you know, kanooni koi kagaaz hote hai zameen zaydad ke (Tribal people are stupid. They also lack legal documents related to land and property)." He has been associated with the platform since June 24, 2020.
He made these remarks
while teaching about 'jhum' cultivation across northeast India, which is based on the slash and burns farming method.
The authority of the ed-tech platform said in a statement that they had been informed about the discriminatory and hurtful comments against people from indigenous tribes made by an educator. According to the company, it has over 4,000 educators across India, who undergo "mandatory and strict code of conduct training before they start teaching on the platform, and at periodic intervals after that. The training specifically guides educators against making any discriminatory and hurtful comments."
Clip Draws Criticism
The clip also drew criticism from leaders of indigenous communities across the country. Pradyot Debbarman, head of Tripura's TIPRA Motha party, tweeted, "I urge upon the CM of different states of Northeast and different parts of India to write against this education which is being imparted to our students. Racism exists in this country no matter how many times we try to deny it." Netizens too criticised the statement.