Business Standard

India is free but not equal: Jesse Jackson

IANS  |  Kolkata 

Observing India was "free but not equal", legendary civil rights activist Jesse Jackson Tuesday regretted illiteracy among children in the country which excels in exporting talent across the world.

"Some countries export oil, some other agricultural products but India exports brains. So it is such a sin to have so many children illiterate and locked out of school. Talent is India's number one product.

"Strong minds and scientific minds from here can make contribution and save India and the world," said Jackson here.

Jackson, who ran for US Presidency and is a disciple of Martin Luther King, is on a trip to the city. He met school children and visited the Netaji Bhavan - the ancestral house of Subhas Chandra Bose now turned into a museum.

"India is a leader in exporting talent around the world, the economies of Britain and US are driven in greater measures by Indian talents, be it Microsoft or the Citibank or the Silicon Valley Indians brains are at the forefront," said Jackson.

Hailing Mahatma Gandhi and Bose for their contribution to India's freedom, Jackson said the fight was unfinished because of existence of inequality.

"India is free but not equal. India and the US are the biggest democracies, but the gap between the surplus culture and deficit culture is much too great. Too few have too much and too many have nothing. Until we democratize the economy, the fight will remain unfinished.

"Poverty is a weapon of mass destruction. It kills in mass, saps the spirit, weakens the body, ends resolves and destroys dreams. Poverty breeds terrorism, it breeds fear. That is why focus should be on ending poverty," added Jackson.

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First Published: Tue, February 25 2014. 15:04 IST