Brij Kothari

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Brij Kothari
Brij Kothari (left) speaks to a group of children
Born (1964-06-09) 9 June 1964 (age 59)
Alma materIIT Kanpur and Cornell
Occupation(s)Academic and Social Entrepreneur

Brij Kothari (born 9 June 1964) is an Indian academic and a social entrepreneur. He invented Same Language Subtitling on TV for mass literacy in India.

Early life[edit]

Brij Kothari was born to a business entrepreneur. His parents were particular about education and sent him to Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education (SAICE) in Pondicherry. He is an alumnus of IIT Kanpur,[1] and did his Ph.D. from Cornell University. He is a Schwab Social Entrepreneur and an Ashoka Fellow.[2] He was a fellow at Stanford University's Reuters Digital Vision Program and completed the "Leadership for System Change: Delivering Social Impact at Scale" program at Harvard University.


After completion of his academic pursuits Kothari returned to India. In 1996 he joined the faculty of the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad. While continuing to teach communication to MBA students, he started work on SLS at IIM. He has been on the Faculty of IIM Ahmedabad, as Associate and Adjunct Professor, since 1996.

Same-Language Subtitling[edit]

In 1999, in an effort to improve functional literacy rates in India, he experimented with subtitles on Chitrageet, a Gujarati television program. In 2002, the Doordarshan network subtitled their national program Chitrahaar. Since 2006, SLS has been implemented on one weekly program each in Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, Punjabi, Kannada, Telugu, Tamil, and Marathi. The main goal is to persuade broadcasting policy in India to implement SLS on all songs on TV, in all languages.[3]

Kothari is the president of PlanetRead, a non-profit involved in furthering Same Language Subtitling throughout the world. He is also the founder of BookBox,[4][5] a social venture funded by First Light Ventures that produces animated, read-along stories for children in languages such as English, Spanish, Mandarin, Hindi, and over 21 others.

His work was also selected by the as one of the projects for funding.[6]

Personal life[edit]

Brij Kothari is married. He has two sons and a daughter.


Year Title
2017 iF Social Impact Prize[7]
2013 Library of Congress, International Literacy Prize[8]
2012 USAID, Winner, All Children Reading Grand Challenge[9]
2011 NASSCOM, Social Innovation Honour[10]
2009 Indian Social Entrepreneur of the Year, Schwab Foundation and UNDP[11]


Clinton Global Initiative, Feature[12]
2004 Ashoka Fellow[13]
2003 Tech Laureate (Education), The Tech Awards[14]
2002 Winner, Development Marketplace, Global innovation competition – World Bank[15]


  1. ^ "Metro Plus Chennai / Miscellany : Easy read". The Hindu. 7 April 2005. Archived from the original on 9 May 2005. Retrieved 1 December 2016.
  2. ^ "Brij Kothari |". Archived from the original on 28 August 2008. Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  3. ^ Gurcharan Das, 6 April 2008, 12:13AM IST (6 April 2008). "Power of subtitles – MEN & IDEAS – Gurcharan Das – Home – The Times of India". Retrieved 1 December 2016.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link) CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  4. ^ BookBox is a social enterprise that uses Same Language Subtitles in animated books to help children learn to read.
  5. ^ "BookBox". BookBox. Retrieved 1 December 2016.
  6. ^ "Official Google Blog: Same-Language Subtitling". 12 December 2005. Retrieved 1 December 2016.
  7. ^ "IF SOCIAL IMPACT PRIZE 2017 – supported projects".
  8. ^ "First Winners of Library of Congress Literacy Awards Announced | Library of Congress". 22 September 2013. Retrieved 1 December 2016.
  9. ^ "SLS|Same Language Subtitling:PlanetRead". Archived from the original on 9 November 2012. Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  10. ^ "Ganesh NatarajaN". NASSCOM Foundation. Retrieved 1 December 2016.
  11. ^ " - the World Economic Forum Blog: Schwab Foundation announces India's Social Entrepreneurs of the Year". Archived from the original on 9 November 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-13.
  12. ^ "Clinton Global Initiative: 'Same Language Subtitling' on TV for Mass Literacy in India". YouTube. 23 September 2013. Retrieved 1 December 2016.
  13. ^ "Brij Kothari | Ashoka - Innovators for the Public". Archived from the original on 13 August 2011. Retrieved 2012-08-26.
  14. ^ "The Tech". Retrieved 1 December 2016.
  15. ^ "Same Language Subtitling on TV for Mass Literacy | WB Development Marketplace". Archived from the original on 21 July 2011. Retrieved 6 April 2011.