When he was born, neighbours in the village suggested that his parents should kill him.
Some said, it was better than the pain his family will suffer in future. They said he was usefull as he was born blind.
Irony! The blind has grown up now and is the CEO of Hyderabad-based Bollant Industries, an organisation that employs uneducated and disabled employees to manufacture eco-friendly, disposable consumer packaging solutions, which is worth Rs 50 crores.
He considers himself the luckiest man alive, not because he is now a millionaire, but because his uneducated parents, who earned Rs 20,000 a year, did not heed any of the ‘advice’ they received and raised him with love and affection. Srikanth says, they are the richest people he knows.
In school, he was pushed to the back bench and not allowed to play. After his class X when he wanted to take science he was denied the option because of his disability. All of 18, Srikanth not only fought the system but went on to become the first international blind student to be admitted to the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US.
Today, Srikanth has four production plants, one each in Hubli (Karnataka) and Nizamabad (Telangana), and two in Hyderabad (Telangana). Another plant will be one hundred percent solar operated, is coming up in Sri City, in Andhra Pradesh, 55 kms from Chennai.
Srikanth said in his growing days his father, a farmer, would take him to the fields but he could be of no help. His father then decided that he might as well study. He said no one acknowledged his presence. He was put in the last bench neither he could not participate in the PT class.
That was the time when he thought he was the poorest child in the world. It was not because of lack of money but because of loneliness.”
When his father realised that the child was not learning anything, he admitted Srikanth to a special needs school in Hyderabad. There he not only learnt to play chess and cricket but excelled in them. He topped his class, even getting an opportunity to work with late President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam in the Lead India project.
rikanth was denied admission to the science stream in class XI. He cleared the Andhra Pradesh class X state board exams with over 90 percent marks, but the board said he could only take Arts subjects after that.
“Was it because he was born blind? No. He was made blind by the perceptions of the people.”
Having been denied the opportunity, Srikanth decided to fight for it. So he sued the government and fought for six months. In the end, He got a government order that said he could take the science subjects but at my ‘own risk’.
He got all the textbooks converted to audio books, worked day and night to complete the course and managed to secure 98 percent in the XII board exams hence proved wrong all those who discouraged him.
He chose his battles carefully and did his homework searching the Internet to find the best engineering programme for someone like himself. He applied to schools in the US and got into the top four – MIT, Stanford, Berkeley, and Carnegie Mellon. He went to MIT (with a scholarship) and was the first international blind student in the school’s history.
He decided to give up the ‘golden’ opportunity of working in corporate America and came back to India.
He set up a support service platform to strenghten the hope of differently-abled people in society.
He said, he helped about 3000 students in acquiring an education and vocational rehabilitation. But what after that? what about their employment?
So he built this company and now employ 150 differently-abled people.