Greatness comes in many ways. Meet Srikanth Bolla the blind CEO of the 50 crore Hyderabad based Bollant Industries. From early in life, Srikanth has had people discriminating him on the basis of his disability. When he was born blind, the villagers in Sitaramapuram in Andhra Pradesh advised his farmer parents to let him die. His parents, though seldom paid heed. At school too, he would often be pushed to the last bench and would not be included in active sports. Yet this didn’t deter Srikanth, who excelled in studies and topped his class ten board exams.
At the intermediate level, when he wanted to opt for the science branch, the Andhra Pradesh Education Board refused to grant permission. It said that arts was what the blind could opt for. Srikanth filed a case and after a 6 month wait, the Andhra Pradesh Education Board agreed to let him pursue science. Srikanth topped his class twelve securing a 98 percent.
Getting into the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology was the next big step for Srikanth. Yet again he faced discrimination when he was denied an admit card to the IIT enginering examination. That’s when Srikanth decided, “If the IIT’s didn’t want him, he did not want the IIT’s either!” He applied to schools in the United States for the undergrad level, securing admission in four of the top schools- MIT, Stanford, Berkeley and Carnegie Mellon. He eventually chose MIT to become their first international blind student.
In 2012, Srikanth started BOLLANT Industries Pvt. Ltd with a mission to provide a livelihood opportunity for the physically challenged. Today, BOLLANT has five manufacturing units and has sales crossing 70 million each year. Srikanth sure has come a long way in changing people’s perceptions on the capabilities of the differently abled.
Do you know any unsung great hero such as this? Do share it with me.
This is a part of my journey exploring 26 lesser known shades of a country called India, with the #AtoZChallenge 2016!!!