Born blind in a remote village in Andhra Pradesh, Srikanth Bolla’s life was nowhere close to normal. From neighbours politely suggesting his parents to abandon him because he was born blind, to one of India’s biggest educational institutions, IIT, rejecting him on the same grounds, Srikanth had seen the worst of it all.
While many of us would tend to give up in the face of such abject rejection, it is nowhere close to where Srikanth’s story is all about. Unlike the IIT that decided against even considering him, Srikanth’s parents decided to go against all odds and educated him well. And thank God they did; for today, Srikanth is the CEO of a Rs 50 crore company named Bollant Industries that manufactures eco-friendly consumer packaging solutions and provides livelihood to the uneducated and differently-able individuals.
“World looks at me and says, ‘Srikanth, you can do nothing,’ I look back at the world and say I can do anything (sic).” Srikanth confidently says in an article published in YourStory.
Back in school, Srikanth was rarely acknowledged, was made fun of and pushed away. Despite scoring a spectacular 90% in his Xth board exams, he was denied the science stream. Unfortunately, his talent and capabilities were still under a shadow of doubt; all because of his blindness. Every application that he sent to top engineering colleges like IIT and BITS Pilani, he was rejected a hall ticket.
Each time, he got a letter saying, ‘you are blind; hence you are not allowed to apply for competitive exams.’ “If IIT did not want me, I did not want IIT either. How long can you fight?” he told YourStory.
Refusing to give up, Srikanth Bolla fought back. He applied to international universities and got through the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US and also became the first international blind student to have made it there.
Since then, there has been no looking back for this talented young gentleman. Today, his company successfully employs 150 differently-abled people and is going from strength to strength.
In many ways, Shrikanth’s story signifies the dichotomy of the Indian society as well as what one can achieve in the face of extreme odds. India may have seen phenomenal progress since independence, but there are a few things that continue to highlight the regressive attitude that exists in our society. Be it mental illness, female foeticides, bans and weird laws, there are a few conventional taboos that India struggles to break away from.
Stories like those of Srikanth act as means to reflect upon our values as a society. At the same time, they inspire us and reaffirm our faith in the importance of not giving up, come what may.
Story Input: YourStory
Cover Image Source: YourStory