A True Inspiration: Sriram K, PGP 1998

Sriram K is an example for many to live by. He has achieved success and fame through his strong will and determination. Sriram is visually impaired, due to a condition caused by Retinitis Pigmentosa, but his physical limitations have never come in the way of what he has wanted. A throughout topper in his school and college, to standing 7th in his batch at IIMB and getting his Ph.D. from IIT Madras.

He has worked at Infosys, as a consultant, and as faculty at institutes and universities. He is also a coordinator for Jobs for the Differently Abled (JODA), a volunteer network.

We had an opportunity to interview Mr. Sriram and know more about his journey.

Sriram receiving his Ph.D. Certificate

Please tell us something about yourself. 

I  am a  person deeply interested in the welfare of nature and society. My work experience has been in the Corporate Planning team of Infosys and later as a  social entrepreneur in agriculture supply chains. I  currently advise Continual Engine, an access technology start-up aiming to make Science, Technology, Engineering, Math & Accounting content more accessible for the blind. My hobbies include playing the flute, trekking and writing. I  stay with my parents, wife and 2  children in Chennai, currently.

How were your growing up years?

I  spent most of my growing up years in the pristine ecosystems of IITM, in Chennai. As the only child, I  was taken care of well. I had a  good set of cousins, relatives and friends who always used to be helpful to me.

How have you used technology, your mindset, and tools to reach beyond your physical challenges?

Access technology like screen readers of a  laptop and mobile phone helps me to work independently. A  white cane helps me walk and be mobile independently. A supportive network helps me excel in whatever I  do. Having a positive attitude during most of my life helps me to also overcome my eyesight challenge called Retinitis Pigmentosa. In IIMB, I  was partially blind, now, I am totally blind.

Please tell us about your educational journey, the challenges and triumphs you faced as a student. 

I  was the topper of my B. Com. Batch at Loyola College during 1993-96. I  was also the All India Second rank in the ICWA final exams held in 1996. Doing a  Ph. D.  in IITM in business sustainability & Corporate Social Responsibility was a  highlight of my education. I  had the record of attending the most number of placement interviews of my IIMB batch, before finally getting a job offer in Infosys.    

Who have been the big influencers in your life? 

My parents, wife, children, friends, teachers, colleagues  & relatives have been the big influencers in my life. Many differently-abled role models like Dr. Dillip from IITM were responsible for me joining IIMB. In the business sector, JRD Tata & Mr. Narayana Murthy of Infosys were inspiring. The ideology of Mahatma Gandhi has also had an influence on my life.

What keeps you going?

The following factors keep me going:

a.       All children of all living species for all time.

b.      My interest in improving the triple bottomline of businesses.

c.       My relationships of family and friends.

How can we, as a society, develop a more holistic approach for the differently-abled population?

Today, disability welfare is a  human rights issue. It is no longer a  social welfare issue. In this context, all of us can do our bit to improve the education, employment, and quality of life of the differently-abled.

What is about your days at IIMB that you remember most?

I  learnt to be independent, in spite of being visually challenged as an IIMB hostler. I  learnt the world is my family- helpful people also existed in IIMB. Many batchmates, seniors, juniors and faculty helped me to overcome my visual challenge during my IIMB days. I  learnt to  work in teams during IIMB. Saturday night parties were a  good relaxing event in IIMB. I  learnt something about the triple bottomline in IIMB too.