Friday, 30 November 2012

Get Inspired : AMUL - India's White Revolution

Amul – India’s White Revolution

Hi all !! It has been very long since I updated this blog. Now am back.
When I browse through rediff, I got to read a wonderful article related to AMUL. Am sure everyone of us knows about this name. But I wanna know how many of us really knows the reason behind this name.
  • Some People tells, AMUL is Derived from Sanskrit word – Amoolya , Which means Invaluable.
  • Other view is, AMUL is the acronym of  “ Anand Milk Union Limited “

Amul is Formed in 1946, it is a brand managed by a cooperative body, the Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd. (GCMMF), which today is jointly owned by 3.03 million milk producers in Gujarat.

Amul spurred India's White Revolution, which made the country the world's largest producer of milk and milk products.In the process Amul became the largest food brand in India and has also ventured into markets overseas.

Dr Verghese Kurien, founder-chairman of the GCMMF for more than 30 years (1973-2006), is credited with the success of Amul.

Here I am sharing what I read :

When we read the success story of an Indian brand built from scratch by an unknown, struggling entrepreneur, we feel a sense of awe and pride.
Surely then, those feelings should be magnified a hundredfold for a brand that has provided 13 million such success stories.
That brand is Amul.

Every day Amul collects 447,000 litres of milk from 2.12 million farmers (many illiterate), converts the milk into branded, packaged products, and delivers goods worth Rs 6 crore (Rs 60 million) to over 500,000 retail outlets across the country.

Its supply chain is easily one of the most complicated in the world. How do managers at Amul prevent the milk from souring?
Walk in to any Amul or Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF) office, and you may or may not see a photograph of Mahatma Gandhi , but you will certainly see one particular photograph. It shows a long line of Gujarati women waiting patiently for a union truck to come and collect the milk they have brought in shining brass matkas.
The picture is always prominently displayed. The message is clear: never forget your primary customer. If you don't, success is certain. The proof? A unique, Rs 2,200 crore (Rs 22 billion) enterprise.
Organisation structure
It all started in December 1946 with a group of farmers keen to free themselves from intermediaries, gain access to markets and thereby ensure maximum returns for their efforts.
Based in the village of Anand, the Kaira District Milk Cooperative Union (better known as Amul) expanded exponentially. It joined hands with other milk cooperatives, and the Gujarat network now covers 2.12 million farmers, 10,411 village level milk collection centers and fourteen district level plants (unions) under the overall supervision of GCMMF.
There are similar federations in other states. Right from the beginning, there was recognition that this initiative would directly benefit and transform small farmers and contribute to the development of society.
Markets, then and even today, are primitive and poor in infrastructure. Amul and GCMMF acknowledged that development and growth could not be left to market forces and that proactive intervention was required. Two key requirements were identified.
The first, that sustained growth for the long term would depend on matching supply and demand. It would need heavy investment in the simultaneous development of suppliers and consumers.
Second, that effective management of the network and commercial viability would require professional managers and technocrats.
To implement their vision while retaining their focus on farmers, a hierarchical network of cooperatives was developed, which today forms the robust supply chain behind GCMMF's endeavors. The vast and complex supply chain stretches from small suppliers to large fragmented markets.
Management of this network is made more complex by the fact that GCMMF is directly responsible only for a small part of the chain, with a number of third party players (distributors, retailers and logistics support providers) playing large roles.
Managing this supply chain efficiently is critical as GCMMF's competitive position is driven by low consumer prices supported by a low cost system.
Developing demand
At the time Amul was formed, consumers had limited purchasing power, and modest consumption levels of milk and other dairy products. Thus Amul adopted a low-cost price strategy to make its products affordable and attractive to consumers by guaranteeing them value for money.
Introducing higher value products
Beginning with liquid milk, GCMMF enhanced the product mix through the progressive addition of higher value products while maintaining the desired growth in existing products.
Despite competition in the high value dairy product segments from firms such as Hindustan Lever , Nestle and Britannia GCMMF ensures that the product mix and the sequence in which Amul introduces its products is consistent with the core philosophy of providing milk at a basic, affordable price.
The distribution network
Amul products are available in over 500,000 retail outlets across India through its network of over 3,500 distributors. There are 47 depots with dry and cold warehouses to buffer inventory of the entire range of products.
GCMMF transacts on an advance demand draft basis from its wholesale dealers instead of the cheque system adopted by other major FMCG companies. This practice is consistent with GCMMF's philosophy of maintaining cash transactions throughout the supply chain and it also minimizes dumping.
Wholesale dealers carry inventory that is just adequate to take care of the transit time from the branch warehouse to their premises. This just-in-time inventory strategy improves dealers' return on investment (ROI). All GCMMF branches engage in route scheduling and have dedicated vehicle operations.
Umbrella brand
The network follows an umbrella branding strategy. Amul is the common brand for most product categories produced by various unions: liquid milk, milk powders, butter, ghee, cheese, cocoa products, sweets, ice-cream and condensed milk.
Amul's sub-brands include variants such as Amulspray, Amulspree, Amulya and Nutramul. The edible oil products are grouped around Dhara and Lokdhara, mineral water is sold under the Jal Dhara brand while fruit drinks bear the Safal name.
By insisting on an umbrella brand, GCMMF not only skillfully avoided inter-union conflicts but also created an opportunity for the union members to cooperate in developing products.
Managing the supply chain
Even though the cooperative was formed to bring together farmers, it was recognised that professional managers and technocrats would be required to manage the network effectively and make it commercially viable.
Given the large number of organisations and entities in the supply chain and decentralised responsibility for various activities, effective coordination is critical for efficiency and cost control. GCMMF and the unions play a major role in this process and jointly achieve the desired degree of control.
Buy-in from the unions is assured as the plans are approved by GCMMF's board. The board is drawn from the heads of all the unions, and the boards of the unions comprise of farmers elected through village societies, thereby creating a situation of interlocking control.
The federation handles the distribution of end products and coordination with retailers and the dealers. The unions coordinate the supply side activities.
These include monitoring milk collection contractors, the supply of animal feed and other supplies, provision of veterinary services, and educational activities.
Managing third party service providers
From the beginning, it was recognised that the unions' core activity lay in milk processing and the production of dairy products. Accordingly, marketing efforts (including brand development) were assumed by GCMMF. All other activities were entrusted to third parties. These include logistics of milk collection, distribution of dairy products, sale of products through dealers and retail stores, provision of animal feed, and veterinary services.
It is worth noting that a number of these third parties are not in the organized sector, and many are not professionally managed with little regard for quality and service.
This is a particularly critical issue in the logistics and transport of a perishable commodity where there are already weaknesses in the basic infrastructure.
Establishing best practices
A key source of competitive advantage has been the enterprise's ability to continuously implement best practices across all elements of the network: the federation, the unions, the village societies and the distribution channel.
In developing these practices, the federation and the unions have adapted successful models from around the world. It could be the implementation of small group activities or quality circles at the federation. Or a TQM program at the unions. Or housekeeping and good accounting practices at the village society level.
More important, the network has been able to regularly roll out improvement programs across to a large number of members and the implementation rate is consistently high.
For example, every Friday, without fail, between 10.00 a.m. and 11.00 a.m., all employees of GCMMF meet at the closest office, be it a department or a branch or a depot to discuss their various quality concerns.
Each meeting has its pre-set format in terms of Purpose, Agenda and Limit (PAL) with a process check at the end to record how the meeting was conducted. Similar processes are in place at the village societies, the unions and even at the wholesaler and C&F agent levels as well.
Examples of benefits from recent initiatives include reduction in transportation time from the depots to the wholesale dealers, improvement in ROI of wholesale dealers, implementation of Zero Stock Out through improved availability of products at depots and also the implementation of Just-in-Time in finance to reduce the float.
Kaizens at the unions have helped improve the quality of milk in terms of acidity and sour milk. (Undertaken by multi-disciplined teams, Kaizens are highly focussed projects, reliant on a structured approach based on data gathering and analysis.) For example, Sabar Union's records show a reduction from 2.0% to 0.5% in the amount of sour milk/curd received at the union.
The most impressive aspect of this large-scale roll out is that improvement processes are turning the village societies into individual improvement centers.
Technology and e-initiatives
GCMMF's technology strategy is characterized by four distinct components: new products, process technology, and complementary assets to enhance milk production and e-commerce.
Few dairies of the world have the wide variety of products produced by the GCMMF network. Village societies are encouraged through subsidies to install chilling units. Automation in processing and packaging areas is common, as is HACCP certification. Amul actively pursues developments in embryo transfer and cattle breeding in order to improve cattle quality and increases in milk yields.
GCMMF was one of the first FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) firms in India to employ Internet technologies to implement B2C commerce.
Today customers can order a variety of products through the Internet and be assured of timely delivery with cash payment upon receipt.
Another e-initiative underway is to provide farmers access to information relating to markets, technology and best practices in the dairy industry through net enabled kiosks in the villages.
GCMMF has also implemented a Geographical Information System (GIS) at both ends of the supply chain, i.e. milk collection as well as the marketing process.
Farmers now have better access to information on the output as well as support services while providing a better planning tool to marketing personnel.

Source : Rediff, Wikipedia and other sites

Monday, 3 September 2012

Inspiring Personalities - Mr.Pingali Venkayya – The man behind the tri-color – Designer of our Indian National Flag

Inspiring Personalities :

Today I just read about the gentleman named Pingali Venkayya. I believe only 30% of us knows who is he ! Well., for the remaining 70%, I shall tell who he is. He is none other than the man who designed the Indian National Flag.  The Inspiring Personality, but unknown to most of us. Request you all to share this and make our friends & relatives aware !

Early life :

Pingali Venkayya was born in Bhatlapenumarru, near Masulipatnam, the present day Machilipatnam of Andhra Pradesh, British India to Hanumantharayudu and Venkataratnamma. He belonged to a Telugu Brahmin Niyogi family. After finishing high school at Machlipatnam, he went to Colombo to complete his Senior Cambridge.
Career :
Venkayya was an accomplished person on many fronts. He was knowledgeable in geology (which he would later obtain a doctorate for) and agriculture. In Andhra Pradesh, this knowledge enabled him to spend most of his fortune experimenting with developing new crop cultivars and to become an authority on diamond mining, leading to him being popularly known as "Diamond Venkayya". He served in the British Indian army during the Anglo-Boer wars in South Africa. It was there he came in contact with Mahatma Gandhi and was influenced by his ideology. On returning to India, he worked as a railway guard and a government employee at Bellary before moving to Lahore, where he enrolled into the Anglo-Vedic college to study Urdu and Japanese.
This versatile man was a prolific writer, a Japanese lecturer and a geophysicist. After finishing his primary education at Challapalli and school at the Hindu High School, Masulipatnam, he went to Colombo to complete his Senior Cambridge. Enthused by patriotic zeal, he enlisted himself for the Boer war at 19. While in Africa he met Gandhi, and their rapport lasted for more than half a century. On his return to India he worked as a railway guard at Bangalore and Madras and subsequently joined the government service as the plague officer at Bellary. His patriotic zeal, however, did not permit him to stagnate in a permanent job, and his quest for education took him to Lahore where he joined the Anglo-Vedic College, and learnt Japanese and Urdu. He studied Japanese and history under Prof Gote. During his five years stay in the north, he became active in politics. Pingali met many revolutionaries and planned strategies to overthrow the colonial rule. The 1906 Congress session with Dadabhai Naoroji witnessed Pingali emerging as an activist and a force behind the decision making committee. Here he met the famous philanthropist, the Raja of Munagala, and from 1906–11, he spent his time in Munagala researching on agriculture and crops. For his pioneering study on the special variety of Cambodia cotton, he came to be called Patti Venkayya. Even the British were taken up by his contributions in the field of agriculture and conferred on him honorary membership of the Royal Agricultural Society of Britain.
Finally, this man went back to his roots at Masulipatnam and focused his energies on developing the National School (at Masulipatnam), where he taught his students basic military training, horse riding, history and knowledge of agriculture, soil, crops and its relation to nature. Not content with being a theoretician, Pingali's day-to-day activities also reflected a deep commitment to his liberal values. In 1914, he turned his agricultural land into an estate and named it Swetchapuram.
National Flag :
During the National conference of Indian National Congress at Kakinada, Venkayya suggested that India should have a national flag of its own and Mahatma Gandhi liked this proposal. He suggested that Venkayya could come up with a design. During the National conference at Vijayawada, Venkayya proposed a tricolour with an Ashoka Chakra at the middle. Gandhi liked the flag, and the design was later adopted as the National Flag of India. Pingali Venkayya After researching into 30 kinds of flags from all over the world, Pingali conceived the design of a flag which became the forbearer of the Indian national flag. Though all credit goes to Pingali for having conceived the national flag in its present form, its antecedents can be traced back to the Vande Mataram movement.
For a brief history of the origins of the Indian flag one has to go back to August 1, 1906. It was at Parsee Bagan Square (Green Park) in Calcutta where the first national flag of India was hoisted. This flag was composed of horizontal stripes of red, yellow and green. The strip on the top had eight white lotuses embossed in a row. On the yellow strip were the words Vande Mataram in deep blue Devanagari script.
Bhikaji Cama and her group of exiled revolutionaries hoisted the second flag in Paris around 1907. This was similar to the first flag except that the top strip had only one lotus and seven stars denoting the saptarishis. This was exhibited at a socialist conference in Berlin. By the time the third flag went up in 1917, the political struggle had taken a definite turn. Annie Besant and Tilak hoisted the flag during the Home Rule Movement with an addition in the left hand corner (the pole end), the stamp of the UnionJack. There was also a white crescent and star in one corner indicating the aspirations of people of those years. The inclusion of the Union Jack symbolised the goal for dominion status. However, the presence of the Union Jack indicated a political compromise, making the flag unacceptable to many. The call for new leadership brought Gandhi to the forefront in 1921 and through him the first tricolour flag.
The years 1921–31 constitute a heroic chapter in not only Pingali Venkayya's life but also in the history of the freedom struggle of Andhra. The AICC met at a historic two day session at Bezwada (31 March and 1 April 1921). It was at this session that this frail middle aged gentleman, Pingali, approached Gandhi with the flag he designed for India. Pingali's flag was made of two colours, red and green representing the two major communities of the country. Thus the Indian flag was born but it was not officially accepted by any resolution of the All India Congress Committee. Gandhi's approval made it popular and it was hoisted at all Congress sessions. Hansraj of Jallandar suggested the representation of the charkha, symbolising progress and the common man. Gandhi amended, insisting on the addition of a white strip to represent the remaining minority communities of India.
A consensus could not be reached until 1931. The designing of the colours in the flag ran into rough weather even as communal tension broke out on the issue of its interpretation. The final resolution was passed when the AICC met at Karachi in 1931. The flag was interpreted as saffron for courage, white for truth and peace, and green for faith and prosperity. The dharma chakhra which appears on the abacus of the Sarnath at the capital of Emperor Ashoka was adopted in the place of spindle and string as the emblem on the national flag.
Interpreting the colours chosen for the national flag, Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan explained the saffron colour denoted renunciation or disinterestedness of political leaders towards material gains in life. The white depicted enlightenment, lighting the path of truth to guide our conduct. The green symbolised our relation to the soil, to the plant life here on which all other life depends. The Ashoka wheel in the centre of the white strip represented the law of dharma.
Speaking philosophically, he remarked that the national flag ought to control the principles of all those who worked under it. The wheel denoted motion and India should no more resist change as there was death in stagnation.
Death :
Pingali Venkayya died on 4 July 1963, in conditions of poverty. It was only a few years ago that his daughter began to receive pension from the government on his death anniversary.

Evolution of Indian Flag :

1) Flag of British India, 1858–1947

2) Gandhi's flag, introduced at the Congress meeting in 1921

3 ) The Swaraj Flag, officially adopted by the Congress in 1931

4 ) The Present National Flag was born on July 22, 1947, with Nehruji's words, 'Now I present to you not only the Resolution, but the Flag itself'. This flag was first hoisted at the Council House on August 15, 1947.


You can see the History of Flags in India video in the following youtube link :

Source : Wikipedia, Telugustreet Blogspot.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Inspiring Personalities - Mrs.Patricia Narayanan, Founder of Sandeepha Group of Restaurants

Inspiring Personalities :

Today I have read about another inspirational personality in Rediff website. Her name is Mrs.Patricia Narayanan. She started as a woman selling the food items on the road side of Marina Beach , and slowly progressed into getting a Partnership deal from Sangeetha Restaurants, But it was declined by her and she started running her own restaurants by the name “SANDEEPHA RESTAURANT”. Truly Inspiring !!!

Here I start :
She started her career 30 years ago as an entrepreneur, selling eateries from a mobile cart on the Marina beach amidst all odds -- battling a failed marriage, coping with her husband, a multiple addict, and taking care of two kids.

Today, she has overcome the hurdles and owns a chain of restaurants.

An entrepreneur by accident
I was always interested in cooking and passionate about trying out new dishes. But, the thought of becoming a business woman never came to my mind at all as I do not come from a business family. Both my parents were government servants.

But my marriage changed everything. Both the families opposed the marriage vehemently as my husband belonged to the Brahmin community; unfortunately my marriage did not work out as my husband was addicted to alcohol, drugs, etc. I could not bring him out of the addiction. As a young woman, I did not know how to cope with this and I was getting beaten up everyday.

Though my father, a very conservative Christian never forgave me, he gave me refuge when I had nowhere to go. I was thrown out with two very small children. It was a question of survival for me. I knew I should either succumb to the burden or fight; I decided to fight my lonely battle.

I did not want to be a burden on my parents. So, to be economically independent, I could only do what I knew and what I liked. I started making pickles, squashes and jams at home. I just took a couple of hundred rupees from my mother. I sold everything I made in one day and that gave me confidence.

I earned a good income. I invested whatever I earned to make more pickles, squashes and jams. It was quite lucrative in the sense, even ten rupees was a blessing for me.
The first step as an entrepreneur
My father's friend, who was running a school for handicapped children, was handing out mobile carts or kiosks to people who would employ at least two handicapped people. They needed somebody who could run it and I was offered one such cart free. I had to train the handicapped children to make coffee and serve them to customers.

As I lived near the Marina beach, I decided to put the mobile cart at the Anna Square on the Marina beach. I had seen people thronging the beach in the evenings. But I had to make umpteen trips to the Public Works Department and wait for one year to get the permission.

Finally, I started working on June 21, 1982, a day I will never forget. The previous night itself, with the help of the local rickshaw drivers, I had rolled the mobile cart to the beach. It was a small move but thrilling as it was my own and I was going to be a business woman the next day.

While such carts sold only tea and cigarettes, I decided to sell cutlets, samosas, bajjis, fresh juice and coffee and tea. On the first day, I sold only one cup of coffee and that was for fifty paise!

I was very disappointed and came home crying. I told my mother, that I would not like to continue. But my mother consoled me saying, at least you sold one cup of coffee. That's a good sign. You will do well tomorrow. And, she was adamant that I go the next day also.

The next day, I made sold snacks for Rs 600-700 which was big money for me then! As I started making money, I added ice creams, sandwiches, French fries and juices too. I used to keep thinking of adding more items.

I ran it from 1982 to 2003, and the maximum I made from that mobile cart was Rs 25,000 a day. That was during the bandh days! We used to be open from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. every day, and later, I started opening from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. for the walkers.

I used to personally stand there and sell all the stuff I made. I never felt scared to stand there late at night. My only thought was to prove myself and move ahead.

There was a fire in me that made me believe that I could be successful without anyone's help. I did not want to be a failure. If you have that fire, nothing in the world can stop you from succeeding.

Offer to run a canteen
On seeing my work at the beach, within a year, the Slum Clearance Board gave me an offer to run the canteen at their office with a proper kitchen. The chairman met me during her morning walk. That is how I got the offer. The canteen was a huge success.

On Wednesdays, it was the public grievance day, so about 3000 people used to come there and I had a roaring business.

I used to get up at 5 a.m. in the morning, make idlis and go to the beach. From 9 a.m. I would be at the canteen. From 3.30 p.m. I would again be at the beach cart and would be there till 11p.m. By then, I had employed people to cook, and clean, and all the cooking was done at the canteen kitchen. My monthly income in those days was around Rs 20,000.

Later, I got an offer to run the Bank of Madurai canteen, I stopped running the canteen at the Slum Clearance Board canteen. At the Bank canteen, I served food to around 300 people daily.

The turning point
One day, after a fight with my husband who used to come to trouble me often, I boarded a bus and travelled till the last stop. I got down and saw the National Port Management training school run by the Central government.

On the spur of the moment, I told the security guard that I wanted to meet the administrative officer. I met him and told him that I was a caterer and that I heard they were looking for a one.

He said, to my surprise that they were indeed looking for one as they had problems with the current contractor. I still believe it was God who took me there.

I got the offer. I had to serve three meals to about 700 students. They gave us quarters to stay. It was a new life for me. I got into the groove in a day. It was successful from day one, and I took care of the canteen till 1998.

My first weekly payment was Rs 80,000. I felt so elated having seen only hundreds and thousands till then. During those times, I was earning almost a lakh a week.

In those days, I wanted to do everything personally as I felt only then, things would run smoothly. Now I know if I train people well, they will do the work the way you want.

Starting restaurants
My connection with restaurants started in 1998 when I met people from the Sangeetha Restaurant group. They offered me a partnership in one of the units. But my son, Praveen Rajkumar wanted me to start my own restaurant and build a brand of ours.

But destiny played truant with me again. I lost my daughter, Pratibha Sandra and son-in-law road accident, a month after their marriage in 2004. It shattered me, and I withdrew from all that I was doing.

Then my son took over and started the first restaurant 'Sandeepha' in my daughter's memory. It took some time for me to come out of the shock and start helping my son in the business. Now, I am fully involved in the business. The fire to succeed has come back to me now.

Ambulance to help the accident victims
I still cannot get over my daughter's death as I did all this for my children; to bring them up and give them a good life.

What shocked me was the way the accident victims were treated by the ambulance operators. When they found that all the four in the car were dead, they said they would not carry dead bodies. Finally, somebody carried all the dead bodies in the boot of a car. When I saw the bodies being taken out of the boot, I broke down.

No mother can bear such a scene. That is when I decided to keep an ambulance on that very spot to help people whether the victims are alive or dead. It is in memory of my daughter.

Ficci entrepreneur of the year award
I started my business with just two people. Now, there are 200 people working for me in my restaurants. My lifestyle has changed too. From travelling in a cycle rickshaw, I moved to auto rickshaws and now I have my own car. From 50 paise a day, my revenue has gone up to Rs 2 lakh a day.

The 'Ficci entrepreneur of the year' award is the culmination of all the hard work I have put in over the last 30 years. It came as a surprise as this is the first time I have received an award.

Till now, I had no time to think of what I was doing. But the award made me look back and relive the days that passed by. Now, my ambition is to build my Sandeepha brand.

Advice to young entrepreneurs

Do not ever compromise on quality. Never lose your self-confidence. Believe in yourself and the product you are making. Third, always stick to what you know. When you employ people, you should know what you ask them to do.

Source : Rediff, etc.,

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Inspiring Personalities - Mr.Vidyakar - Founder, UDHAVUM KARANGAL

Inspiring Personalities :

Today I am going to share about the person whom I admires most, eventhough I got to know about his personal life, tragedies etc., of late. But He is the one who can be traced as the perfect epitome for Selfless Human Being .. !!! Well,  I am talking about the founder of “UDAVUM KARANGAL” !! Am sure he needs no Introduction, Udhavum Karangal has been doing great work for many years, Many of us know or heard about Udhavum Karangal. But very few of us knows about the man behind this UDHAVUM KARANGAL. He is none other than Mr.Vidyakar. Have read about him in many sites and happy to share with you all about this wonderful personality. Personally, I want to meet him atleast once in my lifetime !

Here I go :

The horrors of childhood such as those of Vidyakar's, may in most cases, be expected to yield a selfish, embittered man. Yet Vidyakar today personifies the power of compassion. His many armed service organisation Udavum Karangal, saves Tamil Nadu from the ignominy of being a heartless state.

Size and scale:

In a mere 18 years, Vidyakar who is not yet fifty, has built a safe haven for 1800 people the society has no time for. Among them are the new born, the sick, the lost, the abandoned, the abused, the crazed and the dying. Even as he struggles to meet the mammoth budget, he does not turn away anyone needing a home. A mere phone call reporting a destitute will have him race to pick up the soul.

He runs a large campus in the outskirts of Chennai to house his flock, in circumstances of peace and cleanliness, that many middle class Indians would envy. He runs a high school that serves his 400 children and the many more from nearby villages. He is planning a 100 bed hospital. Lepers, AIDS victims, the mentally deranged are all to be found among the members of this bachelor's large family. This family gives them identity, love, training and a positive outlook on life. Many have grown and left the family to re-settle on their own in the outer world that was so abrupt with them once.

Who is this man Vidyakar? Is he real?

An accident in Mysore:

He was born in 1953 in Kollegal a village near Mysore. Barely out of his mother's arms, he began to realise the heavy discord between his parents. His first awareness of the world was one of a space where he was not wanted. He was confused as to why he was there. School was a routine he had to go through. Home was a place to endure. With each passing year came the certainty that he was not wanted by his family for reasons he was too young to understand. He spent his time wandering the streets, helping neighbours, looking for anything that would give him relevance.

"Oh, let me not go in to the details. I was a virtual orphan. But one thing I recollect clearly: anyone in trouble in my mohalla and I was right in the middle, helping out!" he says with a wan smile.

One day he witnessed a road accident. The lone passenger in a car was grievously injured. A crowd gathered, the man was rushed to the hospital and the excitement subsided. But Vidyakar followed the ambulance. He was in attendance at the hospital the next couple of weeks, running errands, taking care. The victim was Mr. Ramakrishnan, an auto-parts dealer from Madras, aged about 35. Vidyakar was 13. The year,1967. Despite a language barrier a bond grew between the two that was to last till 1983, when Ramakrishnan died, nursed by Vidyakar.

Relatives soon arrived in Mysore to take Ramakrishnan for further care in Madras. But Vidyakar had had the first scent of love in his life. Within weeks he slipped out of his house, penniless. Riding a train without a ticket, he arrived in Madras. After two weeks of pounding the hungry streets, with sketchy information he found his patron. Ramakrishnan was slightly dazed at first, but soon took him under his wing.

Vidyakar resumed his studies. "I was not a bright student but I was certain what I wanted to do: social service. And Mr.Ramakrishnan indulged me" he says. But Vidyakar is being modest. He has a Masters in psychiatry and sociology. He is a Bachelor in law and a certified counselor. He has also interned 3 years at the Institute of Mental Health and at a leprosy hospital in Chennai.

But it was clear he had no head for business and so was not much help in the shop. The ever-indulgent Ramakrishnan, hung a wry sign at the shop front. 'Udavum Karangal,' it read in Tamil, meaning 'Helping Hands'. Soon Vidyakar had his hands full: typing letters, connecting people with resources, taking charge of distress situations, counseling the angry and the lost.

The baton passes to Prabhu

Let us pause a moment in this incredible story and remember Ramakrishnan. Vidyakar has named practically every structure and service after his patron. But Ramakrishnan was not a wealthy man. He was a middle class Indian in a joint family and taking Vidyakar on cannot have been an easy act. And to encourage this somewhat dreamy boy on his chosen path indicates a great spirit of mind. This is the very stuff of little known India, where unlikely heroes cause great change. This phenomenon must fill every Indian with pride, and hopefully, spur him on to assist.

Back to the story. 1983. Vidyakar, the busy body now has a vast following among the wretched of Aminjikarai, a derelict corner of Chennai. Ramakrishnan is dying of cancer. One late night, an aging cycle rickshaw man brings a babe wrapped in layers of newspaper. He had found it in a cinema hall after the last show. The child was dehydrated and close to death. Can't have been more than 10 months old.

"There was nothing to do but accept charge. I had already moved out of the Ramakrishnan household, as he had got married. I was with the baby in my room in the slum near the shop. I named him 'Prabhu'.Soon began the media attention and an uninvited reputation of one on whom the unwanted may be dumped," he says." And, oh before we go on: Prabhu is today a well adjusted young man in Kolar, re-claimed by his mother!"

Citizens of Chennai will recall how frequently in the eighties, the press reported Vidyakar being loaded with new responsibilities. He has never declined. Sunday evenings were spent by the beach with his wards, to beg for support. Help began to trickle in but responsibilities began to flood too. The AIDS era was dawning. Chennai was growing. Old values were changing. There were more people being sent to the dump heap. Vidyakar became the reluctant messiah.

Fast forward to 'NOW':

As Prabhu began to recover and grow, so did the Vidyakar 'family'. There were soon many wards, young and old filling his tenement to the rafters. And then they were without even the hut: a slum fire put them on the streets.

Ramakrishnan in a dying act funded a move to a rented building nearby. Help has been coming their way steadily. Soon they did not have to beg on the beach. Vidyakar bought a small parcel of land in Tiruverkkadu near Chennai and began to build an integrated campus to house his wards. Over the last decade it has grown to a vast island of peace. There is no need to repeat the details here, as you can read them by clicking on this link to the Udavum Karangal website

But two concluding points need to be made. The first, a features-list of Vidyakar's work. He is funded entirely by voluntary response; no government alms are sought or received. And most of the money is from Indians. His service has no religious slant. His wards are free to follow whatever religion they choose. The management costs are kept very low and frugality is the norm. No idler or undeserving is ever sheltered. The focus is on rehabilitation; either in the family or the society at large. And finally, this is no adoption shop. "They are all my children. I will never give up my responsibility to raise them," says Vidyakar.

The second and concluding point to be made is about the support you can give. For both running the services and completing the ongoing projects, huge sums are needed. But don't take a word of this article. Set aside about 4 hours to visit Udavum Karangal's facilities when you are next in Chennai. More than any visit to any temple of any claim to any transformation, this will reward you. But do be warned: you WILL loosen your purse strings. And discover new emotions.

In the following Link, you can listen to his interview to a website Life Of Excellence :

Here are the Addresses of UDHAVUM KARANGAL. Those who generously wanna contribute something, or do something for the society, you can contact them :

Head Office: Udavum Karangal
Chennai #460, N.S.K. Nagar
Chennai - 600106
Phone: +91-44-2621 6321, 2621 6421, 262 22161
Fax: +91-44-2626 7624
Phone # to call from US: 781 382 0966

Branch Office:
Udavum Karangal
Coimbatore #16 Thandumariamman Koil Street
Near Collectorate
Coimbatore - 641 018
Phone: +91-422-2302030, 2301090

US Chapter
Office: Udavum Karangal of USA
C/o Vedas
23 Crosby Drive
Phone: 781-275-9191 x 125

UK Chapter
14, View Road,
Phone: 774-840-0718

Source :,, , etc.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Inspiring Personalities - Mr.Sathish Babu - Founder Univercell

Inspiring Personalities:

It has been a quite long since I update this blog. Got time to update it now. Today is just gonna share about Mr.Sathish Babu. Many of us know about this UNIVERCELLY renowned entrepreneur..!! Don’t wonder, I’ve spelled it Correctly . He is the founder of UNIVERCELL !!! 
Here I start , thanks to few blogs and sites which made me to get inspired about this personality :
From selling vacuum cleaners as a door to door salesman owning a business selling mobile telephone sets is quite an impressive advance for a young man.D.Sathish Babu not only made that transition a decade ago, but he has firmly established himself as arguably the foremost multi location vendor of mobile telephones of all sizes and brands in India within a decade of launching himself in business.
The tag- line of the company he runs reads Univercell, the Mobile Expert . Anybody who has every shopped for a mobile phone in this part of the world known this is no empty boast
Sathish Babu, a mathematics graduate, began his career as a sales executive with Eureka Forbes where he steadily rose to the post of regional sales manager during nine year tenure. He left the company in 1997 to start his own business venture, bitten by the bug to be “my own boss”.
It was still the early days of the Indian Mobile phone retailing. The industry was highly fragmented and disorganized. Mobile handsets were expensive, the grey market dominated and there were few showrooms around to showcase mobile products
Sathish Babu entered this scene selling postpaid mobile connections as a Skycell teleshop. He soon decided he would provide a nice ambience in which his customers would be able to choose the cellphone instruments they liked in comfort and served well by intelligent, courteous, efficient salespersons.
Using his savings and some capital from the family, Sathish started UniverCell in 2000 in Chennai. Since then, Sathish and Univercell have spun a success story to be the largest mobile phone retailer and among the better known brands in India. Judicious investment in technology and people has seen to that. Statistics are available to show that one out of every handsets sold in the market is from Univercell. Its customer base stands at a vast 5 million, with 100,000 people buying its handsets every month.
From a single store with 32 employees in 2000, Univercell has grown to 170 stores with over 1350 employees across southern India. The company continues to be recognized as the top retailer by all major mobile manufactures and enjoys the best of concessions and incentives. It expects to open 300 stores across India by 2009 and seems will poised to achieve its ambitious target.

Sathish Babu has promoted the brand through every available mass media tool of advertising. Innovative marketing and a consistent presence across media have been the hallmark of Univercell’s journey as far. Celebrity endorsement is for instance a big part of its advertising campaigns with film actor R.Madhavan as its brand ambassador. With effective advertising campaigns and market a promotion, Sathish Babu has made sure that Univercell is well entrenched in the hearts and minds of the buying public all over India. The presence of large retail outlets, print, television, event promotions, billboards and FM radio broadcast, are constant reminders to customers existing and prospective keeping in line with the focus of aggressive expansion, Univercell has started SIS (Shop in Shop) model stress within Music World of RPG group.
Sathish Babu strives to constantly incorporate innovative retailing concepts into his organization. Trying them out first in TamilNadu, Univercell keeps replicating these ideas in the rest of the country. Training and constant motivation are important elements of the organisation’s culture and Sathish Babu’s young (average age staff 24) are known for their job knowledge, high morale articulation and pleasant demeanour.
Univercell has the distinction of being the first mobile phone retailer to provide a warranty on every purchase, keeping in mind the stiff competition the grey market poses. Recently Univercell launched an exclusive MOBILE THEFT and DAMAGE INSURANCE along with Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd. to cover all risks not covered under the manufacturer’s warranty. It was also the first mobile retailer to implement the touch and feel concept, besides offering several exchange offers.
Sathish Babu and Univercell are determined to go places. They are all set of move into the next phase of expansion. With the Indian cellphone market still quite away from reaching saturation, Univercell’s future looks bright.
Source : muralilistening.blogspot,,

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Inspiring Personalities - Mr.Karsanbhai Patel - Founder of Nirma Group (Nirma Washing Powder)

Inspiring Personalities:

Today I gonna post about Mr.Karsanbhai Patel, a Low profiled Entrepreneur from Gujarat. His name is not so famous among us, but his Brand Name is  !!!  Can any one forget the ad “Washing Powder Nirma………….” ? Yeap. He is the founder of Nirma Groups..

Born into a farmer family from north Gujarat, Karsanbhai finished his B.Sc. in Chemistry at age 21 and worked as a lab technician, first in the New Cotton Mills, Ahmedabad, of the Lalbhai group and then at the Geology and Mining Department of the state Government.
It was in 1969 that Dr. Karsanbhai Patel started Nirma and went on to create a whole new segment in the Indian domestic detergent market. He has named it as Nirma in Memory of her Daughter Nirupama, who is no more now . During that time the domestic detergent market only had the premium segment and there were very few companies , mainly the MNCs , which were into this business.

Karsanbhai Patel used to make detergent powder in the backyard of his house in Ahmedabad and then carry out door to door selling of his hand made product in his Bi-Cycle. He gave a money back guarantee with every pack that was sold.Karsanbhai Patel managed to offer his detergent powder for Rs. 3 per kg when the cheapest detergent at that time was Rs.13 per kg and so he was able to successfully target the middle and lower middle income segment.

Sabki Pasand Nirma…

Nirma became a huge success and all this was a result of Karsanbhai Patel’s entrepreneurial skills.
Karsanbhai Patel had good knowledge of chemicals and he came up with Nirma detergent which was a result of innovative combination of the important ingredients.Indigenous method was used ,and also the detergent was more environment friendly.

Consumers now had a quality detergent powder , having an affordable price tag.
The process of detergent production was labour intensive and this gave employment to a large number of people.Nirma focused on cost reduction strategies to make a place for itself in the market.Nirma has always been known for offering quality products at afforbable prices and thus creating good value for the consumer’s money.

In the 1980s nirma moved ahead of Surf , a detergent by HLL , to caputre a large market share.Later, Nirma successfully entered in the premium segment of soaps and detergents.Nirma went on to become the largest detergent and the second largest soap company in India.Nirma had more than 35% market share in the detergent segment and around 20 % market share in the toilet soap segment.The company got listed on the stock exchanges in the year 1994.

Nirma adopted backward integration strategy for the regular supply of raw materials,90 % of which they manufacture themselves.Nirma also gave due importance to modernization ,expansion and upgradation of the production facilities.The company also made sure that it uses the latest technology and infrastructure.

As far as Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is concerned, Nirma has made some good efforts by starting Nirma Education & Research Foundation (NERF) in the year 1994 for the purpose of running various educational institutes.Nirma has also set up Nirma labs , which prepares aspiring entrepreneurs to effectively face the different business challenges.Nirma also runs Nirma Memorial Trust ,Nirma Foundation and Chanasma Ruppur Gram Vikas Trust as a part of their effort as a socially responsible corporate citizen.

The company that was started in 1969 with just one man who used to deliver his product from one house to the other,today employs around 14 thousand people .
This is how Forbes Describes about this person Karsanbhai Patel:

“Born into a farmer's family, he made early fortune with detergent brand Nirma, which is one of the top-selling low-priced detergents. His success forced Unilever and Procter & Gamble to launch cheaper clones. Nirma is now one of India's leading consumer and chemical companies; its soaps and detergents sell through two million retail outlets. In 2004, it expanded into pharma by acquiring an IV fluid factory in Ahmedabad. Also acquired U.S.-based Searles Valley Minerals to become one of the top producers of soda ash in the world. His two sons run the business.”

Sources: whitekoundinya.blogspot, frenzyindia.blogspot,

Friday, 20 July 2012

Inspiring Personalities - Techie Brothers – Mr.Kumar Srinivasan, GM-VP Amazon Bangalore & Mr.Kalyan Ram (Kal Ram), CEO of Global Scholar

Inspiring Personalities:

For the past few days, I have been posting/sharing mostly about those Inspiring Personalities who have succeeded without or with less education.Today I gonna share about the Two Techie Brothers born in Mannarkovil (Tirunelveli Dt) who came from the poor background and has stepped onto greater heights because of their education and hard work. They are Mr.Kumar Srinivasan, GM-VP Amazon Bangalore & Mr.Kalyan Ram (Kal Ram), CEO of Global Scholar.

Lets go !!!

From the humble environs of the village in which they were born to the sophisticated corporate world, successfully breaking the shackles of poverty that ruined the mirth of their boyhood, the two brothers – Kumar Srinivasan as the General Manager, Vice President of Technology and Head of Amazon Bangalore Center and Kalyan Raman as the CEO of Global Scholar – today reign the corporate world. The Cost of Being Poor
On Diwali morning in 1987 Kumar Srinivasan woke up just as he did every day. His biggest Diwali gift was waiting for him. “My brother gave me 10 and he was budgeting this for the last 3 months,” recalls Kumar.
With no breakfast, he used to walk 10-12 kms everyday to go to school. Luckily for him, the then Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu M.G. Ramachandran had introduced Midday Meal Scheme for school children in the state. “That’s why my mom always voted for MGR’s party,” quips Kumar. While he looked forward to the much-needed meal-sambar bath with a few pieces of carrot and tomato, Kumar would stay back after all students had left to wash the vessels. This would earn him an extra plate of meal, which he promptly packed and brought home. Sometime he would give it to his younger brother in whose school the scheme was yet to be introduced, and sometimes the morsel of food would be lunch for his sister next day. His childhood memories still bear the imprints of a household bonded by the pressures of poverty.
Kumar’s family lived in such abject poverty that they reached a point when they had nothing left in the house that could be sold to meet the next day’s expenses. It was then that his mother decided to sell the only ceiling fan left in the house. Selling the fan would buy them food for another one full week. “The situation was so miserable that I remember my mother selling our stainless steel plates, in which we would eat, for 50 paise,” narrates Kumar.
“I still remember passing down the clothes to my younger brothers. The trousers that the youngest one used to wear to go to school had more white patches on it than its original blue color because of the stitches,” nostalgically says Kumar’s elder brother Kalyan Raman (Kal). His energy and passion are very obvious in his words. And it is this energy and passion that were a common trait amongst all the siblings. He says, “We never felt we were poor. Even though we weren’t all that happy, we were peaceful because we always lived on hope. The beauty of hope is that when you have nothing else left to lean upon, you get used to be peaceful. You wait for miracles to happen. Waiting for miracles helps remain hopeful,” says Kal.
Their mother made a bold call early on saying, “I want every kid to be educated to the best of their abilities. Nobody is going to discontinue education and take a job for a short term gain. If we have to suffer for a few years, so be it.” Many of their relatives thought otherwise. They saw no need for all the kids to go to school. Her stubbornness to send children to school only meant that relatives would stop helping. It didn’t matter much to her.
Later on in life, Kal steps into Anna University. Best students from elite schools across the state used to come there to study, and here was a kid from the village trying to compete with them. “It was not daunting, but it was exciting to me,” says Kal. However, it was not a happy sign to see his classmates coming to college on bicycles, bikes, or cars. Some were wearing double bull shirts and the latest branded jeans or shoes out in the market. Kal couldn’t get the money to buy or do whatever he wanted. “I struggled,” he notes.
While he was in Anna University, like other hostel students, he would need money for his basic expenses. A postman would come to the hostel block during lunch break, sit in a prominent place and read out names of students who had received money orders from their parents. “Senthil…Rs 500; Arasu…Rs 200; Chandra…Rs 1,000; Selvam; and so on.” The students would walk up, collect the money, and tip the postman with Rs 5 or 10, as they pleased. The postman would never ever call out ‘Kalyan Raman’. After the roll call, as the happy students dispersed, the postman would silently walk up to Kal and handover the 2.50 money order his mother would have sent with love. “Receiving such a meager amount would look bad for an engineering student. The postman was so thoughtful that he would not call my name as it would hurt my self respect. Even if I offered 25 paise as a friendly tip he would not accept it,” recalls Kal. The thoughtful postman would only pat on his back and say, “Kalyan, study well.” But the money order his mother sent him reminded Kal of a number of things and kindled his spirits, and perhaps was one of the main reasons behind what Kal has achieved today. With almost zero money, Kal became the biggest defaulter for not paying the mess fees.
 The cook in the kitchen had learnt about Kal’s poor condition. He would say, “I know I am not supposed to give you food but come after everyone is done with.” There were several days when Kal had no food to eat. He would be eagerly waiting to grab food when day scholars at college offered him a portion of the food that they had brought from home. “It was a survival game,” says Kal.
Kal is today the CEO of, which offers an online tutoring platform, where parents and students can safely connect with trusted educators who provide one-on-one tutoring, homework help, or self-paced learning.

Kumar Follows Kal :

Meanwhile Kumar completed his B.Sc. in Physics, and on his brother’s advice he landed in Chennai and joined SSI for Diploma in Computers. He then went to the U.S. to join his brother. He is currently is the General Manager and Vice President responsible for a business unit, while being the head of the India center. However, Kumar doesn’t agree to the fact that he has achieved a lot in a short span of 10 years of his professional life. “Go, look at the Facebook CEO, he is just 23. I am 13 years behind already. Everyday I think I am very much behind and need to catch up with the rest of the world,” he says. In Kumar’s spirit and daring attitude to perform you cannot fail to see a mirror image of Kal.
Kal remarks, as he narrates couplets in Tamil: Kodithu Kodithy Varumai Kodithu Athaninum Kodithu Illamayil Varumai. It says: Poverty is very cruel; more cruel is the poverty in youth. “Poverty and richness can either be a catalyst or could be a burden to get better. It all depends on the mindset. It has everything to do with the fire in the belly or having the wings of fire. There are examples of people getting repressed and depressed by poverty and unable to get anywhere. Willing to do whatever it takes and wanting to prove a point, wanting to make a difference, wanting to be known for something that’s what differentiates. Poverty just pushes the goals farther and makes the struggle to achieve interesting, from the view point of others. It creates its own challenges. I don’t think, it either hurts or helps if the person doesn’t have that fire within him.”
When Kal’s dad passed away, he used to tell his mother, “Don’t worry mother. Some day we (children) will make so much of money that you wouldn’t even know what to do with.” She did believe in his words. “Neither of us had any clue as to how it will come to pass,” quips Kal. And he definitely kept his promise.

Source :,