– Special Correspondent
Govindaperi a remote village in the deep south picturesque Tenkasi – Ambasamudram road bordering the western ghats. with a population of 1500 families of Thevar & Scheduled Castes (the later living in adjoining Rajangapuram of the same Panchayat). Blessed are these people by the entry of Sridhar Vembu with his IT behemoth ZOHO with a determination to transform the scenario. Poverty, illiteracy, caste tensions, migration & lack of self-sufficiency will be things of the past if honest Swadesi Sridhar’s ongoing plans aren’t challenged by the forces responsible for perpetuating the listed/ unlisted evils.
Ranked as the 59th richest Indian with a net worth of INR 18,000 crores, Sridhar’s identification with the village is 100%. It’s a sight to see at the end of his morning walk around the village, having morning tea at a local shop in the village, residents coming to him for a chat giving general updates on what is going on etc. His engagement with all the age groups is a must-watch. About 80 young boys & girls in fresh attire, coming out of their houses walking along, having fun, sharing stories with him to the non-formal school he’s started. His idea for a school of his rural empowerment vision has resulted in the most needed social harmony- children from Rajangapuram joining in good numbers.
Such a tall personality that Sridhar is, can never be identified that way when people witness him in the unshaven face, simple dhoti, riding a bicycle or battery-operated auto, sipping a glass of tea with the villagers. All very natural and amply revealing his inner urge to pay back to this society. The villagers can never comprehend the magnitude and influence Sridhar commands worldwide. Mingling and assimilation are complete.
For the children attending his rural school, breakfast, lunch and snacks are provided, and the food is cooked at the school itself. From this school area, some tens of acres have been utilized for growing vegetables, pulses and rice that would make the entire food program self-reliant. With about 80+ cows in the school gaushaala, the dairy products are utilized for the in-house requirements. So many men and women from the village are employed in the school, agri activities by him.
His uniqueness in thoughts in terms of technology advancement (especially the manufacturing of chips and other programmable components locally in our country) by empowering the locals with the right knowledge coupled with a living style that demonstrates the “giving back to the society” is worth the mention. His constant challenging is sure to kindle the young minds to start contributing more rather being a consumer of various products. It is not just a CSR activity that corporates and celebrities brag about, but he walks the talk in every sense.
An ever-restless Sridhar constantly questioning to himself and whoever he encounters- be it the village kids, youths or colleagues in the industry ‘why not us’ reveals his intense patriotism. Others bound to seriously ponder over whether they can imitate for a greater cause.
Will the Nation notice this unique individual, his aggressive and down to earth ‘Aathmanirbhar’ implementation?