Sai Prasad Vishwanathan – the epitome of optimism and determination – proves to the world that disability lies in the minds of the people.
Here is all he shared with us during his interaction.
Bhagwat Geeta : Disability is in Karma.
The Holy Bible: God wants to show miracles through you.
Quran : You are an object of charity.
From ancient times, a differently abled person is often seen as a liability and is generally pitied on by others. But Sai Prasad Vishwanathan doesn’t believe in this idea.
The discrimination started since the sophomore years in school and the condition worsened as he moved to college life.
The story began when Sai Prasad set himself on the voyage of becoming an Engineer. Due to some reasons he wasn’t able to procure a seat in desired branch in Osmania University. Later on he decided to drop an year.
Neighbor: O! you didn’t get a seat in the University?
Sai: I left the seat.
Neighbor : So you didn’t get admission right!
Then finally he took admission in CBIT, Hyderabad which was quite far from his place.
Neighbour : Will you be able to climb the bus?
How will you get your sister married?
The fact that he was awarded Prathibha Scholarship by the C.M. for his B.Tech was not talked about by the neighbor though.
Indian neighbors and relatives follow you more than any social media.
Many of us would have found ourselves in similar situations. Many decisions in life are based on how others judge you.
So here’s an important lesson in life,
“Unless you build value for people, nobody will respect you, not even a dog on the street”
Believe in yourself and stand up for yourself rather than allowing others to take control of your life.
Building value is very important because otherwise you mean nothing to anyone and you will consistently disappoint yourself with their behavior. You will expect them to behave in a way you behave with them. But sorry, that is not the case.
After completing B.Tech, he got a job in Infosys. After working for 4 months there Sai Prasad Vishwanathan resigned and wrote GRE and TOEFL. He cracked the exams and procured admission in all the 6 universities he had applied for.
Now came the biggest challenge, arranging the fee. Not everyone is born with a silver spoon, now let’s see how Sai Prasad Vishwanathan arranged for his M.S fee all by himself.
He tried to get a sponsor for his education. But sadly nobody wanted to help. From NGOs to media, nobody bothered. Lastly after waiting for about 4 hours, outside The Hindu’s office, someone agreed to publish an article on the help required.
An article “Physically Challenged, Mentally Tough” was published in the newspaper highlighting the financials of the family and the achievement of Sai Prasad Vishwanathan.
Neighbor: Oh my God! your annual income is so meagre! How will you get your daughter married off?
How will he survive there? What is the point of sending your son so far?
Still ignoring the fact that Sai Prasad Vishwanathan had got admission in the most prestigious colleges.
Till now nobody was ready to fund him.
Unperturbed by their opinions, Sai Prasad Vishwanathan took a stride and decided to take help from his college. He conducted a week long program training students for placements. Out of this 6 day program, first 3 days were free, and subsequently the charges were Rs. 1000 per day per person. This laid the foundation stone for “Sahasra”.
“God helps those who help themselves. Nothing can beat you if you put in your best and your objectives are clear”
And so 700 students were trained in first 3 days but 740 turned up for subsequent 3 days!
- CREATING VALUE PAYS!
This is how he procured his fee for M.S. in University on Wisconsin, Madison.
Thereafter he was one of the 2 people who got the scholarship in the University for rest of his degree.
The Second funda is
“To create value, you have to take risk. When you take risk, take maximum risk”
After studying in US, Sai Prasad Vishwanathan he realized how facilities are different for specially abled people in US and in India. He was no longer seen with mercy. He was free. His potential was valued. To give this message to Indians, Sai Prassad Vishwanathan along with his friend created a video showcasing the excellent facilities and infrastructure for the differently abled people. But not much attention was paid.
It was time when Sai Prasad Vishwanathan decided to do something big. He went for “Skydiving” .He became the first specially abled person to skydive from 14000 feet and got his name registered in Limca Book of World Records. Again made a video which went viral and Sai Prasad Vishwanathan became the icon for all of us.
He joined various NGO’s. He completed his MBA from Indian School of Business again with full scholarship. He worked with Aamir Khan productions in 13 projects, one of them being Satyamev Jayate.
But the journey didn’t end here, he believes ” Life is an adventure and I have to live it”.
Talking of the adventures, he lived in The grand Canyon for 7 days and took a dive at the intersection of The Pacific Ocean and The Atlantic Ocean and his tryst of adventure continues.
The things Sai Prasad Vishwanathan achieved as a specially abled person are a dream for physically fit person. This gives a clear picture that disability is not in a person, but in the minds of people around you. If you are being discouraged, be confident, be clear about your goal and nothing can stop you!
Lastly he believes there are four components that are most important in our lives:
- MONEY: This represents the value that people think you build.
- VALUE: Positive or negative changes you bring to society.
- IMPACT: Actual change that happened.
- RECOGNITION: People believing that “value” and”impact”happened.
Conquering the hearts with his wit, determination and setting benchmarks for all of us, Sai Prasad Vishwanathan becomes an ideal for all of us. More power to you sir!