Inspiring success story of Ingvar Kamprad, founder of IKEA

Ingvar Feodor Kamprad was born on 30 March 1926, in a small farm called Elmtaryd near village of Agunnaryd, in the Swedish province of Småland.

Kamprad started showing interest in business even as a small boy.Hebegan to develop a business as a young boy, selling matches to neighbours from his bicycle. He found that he could buy matches in bulk very cheaply from Stockholm, sell them individually at a low price, and still make a good profit.

Ingvar Kamprad began his career at the age of five. He asked his aunt when she visited the Swedish capital Stockholm if she could buy 100 boxes of matches for 0.88 SEK a piece and bring them back to Ingvar Kamprad. He later sold these matches for a profit of 0.01 to 0.05 SEK a piece.

Ingvar Kamprad also sold Christmas cards, fish he had caught himself and berries he had collected himself.He reinvested his profits and expanded to fish, seeds, Christmas tree decorations, and pens and pencils.

Because he was always reluctant to wake up early in the morning and help his father milk the cows, Kamprad’s parents worried their son would not amount to much. His father would say. “You’ll never make anything of yourself!” However, that all changed when Kamprad received an alarm clock for his birthday. Kamprad began setting the alarm for 5:50 am every day, and removed the ‘off’ button. This was a major turning point in the young Kamprad’s life; he began to focus on achievement rather than sleep.

His amazement that he could buy a product and resell it for a profit fuelled his ambitions as a young boy to become a successful businessman. Although he suffered from Dyslexia, this did not hamper his desires and aspirations to succeed.

As a young boy he started to get involved in small business deals.Even as a young boy, he understood the principles of business and reinvested his profits to buy more bulk merchandise to resell.He had a very good business sense and taught himself many business tricks

He is a totally self made businessman who learnt all the tricks by his hard work and made the best use of all opportunities in his career.He continued to expand his business to a variety of goods, including wallets, watches, jewellery and stockings. When he outgrew his ability to call on his customers individually, he converted to a sort of makeshift mail order operation, hiring the local milk van to make his deliveries.

At the beginning of its operation, the young Kamprad engaged in the trade of different things (from matches to discount stockings). But the biggest demand was for pen. At the beginning of 1940s they were a novelty even in Sweden. Kamprad ordered 500 pens from Paris, taking a loan of 500 SEK in a district bank (at the time around 63 USD). According to Kamprad, this was the first and the last loan that he had taken in his life.

At first the business was typically mail-order and included only small household goods such as picture frames, wallets, nylon stockings, pens and wallets. Five years later he expanded to include furniture.In 1947, Kamprad introduced furniture into the IKEA product line.

At 17, in 1943, Kamprad’s father rewarded him with a small sum of money for doing well in school, despite being dyslexic. With it, Ingvar founded a business named IKEA.The name IKEA was formed from Kamprad’s initials (I.K.) plus the first letters of Elmtaryd and Agunnaryd, the farm and village where he grew up.

In 1948, Ingvar Kamprad came up with a fresh idea and he decided to engage in trade of furniture. Further it will be the main source of profit for IKEA.The furniture was delivered in trucks to homes as well as train stations. Despite his dyslexia problem the company flourished.

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As with all good ideas the Ikea concept is simple: pass the job of putting furniture together on to the customer. The idea came to Kamprad when he took the legs off a table to make it fit into a car.

He once said “Guimars Fabriker from Alvesta, who was my main competitor, has been selling furniture in Kagnuit for a long time. I saw his ad in an agricultural newspaper and also decided to try my hand in the business. Thus, furniture sale, which I started by chance, and solely in order to outdo my competitors, has determined my fate”.

The use of local manufacturers allowed him to keep his costs down. The furniture was a hit, and in 1951, Kamprad decided to discontinue all other product lines and focus on furniture. In 1953, the first IKEA showroom opened. It came about because of competitive pressures. IKEA was in a price war with its main competitor. The showroom allowed people to see it, touch it, feel it, and be sure of the quality before buying.

On the one hand, Kamprad has a reputation for being, “cheap”. He takes the subway to work, and when he drives, it’s an old Volvo. He always travels economy class in planes, and if he goes by train, if possible, he will sit in second class. He never stays at expensive hotels.

Though past 85, Kamprad still travels the world to visit new IKEA stores. He flies economy class, calls his employees ‘co-workers’, encourages everyone to dress informally, stays in cheap hotels and even replaces bottles from the hotel room mini-bar with cheap bottles bought in local supermarkets. He gives no interviews.

Employees at Ikea HQ are told to use both sides of a sheet of paper and get a telling-off if they leave the lights on when leaving a room. Certainly anyone encountering him doing his shopping in the local market (always near closing time when vendors are more likely to drop their prices) dressed in his scruffy coat would assume he was just another elderly gent living on a tight budget rather than the fifth wealthiest entrepreneur in the world

He reportedly recycles tea bags and is known to pocket the salt and pepper packets at restaurants.” In addition, Kamprad has been known to visit IKEA for a “cheap meal”. He is known for purchasing Christmas paper and presents in post-Christmas sales.

Kamprad’s biographers believe that the trading hobby was passed to Ingvar by inheritance. In 1897, the company, that belonged to the grand father of the future billionaire was on the verge of bankruptcy. His grandfather could not pay the mortgage and committed suicide. But the Ingvar’s grand mother was able to save the business. So she taught her grandson to bridge over the difficulties with will power and perseverance. Ingvar’s grand mother Francis had a huge positive impact not only on him, but on the entire family. She was a very intelligent woman from a simple origin.

People, who closely work with Ingvar Kamprad, say that he is a brilliant marketer, wise man who never makes a mistake.

He tells people he has many shortcomings, that he is slightly stupid. Yet he remains incredibly sharp and knowledgeable down to the smallest detail.

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He was neither trained doing business nor he read books on the subject.And this is true as he never attended a university (school teachers could not teach him to read for a long time). The lack of a university degree Kamprad always replaced with enthusiasm. Once he remarked: “If you work and do not feel incorrigible enthusiasm, consider that at least a third of your life has gone down the drain.”

To attract prospective customers to the presentation of the store, the young entrepreneur promised a free cup of coffee and a bun to everyone who would come. Imagine his surprise when this modest event attracted more than a thousand people! The first presentation of the day was about to become the last one. Nevertheless, everyone got a cup of coffee and a bun. And the idea about opening a fast food restaurant in each store looked great for the owner of IKEA. Time passed and each IKEA store got a fast food restaurant.

From modest beginnings with local mail order Ikea now serves 350 million customers.

View the following video to know about his success story.

Ingvar Kamprad’s Quotes

“People say I am cheap, and I don’t mind if they do. How the hell can I tell people who work for me to travel cheaply when I travel in luxury? It’s a question of good leadership.”

“Only those who are asleep make no mistakes. There are few people who have made so many fiascos in my life as I have.”

“IKEA is not completely perfect. It irritates me to death to hear it said that IKEA is the best company in the world. We are going the right way to becoming it, for sure, but we are not there yet.”

“I’m not afraid of turning 80 and I have lots of things to do. I don’t have time for dying.”

“Simplicity in our behaviour gives us strength. Simplicity and humbleness characterize us in our relations with each other, with our suppliers, and with our customers.”

“How the hell can I ask people who work for me to travel cheaply if I am traveling in luxury? It’s a question of good leadership.”

“I could regularly travel first class, but having money in abundance doesn’t seem like a good reason to waste it. Why should I choose first class? To be offered a glass of champagne from the air hostess? If it helped me arrive at my destination more quickly, then maybe.”

“I could have an office all to myself, but since my collaborators don’t have one, then I too am content to have a desk in the shared room.”

“If you want to maximize results, it’s not enough to simply preach – you have to set a good example. I am very proud to follow the rules of our company.”

“Simple routines have a greater impact. It is not just to cut costs that we avoid luxury hotels. We do not need fancy cars, posh titles, tailor-made uniforms, or other status symbols. We rely on our own strength and our own will.”

“Making mistakes is the privilege of the active. It is always the mediocre people who are negative, who spend their time proving that they were not wrong”.

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Deborah’s story: From Tsunami survivor to Cycling role model

Deborah was just nine years old when the deadly tsunami struck the Car Nicobar air base where her father works. Her entire family was displaced due to the natural calamity and she had to spend a whole day on a tree to survive before rebuilding her life from nothing.

Deborah has not only reshaped her life but also emerged as the country’s top cyclist.The girl from Car Nicobar has overcome tremendous adversities in her short life to usher India’s finest medal haul at the Junior Asian Cycling Championships with one silver and two bronze in the track races.

Cycling was far from her mind when a devastating tsunami hit the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in 2004. “My mother was in the church praying while I was at home with my father, brother and sister when there was the earthquake followed by the tsunami. We didn’t really understand what was going on at that time. As everyone was running into the forest, we did the same. For the next five days we stayed inside the jungle, sometimes clinging on to trees before the rescue team arrived, ” Deborah says, recalling the toughest time in her life.

“I had lost my house, my school when the tsunami hit Andaman and Nicobar island. I was in Nicobar, we had to rush into the forest to save our lives. We are four members in the family. I have a small brother,” she recollects. “Government helped to rebuild our house. After that I had to cycle my way to my school. I was involved in other sports such as high jump, long jump, shot put etc but my coach Sensor told me to switch to cycling,” says the 19-year-old.

deb 2There is a hint of a grin on her face as she narrates the incident, which probably shows that life post that tsunami has taught her to take things in her stride. She counts it as a blessing. “I wasn’t always into cycling. I took part in a lot of athletics, especially long jump events, in school as well as the national level.

During one of the high altitude training exercises, the campers were asked to participate in a rope climbing activity to test their strength. While even the men cyclist managed to achieve the target just once, Deborah repeated the feat thrice and the coaching staff was convinced that she was a special one.

But for better part of her childhood, cycling was a routine job for Deborah and she dreamed of making a career as a long jumper during her school days.

However fate had a different plan for the elder of two siblings. In one of the local games, Deborah brought along her cycle from Car Nicobar to Andaman islands to make up the numbers in that event too and went on to win the competition.

The experts and coaches watching her was so impressed with her style that they convinced her to shift from track and field to the cycling track and she has not looked back.

Her father has a modest job in the Indian Air Force and is based out of Car Nicobar Air Base. As Deborah moved to Andaman, she hardly got to spend time with her family. “It is not easy commuting between Andaman and Car Nicobar. I spend most of my time in the Andaman SAI Centre and go home only for two weeks during the Christmas holidays, ” she says.debroah

She hit the limelight after clinching her first track gold in the Amritsar nationals in January 2012. Last year, she won a gold medal at the junior national cycling championships before managing a silver medal in the senior category.

The 18-year-old can hardly convey how the family coped with the natural calamity in her broken Hindi but the tone of her voice in enough to tell the story of the struggle. But fighting adverse conditions to not just survive but also carve a niche for herself has been second nature for the girl who grabbed the best medal haul (1 silver and 2 bronze) for an Indian cyclist in the junior category of the Hero Asian Cycling championship in New Delhi.

Her communication with fellow campers was restricted to a few pleasantries due to her lack of prowess in Hindi or English.

Deborah won two gold medals in the junior category in the 2012 Nationals in Amritsar and has been a regular part of the Indian squad since then.

The Cycling Federation of India (CFI) has now been forced to sit up and take note of the juniors’ performance and is now keen to develop it keeping in mind the 2016 Rio Olympics. “We have proposed that some of the juniors, including Deborah, should be sent to the UCI Academy in Switzerland for training. It costs about 4, 000 Swiss Francs a month and we have sent a letter to the sports ministry and SAI in this regard. Their phenomenal showing in this Championship should convince the authorities to help us out, ” reveals a CFI official.

In fact, CFI secretary general Onkar Singh believes Deborah has the potential to be the face of Indian cycling in the near future. “If she is provided the right opportunities to prosper, Deborah can potentially achieve what SainaNehwal has done for Indian badminton, “Onkar says.

Given the right support, Deborah can not only manage to achieve far bigger feats but also be a role model for many youngsters from remote parts of the country to take up cycling as a sports career.

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Inspiring story of Jan Koum, a college drop out who started WhatsApp

Jan Koum, co-founder of WhatsApp was born in a small village near Kiev in Ukraine. He was the only child of a housewife and a construction manager who built hospitals and schools.

His house did not even have electricity.He led a life full of hardships as his family struggled hard to meet ends meet.

Jan Koum was so poor as a teenager that he used to save his old Soviet notebooks for school and queued with his mom for food stamps. Koum’s mother brought with her a cache of pens and Soviet-issued notebooks to save money on school supplies.He used to do menial jobs like cleaning and mopping at a grocery store while his mother took up a baby-sitting job. They lived on allowances from the government.

Life took a tragic turn when his mother was diagnosed with cancer.After his mother was diagnosed with cancer, they survived with the help of disability payments received from government.

At 16, Koum and his mother immigrated to Mountain View, a result of the troubling political and anti-Semitic environment, and got a small two-bedroom apartment though government assistance. His father did not make it to the United States, where the family sought to escape anti-Semitism and oppressive tactics of secret police.

Koum was a troublemaker at school but by 18 had also taught himself computer networking by purchasing manuals from a used book store and returning them when he was done. He joined a hacker group called w00w00 on the Efnet internet relay chat network, squirreled into the servers of Silicon Graphics and chatted with Napster co-founder Sean Fanning.

He enrolled at San Jose State University and worked at Ernst & Young as a security tester.

In 1997, he found himself sitting across a desk from Acton, Yahoo employee, to inspect the company’s advertising system. Within a year, Koum was working as an engineer at Yahoo and the pair was on their way to being close friends.

Little did he realize that this was the beginning of an illustrious career. Meeting Brian Acton was a turning point in his life.

When Koum’s mother died of cancer in 2000 the young Ukrainian was suddenly alone; his father had died in 1997. But life’s adversities only made Jan Koum stronger and resilient. He credits Acton with reaching out and offering support.

Acton, meanwhile, reportedly lost millions investing during the famous dot-com boom that ended with an infamous dot-com bust.Koum later got a job at Yahoo as an infrastructure engineer. Soon he dropped out of college. However, Koum did not stay on the job for long. In September 2007, Koum and Acton bid farewell to Yahoo and decided to unwind and travel around.

Acton and Koum left Yahoo in 2007 and took a year off, exploring South America and playing the sport of Ultimate Frisbee, according to Forbes.

The most interesting part of their journey is that both Jan Koum and Brian Acton applied for a job in Facebook and were rejected in 2009. The Daily Mail reports that Brian Acton, Jan Koum’sWhatsApp co-founder, was rejected from both Twitter and Facebook.The Mail adds:

“In a tweet on his Twitter account at the time, he had posted: ‘Facebook turned me down. It was a great opportunity to connect with some fantastic people. Looking forward to life’s next adventure.”

As savings started getting over, the duo started thinking about new start-up ideas. Incidentally, in 2009, the seeds of this amazing innovation were sown.

Jan’s childhood made him appreciate communication that was not bugged or taped,” Sequoia Capital partner Jim Goetz said in an online post. “When he arrived in the US as a 16-year-old immigrant living on food stamps, he had the extra incentive of wanting to stay in touch with his family in Russia and the Ukraine.”

“Jan was showing me his address book,” recalls Fishman. “His thinking was it would be really cool to have statuses next to individual names of the people.” The statuses would show if you were on a call, your battery was low, or you were at the gym. Koum could do the backend, but he needed an iPhone developer, so Fishman introduced Koum to Igor Solomennikov, a developer in Russia that he’d found on

Koum bought an iPhone and figured out that apps would be the next big thing. He thought creating a hassle-free and instant messaging service would work wonders across the globe if it had mobile users as base.

The idea was to get people across the world to network on a single platform effortlessly.It took him months of back-breaking work and testing to get the code in place.There were several trying times when things would not fall in place.


WhatsApp was formed in 2009 by Jan Koum and Brian Acton, two former long-time Yahoo employees. WhatsApp is a messaging service that uses the data connection of your mobile phone to transmit messages, similar to the service offered by Apple under iMessage, or the popular BlackBerry Messenger.

Jan Koum who dislikes any kind of publicity, has even refused to put up a sign board outside their WhatsApp office.

WhatsApp has experienced a similar growth phenomenon to fellow Silicon Valley startup Instagram. Despite having a team of fewer than 50 engineers, the user base of WhatsApp has grown to over 500 million active users, 700 million photos and 100 million videos are shared each day, and the messaging system handles more than 10 billion messages each day.

The application has taken off internationally, with Europe and South America leading the way in adoption. The highly efficient engineering team is also supporting a high volume of messages over the app, which peaks at over 1 billion a day.

On February 19, 2014, Facebook Inc. announced it is acquiring WhatsApp Inc. for US$19 billion. Facebook will pay $4 billion in cash, $12 billion in Facebook shares and $3 billion in restricted stock units to be granted to WhatsApp founders and employees that will vest over four years.

Koum signed the Facebook takeover contract at the unused building where he and his mother once queued for food stamps in the Silicon Valley city of Mountain View, where WhatsApp is located.

It is inspiring to know how a college dropout who was rejected by Facebook for employment, went on to create a global internet company Whats App.

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Success story of Krishnammal Jagannathan in procuring land for landless labourers

Krishnammal Jagannathan was born to a landless Dalit family in 1926. She was the fifth child of seven children and grew up in Ayankottai in Dindugul district in Tamil Nadu.

After completing primary school in the nearby village of Pattiveeranpatti, she traveled to Madurai in the year 1936 to live in a hostel to pursue secondary education. It was there, through the hostel warden that she came across the teachings of Swami Ramalinga Vallazhar, whose appeal for simple living, high thinking, the inherent-divinity of all religions and unity of all paths, and compassion for all beings in the world touched her inner-being.

Her first encounter with social injustice and poverty was by looking at her mother Nagammal who had to toil very hard even when she was in advanced stage of  pregnancy.

Her mother Nagammal was born in the lowest and most oppressed caste and gave birth to 12 children, of which only seven survived. She was widowed at the age of 32. She used to climb up the mountain range near the village early in the morning to bring grass for the cattle. Due to dire poverty, she had to do this routinely even in advanced stages of pregnancy. Once, on the way she developed labour-pains, delivered the child with the help of her companions, and trekked back home with the child and bundle of grass. Her alcoholic husband used to beat her daily. He died of cancer when krishnammal was aged 11 yrs.

Her mother Nagammal had influenced Krishnammal in developing compassion for fellow beings, particularly the down-trodden and oppressed. While hosting a meal for visiting dignitaries and honourable guests at home, she would sneak through the back-door with food to give to someone hungry and needy in the neighbourhood.

Despite her family’s poverty, she obtained university level education and was soon committed to the Gandhian Sarvodaya Movement, through which she met her husband, Sankaralingam Jagannathan.

Sankaralingam Jagannathan came from a rich family but gave up his college studies in 1930 in response to Gandhi’s call for non-cooperation and disobedience. He joined the Quit India Movement in 1942 and spent three and a half years in jail before India gained its independence in 1947. During this time he already had considerable impact as campaigner on behalf of the poor.

Sankaralingam and Krishnammal married in 1950, having decided only to marry in independent India. Her marriage to Shri.Jagannathan has been a real union. Keeping constant company to her husband, Krishnammal took part in every notable Sarvodaya Movement, including the Total Revolution initiated by Jayaprakash Narayan. She played a leading role in carving out an effective alternative to the communist technique of violent peasant struggle in terms of the Gandhian technique of Satyagraha and fast.


Sankaralingam Jagannathan and Krishnammal decided early in their life that one of the key requirements for building a Gandhian society is empowering the rural poor by redistribution of land to the landless.

From 1950 to 1952 Sankaralingam Jagannathan was with Vinoba Bhave in Northern India on his Bhoodan (land-gift) Padayatra (pilgrimage on foot), the march appealing to landlords to give one sixth of their land to the landless, while Krishnammal completed her teacher-training course in Madras.

He then returned to Tamil Nadu to start the Bhoodhan movement, and until 1968 the two worked for land redistribution through Vinoba Bhave’s Gramdan movement (Village Gift, the next phase of the land-gift movement), and through Satyagraha (non-violent resistance). For this work, Sankaralingam Jagannathan was imprisoned many times. Between 1953 and 1967, the couple played an active role in the Bhoodhan movement spearheaded by Vinoba Bhave, through which about 4 million acres of land were distributed to thousands of landless poor across several Indian states.

Jagannathan has been a life-long source of strength and inspiration to Krishnammal. She learnt ‘the art of living sans attachment’ from him. He told Krishnammal “We shall possess only mud-pots as our kitchen utensils, for it will be easier to abandon them and move from place to place in the service of the people.” He was an inspiration to forego mundane things and to live in contentment of service to others.

Krishnammal recounted one of four occasions where she stared death right in the face and did not flinch: the mob supporting some landowners surrounded her, threatening immolation with cans of gasoline. She calmly responded by requesting to sit and meditate first. Her would-be assailants jeered and continued to threaten her, but they would not harm her. Soon a crowd of villagers had gathered. Krishnammal summed up the event with one of her unforgettable quotes: “I was not afraid to die, but they were afraid to kill me.”

On December 25, 1968, a conflict broke out between landowners and tenants when the tenants asked for a hike in wages. Things spiralled out of control and very soon the entire village was caught up in the maelstrom. At night the landlords began firing, leading to a scramble by the villagers who took refuge in a nearby hut. In their anger, the landlords set fire to the hut — 44 people died a fiery death.

Krishnammal was shaken by the major inhuman act in which 44 suppressed people were burned by land owners for asking wage revision. she cried terribly and she had decided to work for the land recovery movement. “Salary rise is not the need for suppressed people instead it is own land” she understood the truth and Krishnammal’s war started at that moment.

She explained about her struggle “I was part of Vinoba Bhave’s padayatra and was walking with him pleading for land when news came on December 25, 1968, of the mass killing of 44 Harijan women and children at Kilavenmani in Thanjavur district, following a wage dispute between landlord and tiller. This horrific incident changed my life’s direction and I decided to go to Kizhavenmani and not leave till Dalits got their land.

She explained further “My husband and I began our movement by getting the temple land owned by a benami landlord distributed among the women with much struggle. About 12,000 acres of land were distributed among the Dalit women. This was my first fight against the system. I walked from village to village in the region to meet the women and slowly they became the wind under my wings. Although I was harassed, arrested and even jailed, I never lost faith. I used to gather children who worked in the fields and give them basic education”.

434665_360_210She said “I was spending days without having water and food in front of land owners in order to get the land or the distribution to working people. Initially the land owners didn’t mind me by assuming that what this lady would do. But when they understood the I wouldn’t go without getting the land, the started threatening and tried to threaten me with weapons.. Even they had tried to burn me with kerosene. I said that I will not run for my life at any situations. You do whatever you want. My stubborn nature started slowly winning”.

Some of the excessive land owners came forward to sell… I bought whole land by taking loan from “TATCO” scheme and then distributed to the respective villagers one acre per person. The villagers themselves returned the loans in instalments after every cultivation period. From that period, I am following the same method to get the land and distributing it to people” She explained.

For Sarvodaya activist Krishnammal Jagannathan land represents freedom. A lifelong Gandhian committed to the philosophy of self-reliance, Krishnammal and her husband S Jagannathan began a movement in 1968 called LAFTI-Land for the tillers’ freedom. The purpose of the organisation was to bring the landlords and landless poor to the negotiating table, obtain loans to enable the landless to buy land at reasonable price and then to help them work it cooperatively, so that the loans could be repaid.

Krishnammal first thought of the idea in 1968 when a Muslim trust in Kula Manickam village wanted to sell large tracts of land — but only to Krishnammal, not to any landlord. Since she didn’t have the money then to buy the land, Krishnammal decided it would be best to approach the matter professionally and set up an organisation to access funds.hqdefault

The villagers informed Krishnammal about the availability of land, it’s location, and ownership details. Then LAFTI, along with members of the local community, negotiate with the landlord, usually demanding a rate that’s less than the market price.

Whenever she goes to any village for her movement, she stays with the poor people in their huts. “No doors, mud houses which can disappear even little rain… covered with coconut/palm leafs.. I was shattered after seeing the living standards of that people. We had planned to build houses using various government schemes and some money from LAFTI. People themselves started making bricks and we all built the houses using that bricks after burning… It was like a festival.. As a team we used to stay in a village for three months… and we make food for the total village and work hard.” she said.

LAFTI has changed the lives of 13,000 families and those who were once powerless are now in charge of guiding their future. With dignity, vision and an indefatigable spirit, Jagannathan is improving the living conditions and the future of the Dalits.

View the website of LAFTI for more details.

On February 12th 2013, Sankaralingam Jagannathan passed away at Ghandigram, Tamil Nadu at the age of 100. In fact, in the last few months after the death of her husband Jagannathan, Krishnammal had been bed-ridden. “I was lying down on the bed every day and I was in a state of dizziness. I felt that I would not be able to get up. But on June 1 this month I resolved not to stay in bed anymore,” she says. Ask her how she manages, and pat comes the answer, “This is how my life is. I will have my medicines and then have food from here and there,” she says.

Her mission was, and is, to liberate Dalit women and their families from their misery and their servile bondage to the landlords in the Tanjore area.

She wanted to provide a livelihood by abolishing landlessness among the poor and bringing humanity and dignity to their lives.
Even after she had crossed age eighty, her service and unbelievable activeness is really astonishing. She is working for the poor people for more than thirty five years.

To overcome the difficulties confronting a Harijan, and that too a lady, in the caste ridden society like ours and to attain a position of stature is not an easy task. But Smt. Krishnammal Jagannathan has achieved that rare feat.

Krishnammal has spent her life serving India’s poorest, providing sustainable homes and employment for the “Untouchables,” waging non-violent struggle against the devastating inequalities of the caste system.

Krishnammal Jagannathan, ushered in a silent revolution of land distribution to Dalit women in remote parts of Tamil Nadu. She is the winner of Swami Pranavananda Peace Award given by the Gandhi Peace Foundation, the Jamnalal Bajaj Award (1988), the Padma Sri (1989), the Women’s World Summit Award, Switzerland (1989), the Opus Award, The Right Livelihood Award also known as the Alternative Nobel Prize (2008) and a host of other prestigious awards.

View the following videos to know about her selfless struggle for the landless labourers.


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Inspiring story of vegetable seller who built hospital for poor

Subhashini Mistry lives in a village called Hanspukur just about 20 Km south of the city of Kolkata. Misfortune dogged Subhashini Mistry from the moment of her birth. She was born during the Bengal famine that drove impoverished farmers to starvation and death across the countryside.

Her father, a marginal farmer who owned a tiny patch of land in Kulwa village about 30 kms south west of Kolkata, was unable to feed his 14 children. Her mother scoured the land, begging for rice from the churches, ashrams, NGOs, government offices and landlords of the area. Over the next few years, seven of the children died.

At 12, Subhashini was married off to Sadhan Chandra Mistry, an agricultural worker who lived in Hanspukur village.. He earned Rs.200 a month. In 1971, he was working on small farms on a daily wage basis. During the off-season, he served and washed utensils in his village tea-stall. He supported his family of five- his wife Subhasini and four children, frequently on earnings that amounted to less than one rupee a day. The Mistry family lived in a thatched house in Hanspukur – a village in the 24 Parganas district on the outskirts of Kolkatta.

Disaster struck in 1971. One particular cropping season, the rains were exceptionally heavy in Kolkatta. Her husband Sadhan fell ill while working on the paddy farm. He had diaorrhea, but Subhasini did not know what to do. There was no money in the house. Her husband began writhing in pain and she rushed him to the district hospital in Tollygunge, Kolkata. The anxiety over her husband’s deteriorating condition gave way to horror as she realized that the doctors and nurses refused to pay any attention to him because he was penniless. This government hospital was mandated to provide free service to the poor. But reality was that patients needed either money or connections to get treatment. After remaining ill for three days, he succumbed to the disease, and died of dehydration. Poverty and callous hospital staff had killed her husband.

But that was only the beginning of Subhashini’s torment. She became a widow at 23. Her husband was the sole breadwinner of the family. She was poor and illiterate with four small frightened, hungry children to raise. Subhashini struggled to make ends meet, cooking and cleaning all day long for her family. Her parents and brothers were so poor, they could barely support themselves.

Subhashini made an oath that fateful day. No one should suffer her fate. She vowed she would do what it takes to spare people of this nightmare. She would build a hospital for the poor.

She only knew housework, so she started working as a maid servant in five houses nearby, earning a total of Rs.100 a month.


Mistry told IANS: “When my husband passed away, I was in shock initially. Then I realised I had four hungry mouths to feed. My oldest child, a son, was four-and-a-half-years old at the time. My youngest, a daughter, was one-and-a-half.

“I had no education and couldn’t even tell the time. So I decided I would do whatever work that was available. I started out as an aayah (domestic help) in the nearby houses.”

” I don’t regret that I had to put two of my children in an orphanage, that I couldn’t educate them. There were things needed to be done for the greater good.”

She recalls: “There is no work my hands have not done. I have cooked, mopped floors, washed utensils, cleaned gardens, polished shoes, concreted roofs.” Her son Ajoy was a good student. She sent him to an orphanage in Kolkata so he could get a decent education. The other three children helped her with housework.

Soon she discovered she could pick vegetables that grew on the wayside in Dhapa village and sell them. She realized that selling vegetables would fetch more money than doing other people’s housework. So she and her children moved to Dhapa village where she rented a hut for Rs.5 a month. She began selling vegetables in Dhapa village, and gradually, as her business grew, she headed for Kolkata. She set up her wayside stall on bridge Number Four in Park Circus in central Kolkata. She started earning about Rs.500 a month. She spent nothing on herself and little on her children, except for Ajoy’s education.

Two of my sons worked in a tea stall. We survived on boiled rice for years. I couldn’t even send them to school,” Subhashini recalled. “I knew my children had to go to school and at least one had to be a doctor, or else my dream would never come true.” She said. In the meantime, her children grew up. The two daughters were married off. The eldest son chose to be a labourer, working in agricultural fields. Her other son, the youngest of the lot, Ajoy Mistry was identified by Subhasini to carry on her mission. He was a brilliant student even as he grew up in a children’s home.

“My mother could not afford to send me to school. But she wanted us to study seriously, which we did. I was initially not keen on taking up medicine. In fact, I studied chemistry because I felt that was my subject,” said Ajoy.

Ajoy changed track, too, and in 1990,he successfully completed his secondary education and passed the All India Medical Entrance Test. Aided by the German Scholarship, he joined Calcutta Medical College where he completed his medical course. He graduated a year before the foundation stone for Humanity Hospital was laid.

Subhashini had not given up on her dream. She was determined to build that hospital. She put aside the majority of what she earned and after around 30 years she had collected enough to buy a plot of land. One of the babus (landlords) was selling off his land. I went to him and fell at his feet to let me buy the plot for a lesser amount.He relented and finally a part of my dream came true,” said Mistry.In 1992, she bought one acre of land in her husband’s village, Hanspukur, for Rs.10,000

She gathered the villagers and told them of her plan. She would donate her one acre land for the hospital, but the villagers would have to donate money to build a thatched shed that could serve as a dispensary for the poor.

The public donation totalled Rs.926. Some villagers contributed in kind providing bamboos, palm leaves, truckloads of earth, wooden planks. The poorest offered their labour. Thus, a 20 feet by 20 feet temporary shed was constructed in 1993.


In 1993, the hospital was started from a thatched shed on a one acre land bought by Subhasini from her lifelong savings. In 1993, Ajoy Mistry authored the trust deed of Humanity Trust with his mother Subhasini Mistry as the co-founder trustee.

Then an auto rickshaw fitted with a loudspeaker plied the countryside over a 10 km radius, pleading with doctors to offer their free service at the newly opened Hanspukur shed at least once a week for the poor and needy. Simultaneously, villagers went from door to door urging residents to donate their surplus medicines.

The first doctor to respond to the call was Dr.Raghupathy Chatterjee. Five others followed in rapid succession – a general physician, paediatrician, orthopedic, ophthalmologist and a homeopath. Each one of them offered free service, ranging from two to four hours a week. On the very first day, 252 patients were treated. Humanity hospital, as the little shed was named, never looked back.

Not that the going was easy. Monsoon was pure hell. There was knee deep water inside the shed. The patients had to be treated on the road. So it was decided to build a concrete roof covering a 1,000 sq feet area. This required much more money.

Ajoy knocked on the door of the local Member of Parliament, Malini Bhattacharya. At first, he made no headway. The door remained firmly shut. But he persisted. Bit by bit, the door opened and finally he managed to meet the MP and explain his mother’s goal.

Over a period of time, he won her over and after seeing with her own eyes Subhashini’s single minded devotion to her charitable work, Malini supported the Humanity Hospital whole heartedly. She helped them to raise sufficient funds and so the foundation stone was laid in 1993. Not a single reporter attended the event.

However, after the hospital was constructed, with Malini’s and the local MLA’s help, Subhashini was able to get the governor of West Bengal to inaugurate it. The governor’s presence ensured the presence of a flock of reporters. The media coverage had a healthy fall out – a trickle, though not a torrent, of donations, followed.

A group of trustees – including doctors, eminent local citizens and serving IPS officers guided the hospital, which has now expanded to include gynecology, cardiology, ENT, urology, oncology, diabetology and surgery. They now have 3 acres of land and the hospital has expanded to 9,000 sq feet spread over two floors.

Through all this growth, Subhashini was clear about her goal. This was a hospital for the poor. This was not a business. Yet, she knew that the hospital had to be self sufficient. It cannot survive forever on donations.

So while the poor got free treatment, those who lived above poverty line had to pay Rs.10 for consultation. Still, this is not sufficient to cover the day to day expense of running a hospital. “There is a perpetual shortage of funds. We live from month to month,” reveals Ajoy.

How did she achieve all this? She says: “Inner Strength.” She adds with rustic wisdom: “God in his infinite grace gave me a vision at the darkest moment in my life. From then on, my life had a purpose. I used whatever strength God gave me to make sure other poor people did not lose their loved ones for lack of medical attention.”

With her son Ajoy at the helm of the hospital, the doughty Subhashini went back to doing what she knew best – selling vegetables, back at Bridge Number 4. She still lives in the same house. Her elder daughter and son too sell vegetables. Her youngest daughter has become a nurse and works in the hospital.

Three years ago, Ajoy persuaded her to stop selling vegetables. She was getting old; her knees were giving her trouble. She now tends the sick in the hospital. Says she: “This hospital means everything to me. It is my wealth, my knowledge, my happiness.”

But her mission is not yet over. Says she: “Only when this hospital becomes a full-fledged 24-hour hospital can I die happy.”

The multi-specialty ‘Humanity Hospital’ has a total floor space of 15,000 sq. ft, with two fully equipped operation theatres and 30 beds. There are 22 visiting doctors in the hospital. The hospital treats about 1000 patients per month. Nobody is refused treatment. And no money is ever asked for. Subhashini and Ajoy spend more than 16 hours at the hospital every day.

Subhashini’s story is a staggering account of what human will can achieve, of indomitable spirit, of a rise, phoenix like.

(Extract from the book ‘Unsung’ by Anita Pratap and Mahesh Bhat), Source: the weekend leader

View these videos to know more about her inspiring life

Visit the website of Humanity Hospital for more information.

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How Beethoven overcame his deafness to become a great composer?

Ludwig Van Beethoveen was born in 1770 in Bonn, Germany as the son of a court musician. At a very early age, Beethoven received violin and piano lessons from his father Johann.

He suffered a tragic childhood. His father was an alcoholic and often abused him. Johann would force Ludwig to practice all of the time, and when Beethoven would make a mistake he would slam the piano cover on his knuckles and make him play it over again. His childhood and adolescence were difficult due to his father’s harsh discipline and alcoholism.

At the age of 8, he studied theory and keyboard with van den Eeden (former chapel organist). He also studied with several local organists, received piano lessons from Tobias Friedrich Pfeiffer, and Franz Rovantini gave him violin and viola lessons. Although Beethoven’s musical genius was compared to that of Mozart’s, his education never exceeded elementary level.

Ludwig van Beethoven was told by one of his teachers that he had no future career as a composer. Little did he know that Beethoven would go on to be one of the greatest classical music composers of all time.

imagesCAV45F4QBeethoven gave his first public appearance (playing piano) when he was eight and had his first piece of music published by the time he was 12 years old.

His father Johann was increasingly becoming worse and worse with his drinking and lost his job as a tenor at the Electoral court. Beethoven, realizing that he now had to support himself and his brothers, sought work, and by 1782 he served as deputy organist when Christian Neefe (Court Organist) took leave. By this time, Beethoven was already composing works and was considered to be a piano virtuoso, and the next year, Ludwig was hired as orchestral harpsichordist at the court.

As a teen, he performed more than he composed. In 1787, Neefe sent him to Vienna and he met and briefly studied with Mozart. Two weeks later, he returned home because his mother had tuberculosis. She died in July. His father took to drink, and Beethoven, only 19, petitioned to be recognized as the head of the house; he received half of his father’s salary to support his family.

In 1792, Beethoven relocated to Vienna. This is the beginning of his early period which lasted roughly until 1800. During this time Beethoven quickly made a name for himself as a virtuoso pianist. He used his abilities at the piano to gain favour with the nobility. His compositions during this period consisted mainly of works for his main instrument, the piano. An example of a piece composed during this time is the Pathétique Sonata, Op. 13 (1798).

Beethoven really didn’t have a steady job. He made most of his money by playing the piano in Salons at gatherings and giving piano lessons to wealthy students. Basically, Beethoven was one of the first freelance composers in Vienna. Beethoven quickly gained popularity in the Vienna court and in the town. He often challenged people to test their musical ability.

Once establishing himself, he began composing more. In 1800, he performed his first symphony and a septet (op. 20). Publishers soon began to compete for his newest works.

It is relevant at this time to include a few words about Beethoven’s compositional processes. Mozart was able to get on a train, a few hours later get off with a whole opera composed in his head. Beethoven couldn’t do that. In fact every phrase, every note was like pulling teeth. Beethoven never had less than one composition going on at the same time. He used sketch books to write down his ideas when they flew into his head, before he forgot them. Even after he had an idea, he had to work it out just right. What resulted was a mess of erasures and scribbles on a piece of paper that a copyist would later have to decipher.

He began hearing buzzing noises around 1796. He began losing his hearing around 1798. By 1801, however, he had lost 60% of his hearing and became a social recluse because, as a musician and composer, he hated to tell people he was going deaf. By 1816, his hearing loss was nearly 100%.

At first the malady was intermittent or so faint that it worried him only occasionally. But by 1801 he reported that a whistle and a buzz was constant. Low speech tones became an unintelligible hum, shouting became an intolerable din. Apparently the illness completely swamped delicate sounds and distorted strong ones. He may have had short periods of remission, but for the last ten years of his life he was totally deaf.

He was very upset by this so much so that he thought of ending his life. Beethoven’s social life was affected the most. He is said to have had sudden bursts of anger, insulting those around him. As his hearing became worse, Beethoven went into seclusion from both the public and his friends. He only communicated with visitors and trusted friends by writing.

He even considered suicide because of his deafness and his inability to perform at public concerts which were a great source of money. After all, Beethoven too was a human.

Beethoven lost his hearing and went deaf but continued to compose music. Hard to believe? It’s completely true!

immortalbelovedAfter he became deaf, he started to observe the vibrations of piano. Beethovan noticed that he could not hear high notes when playing piano. To hear his own compositions, he sawed the legs off of his piano and placed the piano on the floor, and pressed his ear to the floor as well. He would then proceed to bang on the keys, to hear what he had written.

The important thing is that Beethoven did not give up and realized that he had to face the truth and continue living his dream of composing music. Even Beethoven’s deafness was not enough to be an obstacle large enough to block his path of success.

Determined to overcome his disability, he wrote symphonies 2, 3, and 4 before 1806. The late period saw the compositions of Beethoven’s largest works: the Mass in D (Missa Solemnis), Op. 123 (1818-23), the 9th Symphony (Choral), Op. 125 (1818-23), the Hammerklavier Sonata, Op. 106 (1818), and the late string quartets.

Beethoven’s fame began to pay off; he soon found himself prosperous. His symphonic works proved to be master pieces along with his other works,

In 1809, however, his musical output began to drop, possibly in connection to his declining health and mental state. Around 1815 the famous Immortal Beloved affair occured which left Beethoven in deep depression and contemplating suicide. Beethoven loved a woman named Fanny, but never married.

Beethoven’s output was mostly null until 1818. At this point he was completely deaf and slightly mad. Also his brother died leaving Beethoven’s only nephew, Karl, in the guardianship of his mother. Now Beethoven felt that she was not fit to raise Karl, so he entered into a vicious lawsuit over custody of the child. For the most part he was able to use his influence with the aristocracy to win the battle. Unfortunately Beethoven was not a fit father and his relationship with Karl was quite poor, driving him to an suicide attempt a few years later. Beethoven loved Karl dearly, and the pain of his failed attempts to teach Karl music must have been devastating for Beethoven. It’s often speculated that Karl was probably a strong contributor to Beethoven’s late style.

Beethoven was seriously ill. In 1827, he died of dropsy at the age of 56.

To many, Beethoven represents the highest level of musical genius keeping in mind composers such as: Bach, Mozart, Handel, and Haydn. Beethoven’s life was very productive, given that he had no formal education past the 5th grade, and of all of his hardships in which he had to deal with.

Beethoven saw his deafness as a challenge to be fought and overcome. His stubborn nature strengthened him and he came to terms with his deafness in a dynamic, constructive way to become world famous composer.

    Quotes of Beethoven

“I will take fate by the throat; it will never bend me completely to its will.”

“Recommend to your children virtues, that alone can make them happy, not gold.”

“Then let us all do what is right, strive with all our might toward the unattainable, develop as fully as we can the gifts God has given us, and never stop learning”

“To play without passion is inexcusable!”

“This is the mark of a really admirable man: steadfastness in the face of trouble.”

Beethoven speaking to royalty: “What you are, you are by accident of birth; what I am, I am by myself. There are and will be a thousand princes; there is only one Beethoven.”

“The barriers are not erected which can say to aspiring talents and industry, “Thus far and no farther.”

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Success story of Sanders who started KFC at age of 65 yrs

Harland Sanders was born September 9, 1890 near Henryville, Indiana. His father Wilbur David was a mild and affectionate man who tried to make a living as a farmer on the 80 acres of land that he owned, but after a fall he broke his leg and had to give up his profession. He worked as a butcher in Henryville for the next two years. One summer afternoon in 1895, he came home with a fever and died later that day.

Sanders’ mother obtained work in a tomato-canning factory. Young Harland had to take care of his three-year-old brother and baby sister and the young Harland was required to look after and cook for his siblings.He picked up the art of cooking very quickly and mastered many dishes by the age of 7.

Sanders dropped out of school when he was 13. He went to live and work on a nearby farm for $2 a month. He then took a job painting horse carriages in Indianapolis. When he was 14 he moved to southern Indiana to work as a farmhand for two years. In 1906, with his mother’s approval, he left home to live with his uncle in New Albany, Indiana. His uncle worked for the street car company and got Sanders a job as a conductor.

Sanders married Josephine King in 1909 and started a family, but after his boss fired him for insubordination while he was on a trip, Josephine stopped writing him letters. He then learned that Josephine had left him, given away all their furniture and household goods, and taken the children back to her parents’ home. Josephine’s brother wrote Sanders a letter saying, “She had no business marrying a no-good fellow like you who can’t hold a job.”

In 1909 Sanders found work with the Norfolk and Western Railway. He then found work as a fireman on the Illinois Central Railroad, and he and his family moved to Jackson, Tennessee. Meanwhile, Sanders studied law by correspondence at night through the La Salle Extension University. Sanders lost his job at Illinois after brawling with a work colleague. After a while, Sanders began to practice law in Little Rock for three years, and he earned enough fees for his family to move with him. His legal career ended after he got engaged in a courtroom brawl with his own client.

After that, Sanders moved back with his mother in Henryville, and went to work as a labourer on the Pennsylvania Railroad. In 1916, the family moved to Jeffersonville, where Sanders got a job selling life insurance for the Prudential Life Insurance Company. Sanders was eventually fired for insubordination. He moved to Louisville and got a salesman job with Mutual Benefit Life of New Jersey.

In 1920, Sanders established a ferry boat company, which operated a river boat between Jeffersonville and Louisville. The ferry was an instant success. He then got a job as secretary at the Columbus, Indiana Chamber of Commerce. He admitted to not being very good at the job, and resigned after less than a year. Sanders cashed in his ferry boat company shares for $ 22,000 and used the money to establish a company manufacturing acetylene lamps. The venture failed after Delco introduced an electric lamp that they sold on credit.

Sanders moved to Winchester, Kentucky, to work as a salesman for the Michelin Tyre Company. In 1924, Michelin closed their tyre factory, and Sanders lost his job. In 1924, by chance, he met the state manager for Standard Oil, who asked him to run a service station in Nicholasville. In 1930, the station closed as a result of the Great Depression.

In 1930, the Shell Oil Company offered Sanders a service station in Corbin,Kentucky rent free, whereby he paid them a percentage of sales. Sanders began to cook chicken dishes and other meals such as country ham and steaks for customers. Since he did not have a restaurant, he served customers in his adjacent living quarters. He was commissioned as a Kentucky Colonel in 1935 by Kentucky governor Ruby Laffoon.

In July 1939 Sanders acquired a motel in Asheville, North Carolina. His Corbin restaurant and motel was destroyed in a fire in November 1939, and Sanders had it rebuilt as a motel with a 142 seat restaurant.

imagesCA8UECIDDuring his search to make the perfect chicken, he was approached by a pressure cooker salesman who convinced Sanders to invest in this product to quicken his cooking process. He ended up investing in 12 pressure cookers. Somewhere around this time, Sanders also ended up reaching his trademark 11 herbs and spices. By July 1940, Sanders had finalized his “Secret Recipe” for frying chicken in a pressure fryer that cooked the chicken faster than pan frying.

As World War II broke out, gas was rationed, and as the tourists dried up, Sanders was forced to close his Asheville motel. He went to work as a restaurant supervisor in Seattle until the latter part of 1942. He later ran cafeterias for the government at an Ordinance Works in Tennessee, followed by a job as an assistant manager at a cafeteria in Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

During 1950, Sanders had to shut down his restaurant business because a new highway was being built where his restaurant was located. Colonel Sanders decided to retire and lived off of $105 in the form of social security checks. Not wanting to accept this as his fate, he decided to franchise his chicken at the age of 65.

At an age when he should have been enjoying the relaxed life style of a retired person, he could not live his life without a goal. He was neither a Harvard graduate nor came from a very rich family.He knew how to fry chicken that was juicy inside and crisp outside. He took the recipe and approached many restaurants. Several hoteliers turned him away, without even reading his recipe! But he did not lose heart. He did not give up his efforts. He went to many cities and gave his recipe to other hoteliers. Aged he was, he climbed the steps of many restaurants. Total number of restaurants he approached was 1,006! He was the personification of perseverance.

For two long years, he continued his relentless efforts and finally one hotelier evinced some interest in his recipe. The rest is history.

In 1952, Harland had a chance meeting with a Peter Harman, who owned Harman’s Cafe in Salt Lake City, Utah, another popular, and famous eating place. And Peter was a skilled business man. As a result of this meeting, a business relationship was established, and Peter convinced Harland to cash in his social security cheques to start a franchise for chickens coated in Harland’s recipe. In the first year of selling the product, restaurant sales more than tripled, with 75% of the increase coming from sales of fried chicken.

By 1964, Colonel Sanders had more than 600 franchised outlets for his chicken in the United States and Canada. That year, he sold his interest in the U.S. company for $2 million to a group of investors.

Now, the Kentucky Fried Chicken business he started has grown to be one of the largest retail food service systems in the world. Colonel Sanders, a quick service restaurant pioneer, has become a symbol of entrepreneurial spirit.

It’s amazing how the man started at the age of 65, when most retire, and built a global empire out of fried chicken. Age is no barrier to success, and so is capital. What is needed is an idea put into action, followed with proper planning and persistency.

The story of Colonel Harland Sanders is inspirational because it’s an example of how perseverance, dedication, and ambition along with hard work can create success regardless of age.

Quotes Of Sanders

“I just say the moral out of my life is don’t quit at age 65, may be your boat hasn’t come in yet. Mine hadn’t.

Attitude is more important than mere dry facts. Colonel Sanders has an attitude of ‘I Can’ rather ‘I can’t’.

“I’ve only had two rules: Do all you can and do it the best you can. It’s the only way you ever get that feeling of accomplishing something.”

“You got to like your work. You have got to like what you are doing, you have got to be doing something worthwhile so you can like it – because it is worthwhile, that it makes a difference.”

“I never limited myself to serving gas. I also repaired flat tyres that customers left at the station. The service station was open until 9 o’clock, then when I closed I repaired the inner tubes. Sometimes I didn’t finish working until 1 or 2 o’clock in the morning. Then I opened again at 5 a.m. Most gas stations didn’t open until 7, and I sold more gas between 5 and 7 in the morning than the other stations sold all day.”

“Have ambition to work, willingness to work and integrity in what you do.”

“People will rust out quicker than they’ll ever wear out, and I’ll be darned if I’ll ever rust out.”

Lessons-from Sanders

1. Failure is temporary

For much of his long life, Harland Sanders was a failure. He was fired from most of the jobs he held in his 20s and 30s. He didn’t even start his first business until he was 39, an age that’s considered over-the-hill for many tech founders. His first restaurant, started out of the back of a gas station, eventually failed and left him broke at 65.

Even with no money, the Colonel knew what to do in the face of failure: to press on. He raised some seed funding — his social security check — and drove around Kentucky, sleeping in his car, franchising his chicken recipe. Less than ten years later, at the age of 74, he sold the company for 2 million dollars.

2. Create a personal brand

Steve Jobs had his black turtleneck. Mark Zuckerberg has his hoodie. Colonel Sanders bested them both with his white suit.Sanders knew the importance of his personal brand which he started developing in 1950. He personified his company’s brand in his own persona, as the friendly, down home Southern gentleman who was “mighty proud” for you to try his “finger lickin’ good” fried chicken. In the last 20 years of his life, he was never seen in public without his trademark white suit and black western tie. When he died in 1980, he was buried in the suit.

When you get up in the morning, remember that what you choose to wear says a lot about who you are and what type of company you want to create. The Colonel knew this better than anyone.

3. Become an icon

Today, a majority of Americans 18 to 25 don’t know Colonel Sanders was a real person. Some didn’t even know his name when shown the logo of the company now known as “KFC.” But Harland Sanders wasn’t a made-up icon, he was a real person. He was an actual Kentucky colonel. He spent his life failing, trying again, and failing again, to finally succeed when most of us would have given up long before. He built a personal brand that lives to this day. Even in the high tech world of tech start ups, there’s a lot to admire about the Colonel.

View this video to know more about his inspiring life.

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Inspiring story of an invalid who became the fastest runner

Glenn Cunningham was born in Atlanta, Kansas on August 4, 1909. His father, Clint Cunningham, was a water-well driller who also did odd jobs.

At the age of 7, Cunningham and his older brother Floyd were badly burned in a schoolhouse fire.

The little country schoolhouse was heated by an old-fashioned, pot-bellied coal stove. Glenn Cunningham had the job of coming to school early each day so that he could use kerosene to start the fire and warm the room before his teacher and his classmates arrived. One cold morning someone had mistakenly filled the kerosene container he used with gasoline, and disaster struck.

The students arrived to find the schoolhouse engulfed in flames. Terrified on realizing that Glenn was inside, they rushed in and managed to drag the unconscious little boy out of the flaming building. He had major burns over the lower half of his body and was taken to a nearby county hospital.

From his bed, the dreadfully burned, semi-conscious little boy faintly heard the doctor talking to his mother. The doctor told his mother that her son would surely die as the terrible fire had devastated the lower half of his body.

But the brave boy didn’t want to die. Glenn made up his mind that he would survive. And somehow, to the amazement of the physician, he did survive. Yet when the mortal danger was past, he again heard the doctor and his mother speaking quietly. The mother was told that since the fire had destroyed so much flesh in the lower part of his body, it would almost be better if he had died, since he was doomed to be a life time cripple with no use at all of his lower limbs. His mother refused to let the doctors amputate.

The doctors told him and his parents that he would never walk normally again. However, Glenn and his family refused to accept such claims and with much determination and unwavering faith, he would not only walk, but run, and very fast.

Once more this brave little boy made up his mind. He would not be a cripple. He would walk. But unfortunately from the waist down, Glenn had no motor ability. His thin, scarred legs just dangled there, all but lifeless.

But although he did survive, the effects of the fire had clearly taken their toll: the arches on both of his feet were damaged, the toes on his left foot were nearly burned off, and his right leg was a few inches shorter than his left one. Doctor wondered if he would ever walk again, but a determined Glenn went home and began steadily rehabilitating his injuries.

Ultimately Glenn was released from the hospital. Every day afterward his mother and father would massage his little legs, but there was no feeling, no control, nothing. Yet his determination that he would walk was as strong as ever.

When he wasn’t in bed, he was confined to a wheelchair. One sunny day his mother wheeled him out into the yard to get some fresh air. This day, instead of sitting there, he threw himself from the chair. Glenn pulled himself across the grass, dragging his legs behind him.

He worked his way to the white picket fence bordering their lot. With great effort, he raised himself up on the fence. Then, stake by stake, he began dragging himself along the fence, resolved that he would walk.He started to do this every day until he wore a smooth path all around the yard beside the fence. There was nothing he wanted more than to develop life in those legs.

After weeks of practice, he gained a minor victory when he walked with crutches. Several months later, he was able to stand on his own. And nine months after that, he could once again walk without crutches.

It was Glenn’s determination and persistence that led him to walk again.Slowly over a period of months, Glenn’s legs began to function, to the astonishment of the doctors.Christmas eve 1917, Glenn gave his mother a present by taking his first steps without holding onto anything. Soon, he proceeded to run, grabbing a milk cow or mule’s tail, taking as much weight off his legs and running behind as the animals headed to water. He still couldn’t straighten out his right leg. Every step was “like daggers,” but he never quit trying. In time Glenn discovered that it was less painful to run than to walk.

Ultimately through his daily massages, Glenn’s iron persistence and his resolute determination, he did develop the ability first to stand up, then to walk haltingly with help, then to walk by himself – and then miraculously – to run.

Well, he actually started doing something more akin to hopping fast than running. But before long, young Glenn Cunningham was known throughout the community for his running. Because he ran everywhere.He once said, “I didn’t move 10 feet without breaking into a run. I ran and ran and ran.”

Strangely enough, however, although walking caused him great pain, running hardly hurt at all. And so, as Glenn would later remark, “For five or six years, about all I did was run.”

His legs remained deeply scarred, however. Throughout his life, he would have to massage them and spend time doing long warm-up exercises in order to maintain circulation. In addition, his injuries meant that he could never run smoothly or efficiently; he compensated with endurance and strength.

Glenn said this about his first race “My father was definitely against athletic events. He just didn’t see the need for it. But I decided to enter a competition. I just didn’t tell anybody at home. I showed up at the track meet in my workclothes and thick-soled canvas sneakers. I was a fourth grader, and most of the others were high school athletes. All of them wore running shorts and spiked running shoes. I must have looked like David lined up against all the giants, but I won going away! I ended up getting a whipping from my father that evening when I got home.” Decades later, he would call that race the biggest of his life—a monumental statement considering the races to come in his future.

By the time he reached high school, Glenn was a solid multi-sport athlete, competing in football, basketball, and track, despite the fact that he required long extensive warm-ups before any athletic activities due to the various circulation problems caused by his childhood accident.

Preparing_to_Invade_the_East_JPEG_RT_for_Print-184x273Later in college Glenn made the track team where his tremendous determination paid off. He eventually received the nickname the “Kansas Flyer.”

He competed in both the 1932 Summer Olympics as well as the 1936 Summer Olympics.In the 1932 Olympics he took 4th place in the 1500 m, and in the 1936 Berlin Olympics, he took silver in the 1500 meters.An athlete who survived severe burns on his legs as a youth, Glenn Cunningham was one of the world’s top middle distance runners during the 1930s, winning the prestigious Sullivan Award in 1933 as the nation’s top amateur athlete.

In 1934, he set the world record for the mile run at 4:06.8, which stood for three years. In 1936, he set the world record in the 800 m run. In 1938, he set a world record in the indoor mile run of 4:04.4. He retired from competition in 1940.

In 1933, Cunningham graduated from the University with the highest academic record in his class.Cunningham went on to graduate school at the University of Kansas, then earned a master’s degree from the University of Iowa in 1936, and a Ph.D. in physical education from New York University in 1940.

He taught physical education at Cornell University from 1940 to 1944, and later joined the Navy, where he attained the lieutenant rank, helped create physical training programs in several Navy stations, and visited many military hospitals in order to encourage wounded soldiers.

Cunningham married Ruth Sheffield, in the summer of 1947. Although he might have used his name as a star athlete to make a great deal of money, he was more interested in helping others than in making a fortune. He and his wife opened the Glenn Cunningham Youth Ranch and over the next three decades, raised over 10,000 foster children.

He had a positive attitude as well as a strong religious faith. His favourite Bible verse was Isaiah 40:31: “But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.”

Glenn Cunningham went from possibly never walking normally again to holding world records at the Olympics for the USA. Those kinds of achievements would not happen without extreme will power and faith.

Quotes of Glenn Cunningham

“As long as you believe you can do things, they’re not impossible.”

“ I think it was at that very moment that I made one of the biggest decisions of my life. I’m NOT going to be an invalid! I remember saying over and over, “I will walk! I will walk!”

“ My family was wonderful. I can’t even imagine how horrible it must have been with all the smells and the sight of my rotting flesh. I had lost all the flesh on my knees and shins, as well as all the toes on my left foot. My transverse arch was mostly gone. Yet my family kept changing the dressings and massaging my legs, though there was little muscle left to massage. Even after I was able to stand, holding onto either the bed or a chair, a neighbor kid said, “Aw, you ain’t nevergonna walk again!” But by then I knew that nothing was going to stop me.”

“My Mother and Father had always brought us up to never complain. I was asked to do a lot of speeches through the years, and I often talked about overcoming challenges, but I just always figured that I needed to do my best and never quit. Complaining about something I had no control over would have diminished what I was trying to do. I just wanted to let my running speak for itself.”

“In running it is man against himself, the cruelest of opponents. The other runners are not the real enemies. His adversary lies within him, in his ability with brain and heart to master himself and his emotions”

Glenn shared the never-quit philosophy that was the framework of his own successes, including these gems:

• If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.
• Belief influences action, and action influences belief.
• Act as if it were impossible to fail.
• Every great accomplishment started with a thought.

View this video to see Glenn Cunningham in action.

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Inspiring story Of China’s Basketball Girl – Qian Hongyan

Qian Hongyan suffered horrific injuries in a car crash when she was three years old in 2000 and doctors had to amputate her legs to ensure her survival.

Hongyan’s family in Zhuangxia, China wasn’t wealthy enough to provide her with hi-tech equipment to help her walk, so they gave her half a basketball to help her move. Hongyan used brushes as low-level crutches. The handicapped Chinese girl Qian Hongyan used to crawl with two home-made props and part of a basketball at Zhuangxia Village in Luliang County of Qujing City, Yunnan Province, China She was able to travel to and from home and school by bouncing on the basketball. She struggled for five years like this.untitled

These pictures, taken in 2005 when Qian was just ten, show how. Qian learned to walk on her hands, using a basketball cut in half to steady herself. According to Xinhua news agency, she was dubbed “basketball girl” by locals

The girl’s story was widely reported in the media and experts from China Rehabilitation Research Center decided to help her for rehabilitative treatment during early 2005.Qian now has a pair of proper prosthetic legs, but still says she likes to use the basketball from time to time as it is easier for her to get in and out of the pool with.

When the seventh national special sports-meeting was held in Kunming in May 2007, Qian Hongyan went to watch the games every day and seeing the handicapped players struggle in the matches deeply moved her.

Qian Hongyan was naturally worried about floating when she tried swimming for the first time. But Qian Hongyan was determined to join in the special swimming club. She and her parents went to consult the opportunity with Zhang Honghu, a well known coach who has trained many handicapped swimming champions. Then, QianHongyan began her life in the swimming club and did professional swimming training.

At first, Zhang didn’t pay much attention to Qian Hongyan. “The individual’s capability is important in choosing a player,” he said. “Qian Hongyan doesn’t have legs. It seems that if a ship has no helm, then the ship could not work well for lack of a sense of direction.” In order to solve the problem, Zhang made a special training plan for Qian Hongyan to help balance the shoulders.She always does the exercises and sit-ups, dumbbells and so on carefully. Qian Hongyan swims for about 2000 metres in a day.

imagesCAJQ1GY8“I had to give much more than other kids when I learned to swim,” Qian said. “It seemed there was no way I could float in the water. I was choked.” It took her several weeks to get used to the water, but once she did Qian discovered she has a real talent for swimming. “It’s so free and relaxing to swim,”"You can go anywhere you want and it is much freer than on the ground.” she said.

“Qian Hongyan studies hard. She never grouches in training although she was confronted with many difficulties at the beginning, ” her coach said. After a short period, to Zhang’s surprise, he found that Hongyan was gifted in swimming. Zhang said, “I couldn’t ensure she would be a world champion. However, I can tell that she is definitely a promising swimmer. Our biggest wish is to train her to have a positive attitude to life.” Qian Hongyan’s dream is to become a world champion. She works hard to achieve her dream.

Now 18 years old, she returned to the China Rehabilitation Centre in Beijing for her adult prosthetics.

images1She touched the hearts of millions of people around the world and is fondly referred to as the ” Basketball Girl”. Qian Hongyan though differently abled has big dreams. The accident may have robbed her of her legs but certainly not her spirit. She has plenty of courage and determination and is indeed a great inspiration to all the differently abled people around the globe.

Watch this video to know about her success story.
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Inspiring Success of students in CA examination

There is a general opinion that it is very difficult to pass Chartered Accountancy (C.A.) examination conducted by Institute of Chartered Accountants of India. The average passing percentage is around 15 %. Few students also discontinue the course after finding it very difficult to pass the examination.

It is touching to know about success stories of students who have passed CA examination after overcoming several obstacles. This article shares few inspiring stories of success of students in CA examination. These stories will inspire aspiring students to achieve similar success in the examination.

    India’s first Visually challenged CA

Several students with normal health struggle to pass the examination despite the best of professional coaching and excellent support provided by their family. It is inspiring to know that Ranjani Gopal, a visually challenged girl has cleared the exam during 2002 to become India’s first visually challenged woman to pass CA examination.


She was prescribed penicillin tablets for common cold by a doctor when she was nine years old. This was given without test dosage and this resulted in an allergic reaction which in medical terminology is known as “Steven Johnson Syndrome”. Her vision started deteriorating gradually and she lost her vision in right eye by the time she completed B.Com degree course.

She found it difficult to get a job due to her disability. She thought of pursuing CA course to improve her chances for getting a job. With lot of determination she joined CA course as there is not much need to attend regular classes like other courses. She started using the screen reading software and learnt how to use computers. She got all the materials converted to soft copy and started studying in a focussed manner. After facing lot of difficulties, she successfully passed the CA examination and is now well placed in a reputed firm.

RanjaniGopal has proved that it is possible to pass the CA examination if one prepares in a focussed manner in spite of any physical handicap. When a physically challenged person passes the tough course, no excuse can be accepted from a person enjoying normal health.

Visit this link to know how her inspiring success story.

Office boy who became CA

Students also blame financial problems as an excuse for not passing the CA examination after several attempts. They claim that they are not able to afford specialised coaching provided by reputed coaching institutes.


Shailesh who worked as an office boy in a private firm has cleared CA examination though he lacked financial support. Shailesh, youngest son of housemaid Nirmala and textile loom worker Arun, studied in Sarvajanik High school in Marathi medium. He lived in a 12×25 room in a slum in Limbayat with a family of five.

He joined B.Com course from IGNOU through correspondence. While doing B.Com he came in touch with Jay Chhaira, his tutor and employer, running the Institute of Professional Studies in Athwa lines. He joined the institute as a student-cum-office-boy so that he doesn’t have to put any financial burden on his father and elder brother.

He joined CA course and used to study in office during his spare time. He did lose heart in between and left studies completely for two years, only to return with more vigour and cleared every exam. Ultimately he passed CA examination successfully and started his own consultancy firm. In spite of his financial difficulties he has successfully cleared CA examination.

There is no need to worry about financial difficulties and the examination can be passed by overcoming such difficulties.

Another girl Dhanshree Vilas Todkar, daughter of a Tea stall owner also cleared the examination recently. She also worked in the Tea stall during spare time. Thus it is obvious that CA examination can be passed by any individual even if they come from a poor financial background.

Cleared CA, ICWA, CS at 23 yrs

Many students struggle to pass the CA examination even though they study only CA course exclusively.


23-year-old Pallavi Sachdeva from Delhi, cracked three exams CA (Chartered Accountancy), CA (Cost & Works Accountancy) and CS (Company Secretary). It is really a great achievement as she has cleared all three professional exams simultaneously without any difficulty. Better understanding of basic concepts and proper planning has helped Pallavi to accomplish this achievement.

Daughter of Auto driver who scored first rank

Prema Jayakumar, the 24-year-old daughter of a migrant Tamilian Jayakumar Perumal, an autorickshaw driver has topped her chartered accountancy examination by scoring 607 out of 800 marks (75.8 per cent).She secured all India First rank in her first attempt.


Prema studied in Tamil medium till Class VIII from a Tamil medium municipal school. She switched over to English medium only during ninth standard. It is really a great achievement that she could score such high marks despite difficulties faced by her.

Her brother Dhanraj aged 22 years also appeared in the CA examination and passed it in his first attempt. Dhanraj worked in a call centre to support his studies.

Visit this link to see her interview

CA after 32 attempts

Normally students lose interest after continuous failures and discontinue the course. They tend to join some other course or take up some employment. But untiring efforts has enabled Kailash Narayan Purohit of Jodhpur to pass CA after making 32 attempts spread over a period of 20 years. He was determined to pass the examination despite repeated failures.

Confined to Wheel chair, but passed CA

Neha Bansali was confined to the wheel chair when she hurt her spine. Neha Bansali shares her experiences in her own words.

“I was born in Delhi and grew up there. I belong to a middle class family. I have a younger brother and a younger sister. When I was playing with my friends my spine received a minor injury. But because of infection the entire spine got affected. As a result I could not sit up and got confined to the wheel chair. Except my right hand I could not move any part of my body. I had to depend on others to attend to the daily ablutions. I wanted to commit suicide. The support given by my father and mother, my sister and brother kept me up, I took the +2 exam. I scored 92% in the exams. This achievement gave me confidence and encouragement. I took the chartered accountant’s final exam and stood tenth in the national ranking “

This success made me live and I grew up from then on. I, who was confined always to the wheel chair with ability to move only one hand, developed a great urge to achieve something notable. I could secure a job as a chartered accountant in a firm and became the chief accountant.”

Born with cerebral palsy, but cleared CA

Ajit Shekhawat was born with cerebral palsy and underwent treatment for two years at a Mumbai hospital at the age of five. His treatment continued in Gandhinagar later on and Ajit continued his studies and completed his graduation in commerce from Gandhinagar. He then started preparing for his CA examination at home and cleared it.

Train blast victim who passed CA

Chirag Chauhan was an average student and it was only in the tenth standard final examination that he managed a first class.

Chirag Chauhanwas among the survivors of the serial train blasts on July 11, 2006 which claimed over 180 lives. That day he had left for home early when a bomb exploded in the suburban local at Khar Road station. His spinal cord was damaged due to the explosion and some particles are still embedded in his chest and close to the trachea.

Despite his debilitating injures, he pressed on with his course and completed it on July 12, 2008. He lost his father when he was 18 and was faced with the prospect of looking after his sisters and mother, something he can proudly do now.

Chirag Chauhan, now wheel chair-bound, is a full-fledged CA working as a senior manager.

These success stories prove that it is possible to achieve success in CA examination despite physical challenges and financial hardship.

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