BANGALORE: Cometh the moment, cometh the man. Probably young Srijan Pal Singh knew it better than anyone else. A chance dinner-meeting with Prof A P J Abdul Kalam in 2008 at IIM Ahmedabad was his moment, which literally turned him into the Missile Man’s man, months later. And in 2011 December, their first ‘joint venture’ in the form of a book - Target 3 Billion - hit the stands. Today, T3B is featured amongst the top five bestsellers in the non-fiction category, with translations underway virtually in every Indian language, leave alone requests from abroad.
So how did the pupil get inspired by the Master? Srijan says it was always his dream to meet Kalam once, but never thought he will be part of his missions for ever. “I belong to a generation which has grown up being inspired by a scientist-cum-administrator-cum-leader-cum-President. We are all proud of his achievements. So being his, then working under him and then co-authoring with him and now managing some of his missions is indeed a wonderful experience,” Srijan told Express.
And, how did the Master ignite the pupil? By taking Srijan as part of his inner circle, Kalam gave him the mission to promote and execute innovative and scalable ideas. “He wanted me to focus on sustainable development especially for the rural areas through the model of Providing Urban Amenities to Rural Areas (PURA). I also work for activating the spirit of giving among the youth with the ‘What Can I Give Mission,’ which has about 4,00,000 members now,” said Srijan.
His father is a retired as government official, who works a social worker, while his mother still works in the education sector. “My brother is an innovator and also a farmer and my sister is a primary school teacher. We have all grown up in an environment of liberty of thought and freedom of belief,” stated the IIM-A grad, who is now propelling Kalam’s key missions.
On the idea of putting together T3B, he said that while working on different PURA projects along with Kalam, they both realised that one of the much needed aspects is to create a knowledge resource where different success stories and ideas from across the globe can be disseminated for replication. “This led to the idea to create a book for PURA aspirants and all those interested to know how we can empower the 750 million rural population of India and the 3 billion people who live in villages across the world. This would be the basis for the challenges of poverty, inequity and conflicts which the world witnesses today. We started working on the book in 2010 and got it published an year later,” he said.
Hailing from Pratapgarh district of Uttar Pradesh, this 28-year-old man has set his eyes on the next mission to create a sustainable development platform, where entrepreneurs, especially the rural youth, can find investment and marketing support for social ventures.