There’s a lot M.K. Sridhar’s students can learn from him

One can spot him moving around in a wheelchair not only in educational institutions, but also in the corridors of power at the Vidhana Soudha. At the public functions or events that he graces, students, teachers, government officials and admirers wait for a chance to speak to him.

Meet M.K. Sridhar, executive director of the Karnataka Knowledge Commission (KKC), who is reckoned to be the driving force behind the formulation of various policies aimed at transforming Karnataka into a knowledge society.

Born to M.R. Krishnamurthy, a cloth merchant, and M.K. Sumithramma, in Hindupur, Andhra Pradesh, on September 15, 1954, Sridhar was afflicted by polio at the age of four. Seven surgical interventions could not prevent him from losing control over both his legs and right hand.

But, the disability did not deter him from pursuing his education even if it meant he had to stay away from his parents at the young age of 10 to study at a residential school attached to an orthopaedic centre in Adayar, Chennai.

Focus on education

He overcame all the hurdles and went on to successfully complete his B.Com. from SDGS College in Hindupur before pursing M.Com. and M.Phil. from Bangalore University and a Ph.D. from the University of Mysore.

Though there were times in his student life when he felt “crippled”, he said he did not let his disability come in the way of his studies or social activities.

He taught commerce and business at NMKRV First Grade College for Women, Vijaya College and Canara Bank School of Management Studies, where he left a lasting impression on the students not only with his mastery over the subjects, but his oratorical skills and zest for social work.

“Seated on the wheelchair, he works faster than any of us. Filled with new ideas and thoughts, Prof. Sridhar is an ever-motivating and guiding spirit to many students,” said his student Manasa Sudarshan.

Fresh ideas

As the Executive Director of KKC, Prof. Sridhar is considered to be the brain behind the Jnana Fellowship, which offers young professionals a chance to work in various government departments for a short term. The programme not only offers young professionals exposure to government functioning, but also helps bring in fresh ideas into governance.

“My ambition is to make meaningful contribution to society and the nation,” Prof. Sridhar said.

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