Men who matter
T. Balarama Krishna
"There is no big deal in polishing a brilliant student to make him or her perform better. The fun and the challenge lie in gearing up mediocre students to perform and excel on the platform adorned by the brilliants. Moreover, education should be imparted for the all-round development of a student. The student's mind and body should blossom; only then the college could be called a good institution," says the educationist and correspondent of TSR and TBK Degree and Post-Graduate College, Talasila Balarama Krishna.
Being the eldest of the eight siblings, life was not a bed of roses for Mr. Krishna since his childhood. "Ours was a big agrarian family that largely depended on a small piece of land in a remote village called Nagayalanka in Krishna District. Despite the difficulties my mother who was largely inspired by the freedom movement admitted me in a school in the village. Seeing my good marks and natural inclination towards studies she also got me admitted to the Hindu College in Machilipatnam from where I passed my Intermediate and B.Sc. Taking up higher studies I moved to Visakhapatnam and completed my M.Sc. from Andhra University in 1960, and went on to pursue research fellowships on ultrasonic in AU and in the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research."
While undergoing his fellowship in AU, Mr. Krishna joined his almamater, Hindu College, as a lecturer for a brief period. He quit the job to join the student movement to take active part in the steel plant and Jai Andhra agitations. He was also elected as the student convener of AU during that period.
In the early 1970s he forayed into the field of civil contracts and in a short time rose to the grade of a class-A contractor for organisations like MES, DGNP and Visakhapatnam Steel Plant.
"Though I was successful as a contractor, I was never happy during that period. The academic in me was constantly impelling me to do something. Finally in 1990, I decided to quit and set up a college in a mango orchard that I purchased near Gajuwaka years ago," says Mr. Krishna.
What made him start the college in Gajuwaka?
"I was inspired by the writings of Rabindranath Tagore since my childhood and was more inspired by his institution in Shantiniketan. A visit to that place made me realise that education should be imparted in a serene and peaceful environment and that was why I set up the college in Gajuwaka amidst the mango grove. Moreover, almost all colleges were located in the city."
The institution that he started with 150 students and 10 staff members is today a sprawling campus that houses a degree college, a women's college and a PG college. Today there are over 2,000 students with a little over 500 coming from Assam, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Orissa and Jharkhand. And there are over 200 teaching and non-teaching staff members to take care of the college and the hostels that he has set up within the campus for the outstation students.
Asked about the future of Vizag, he says: "I believe that this city is going to become the seat of learning in India in the coming years."
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