Shravan Tedla began traveling regularly to his native India from his home in Colorado Springs two years ago. Over the course of his travels, he determined that he wanted to make a difference in the lives of young people there. On November 15, he met with the principal of Osmania University in Hyderabad, India, from [...]
Shravan Tedla began traveling regularly to his native India from his home in Colorado Springs two years ago. Over the course of his travels, he determined that he wanted to make a difference in the lives of young people there.
On November 15, he met with the principal of Osmania University in Hyderabad, India, from where he obtained his engineering degree. Shravan told this man that he would like to take 20 students from the school's College of Technology and make them millionaires, in rupees, within three years. The head of the school disbelieved him initially but finally consented, allowing him to speak to a large gathering of students.
Of those attending this meeting, sixty seven expressed interest in his idea. From this group, he chose 20 students.
Shravan said he does not have a definite plan as to how he will accomplish his goal but rather has a firm belief that it can be done.
Not long after this meeting, two Hyderabad businessmen approached Shravan about helping them to develop their businesses. He told these men that he was focusing upon the 20 students for now and then he asked them to provide internships for four of his students. They agreed to do so.
A week later, on November 22, Shravan met with the students again, as well as a rural scientist who had contacted him the previous day. The scientist, Narsimha Chary Mandaji, holds an international patent on a device that is attached to the end of fluorescent light tubes which allows the approximately 25% of mercury remaining in nonworking bulbs to be used and thus extends the life of the bulb (to see his story, watch the Discovery Channel video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Zp5fp1NJBs&app=desktop). This invention will also help to address a longtime problem of people dying from mercury poisoning in India due to the disposal of mercury-containing products, like fluorescent bulbs. A multinational company that manufactures these bulbs offered to buy Narsimha's patent from the scientist for 8 million dollars. He refused and told the company that he wants to create jobs and if the company buys the patent no jobs will be created. Since the scientist invented the attachment several years ago, he has been struggling to market it. Shravan said the plan now is to have sales persons in communities across India. His youth will guide the effort to market the product. The goal will eventually be to move beyond India's borders to market to other countries, including the United States.
Shravan does not let ideas stagnate. He explains his latest project: 'I started a whatsapp group called “Digital Education” in March of this year, after I visited remote villages in India and I realized that the kids and even adults were not getting educated properly. There were many kids with degrees, who had no jobs. Kids somehow got degrees but really did not understand the material. Education, in my opinion, is learning about oneself and then making one's dreams come true. This whatsapp group brought together many people from various backgrounds from around the world brain-storming on how we educate the kids and also assist the village.'
Shravan Tedla and I have known each other for 27 years. I first met him in the Engineering Building at the University of Wyoming (UW), when I was working as a custodian in the building while finishing my graduate degree in American Studies at UW. Shravan earned both a Master's in Chemical Engineering and a Master's in Civil (Environmental) Engineering from UW. We remain friends today and occasionally see each other face to face, like recently when I was in Denver. He told me before we parted that his goal is to live each day to the fullest. That is a good goal for anyone to have.