Maybe Mankind is his business; saving a road accident victim is his passion: Dr. Kuriachan K.A
Dr. Kuriachan K.A , one of the youngest International Motivational Trainers, past District Governor Rotary International and Founder of the Road Accident Helpline Centers, is a noble hearted doer, thinks differently and helps humankind in all possible ways. Born in an ancient royal Kattukaran family of Trissur, and brought up in Coimbatore, he got elected as one of the youngest Rotary International District Governor Nominees in the world at the age of 34 for one of the largest Rotary District 3200, comprising of 12 Revenue Districts in Tamil Nadu and Kerala for the year 2001-02. He pursued his P.hd in the subject of Management Organisation Behaviour from the famous Bharathiar University, analysing the occupational stress of the bus drivers in order to study about the feasibility of reducing the road accident fatalities.
One of your major achievements was to design and implement a 340-kilometre-long Rotary Road Accident Helpline center, which saved many lives. Please tell us more about the project. What do you think it will take to achieve safe roads in India?
As I read a news report about road accident deaths, or watch a TV news report about accidental death, I consider that as though I lost a dear friend or a family member. It is very painful to any person, who comes to know that they have lost their close friend or relative on a road accident. They wouldn’t have imagined in the morning while having breakfast together that one would lose life in an accident. The family get devastated on hearing the shocking news. Their business or profession gets shattered. Moreover, it will become a real socio-economic issue to the whole District, State or the Nation, if more accidental deaths take place, as majority dying or getting handicapped are in the most productive age group of 18 to 55. So, we should try to reduce maximum road accident fatalities. Every accident given a helping hand is really saving a life in some way. We cannot create a life, but we can definitely save a life. Your life will get converted from Anandham to Para-manandham, even if you help one road accident victim.
Speaking about Rotary Road Accident Helpline center, it was first of kind project which started in Bhavani in Erode District of Tamil Nadu to Vytilla in Ernakulam District of Kerala for a stretch of 340 Kms. We had installed containerized trauma care booth every 20 kms in the highway, where we had a trained para-medical staff on duty. A trauma booth in every 20kms enhances the ambulance reaching the accident spot within 10 minutes to provide medical care in the golden hour. All together we have rescued more than 14,800 accident victims during the tenure of the project. The project continues to run under the stewardship of Rotary Club in some places, but there is now the 108 Ambulance which is government backed project. But, I am happy to say that the Rotary Road Accident Helpline center were the pioneers and front runners for many other similar projects in India.
Road accidents can be reduced to a certain extent by better training of drivers, building well-engineered roads and improved policing. I like them to prioritize the three Es, which stands for Education, Engineering and Enforcement.
The first part is education. Most of the drivers in the road know the law and road rules, but sadly misuse it due to urgency or lack of knowledge of latest developments. Few feel they are smarter violating the rules, if they are not under watch, at the cost of risking their precious life and others lives. Patience for few seconds can give them lifelong happiness, avoiding unnecessary road accidents. I suggest that continuous education should be given to all drivers at regular intervals.
The second E stands for engineering, which the government should provide. We need better roads, signalling system, and signboards. We must adhere to international standards in building roads and placing sign boards.
The third E stands for enforcement. Once there is proper policing, stricter laws and steeper fines, it is observed that there will be far less violations, which in turn will reduce accidents.
As Rotarian since 1989-90, Rotary club has played an important part in your life. Moreover, you have served the club in different capacities, especially as one of the World’s Youngest Rotary Governor Nominees in the year 1999-2000 for one of the largest Rotary Districts comprising revenue Districts in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. How does the club shape you as a person?
Rotary taught me large projects can be conceived and executed. Rotary club is the organization behind mega humanitarian projects like small pox eradication and in the polio eradication. Rotary stands for Service Above Self. I was fortunate to be one of the World’s Youngest Rotary Governor Nominee that took place in the year 1999-2000, and also one of the Youngest Rotary Governor two years later.
You were the brain behind conducting seminars like Yuva India 2000, which included the participation of 7200 youth delegates in October 1996, and also Teacher’s India 2000 in 1998 and Citizens India 2000 in 1999. Tell us more about these seminars.
All these three events were mega projects of my home club, Rotary Coimbatore Texcity, where I happened to be the project chairman. We were able to gather large support for the same. Yuva India 2000 was conducted in 1996, and it was former Chief Election Commissioner of India Shri T.N. Sheshan who was the keynote speaker in the function. I had a good advisor in Dr B.K. Krishnaraj Vanavaryar. Value based live demonstrations from the Fire and Safety Department, Gender Equality and Aids Awareness skits, Road Safety and Traffic awareness, First Aid Training and Role Model Motivation trainers experiences shared were the highlights of the three day conference at Nehru Stadium. The conference also had display stalls of the Indian Army, Navy and Air force. The planes and helicopters fly past arranged by the Indian Air Force installed great confidence in the minds of the youth delegates.
Teachers India 2000 was a conference meant for teachers. The conference showcased the message “Teachers are makers of tomorrow”. More than 22 National educationalists and Vice Chancellors from various prominent universities addressed the gathering.
Citizens India 2000 was another conference primarily intended for government employees and NGO workers. The message that the conference conveyed was “As a citizen when we claim our rights we also have the responsibility to do our duties”.
You worked with South India Viscose Ltd as a senior purchase executive before you started your entrepreneurial journey. How exciting and challenging is entrepreneurship? Please tell us more about Kings Living Styles.
South India Viscose gave me a great opportunity to grow and bloom. Initially, I was in the team who built the tallest building in Coimbatore. The project helped me get exposure to the top architects and contractors of that time. SIV was one of the prestigious Corporate Companies in South India with 5500 people directly on roles and more than 15000 people employed indirectly. I was able to grow up ladder as a Senior Purchase Officer.
SIV was a large company with more than 10,000 different types of spare parts required for day to day operations. I was able to successfully negotiate with various vendors nationally and internationally, to procure high quality products at the right time and with the right price. These factors were very important because the money I save in purchases will have an effect on company’s balance sheet. In addition, I successfully negotiated with different culture and background, and this experience helped me when I started my entrepreneurial journey.
In 2002, I started an interior design and furnishing firm called Kings Living styles, in which we multitask as manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers for high quality interior and furnishing products including variety of mattresses and sofa sets, which are marketed in Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
Another major project you embarked upon was the Kovai Clean City movement. How important is to clean our cities, especially at this time when we are moving into a fast consumer society?
Kovai Clean city movement is yet another project that is very dear to my heart. It was started in 1998. The project was inaugurated by the then Minister of Urban Development, Sri Ram Jethmalani. The aim was to segregate the biodegradable and the non-biodegradable wastes, and convert organic waste into manure, for use in farms. There were many highlights in this project, the first and the foremost was that it was self-sustainable. The waste collected was converted into organic manure which was much sought after, and the revenue from its sales was used to cover the expenses to collect and segregate the waste.
Kovai Clean City movement was well appreciated by the District Collector and Municipal Commissioner. Founder of Isha Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev had endorsed the project. He often joined hands with us and motivated us. Kovai Clean City movement was in fact, a forerunner and model for many other clean and green campaigns, and it successfully showcased the idea that citizen movements like this can be self-sustainable.
You were also part of very large anti-corruption movement as the Executive Chairman of the Desabhakta Society of India? Please tell our readers more about the movement and your association with T.N. Sheshan.
After the mega Yuva 2000 conference in Coimbatore, the youngsters who came from different institutions got motivated by the speech and guidance of T. N. Sheshan.
So, my mentor, guide and well-wisher, Dr P.R Krishnakumar Varrier, Managing Trustee of the Ayurvedic Trust and Present Chancellor of the Avinashilingam University along with Shri T. N. Sheshan started the Desabhakta Society of India and they nominated me as the Charter Executive Chairman for two years. The aim of the movement was to strive for anti-corruption.
You were invited by the then President Late Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, and also happened to meet our Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi. How exciting it was to meet these two eminent personalities? What did you imbibe from them?
Yes, in fact, I had met two serving Presidents KR Narayanan and Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam respectively, while they were in the office, and one past President R. Venkataraman. I was fortunate enough to introduce more than 500 people from different walks of society to Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. I had also met our Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi in 2007, then serving as Chief Minister of Gujarat. All these eminent personalities have left very positive impact in my life. Dr. A PJ Abdul Kalam always stressed on the importance to be a doer and following dreams. He was very humble and a role model for all of us. While Narendra Modi instilled in me a confidence to follow our cause without fear and help the needy.
You are an Honorary faculty in many revered institutions. It is understood that you have a passion for teaching. Tell our readers more about your teaching styles, the subjects you are passionate about. How is education scenario in India? Where are we good at and how can we improve on it?
As an Honorary Training Faculty for the Indian Air Force Officers at the Air Force Administrative College for many years, my passion for Nation Building and inculcating Leadership Qualities among the Youth grew many fold, learning and sharing the discipline and dedication from them. In the last 3 decades, I have addressed to more than a million people in different platforms and trained more than 10,000 youth and young professionals in their Soft Skill Development especially the Art of Public Speaking and the Language of Leadership in National & International forums, motivating them to remove the 2 letters ‘im’ from the word impossible from their Life Dictionary, so that they become more successful in their respective chosen field. Every profession, job or work is a good job, provided they enjoy their job and work with a passion.
You have developed a self-analysis exercise called “Discover Yourself” which is in demand internationally.
Teaching has always been a great passion for me. I believe that if a person can understand his/her potential and improve by 1%, he/ she can produce 10% better results. Discover yourself is based on the classic SWOT analysis and there are 25 questions and based on the answers one will be able to identify their strengths and weaknesses. Once you have an insight into it, the idea is strengthen your strengths and weaken your weaknesses. I have been able to serve more than 10000 persons in different walks of life to become better in whatever they do. I have to add to that once you find your strength you will have to practise on it.
Tell us about your interest in philately. How did it start? You were recognized for your passion in philately. Do you think that philately still has an importance in this digital age?
I was interested in philately (the collection and study of postage stamps) from a young age. I was part of the philately club in Carmel Garden school. That hobby helped me a lot, basically for being familiar with country names and currencies.
Through the club we were able to share and exchange stamps installing the sharing and caring.
More than that, the hobby requires patience. The stamps are very delicate you need extreme care to remove it from the envelope or other postal materials.
I think philately is a hobby that withstood the passing on time. There is a lot of value for stamps and the value keeps increasing.
You live a very active life handling business and many other socially relevant projects, how do you manage your time? How do you unwind? What are your hobbies apart from philately?
I surmise that the successful people have time for everything. They never complain for a lack of time. The key to their success is they identify their priorities and delegate work properly. In 1992, the year I got married, I was working from 9.30am to 5.45 pm, I was pursuing my MBA, I attended class after work for 2 hours and I was also the secretary of Rotary Club which required another 2 hours of work every day. That is why after acquiring so many degrees in Engineering, Management, Psychology, Materials Management and a PhD in Organisational Behaviour, I find time to read and study, acquiring more knowledge, which I am always happy to share.
I do yoga, like breathing exercise, and fitness exercise for at least 45 minutes every day so that my body stays fit. I believe that if your body is fit, most of your problems are over. Apart from philately, I do gardening. I am in touch with nature too as an organic farmer.
Tell us about your family, and please share word of wisdom for our readers.
My wife is Daisy. She, like me, is also very passionate about socially responsible programs. I am blessed with two daughters, Maria and Alice. Maria works with Deloitte in New York after graduating her Masters in Engineering Management from the Duke University. Alice, who did her Higher Secondary schooling in France, is at present pursuing her BBA at PSG college of Arts and Science in Coimbatore.
“Help others with a smile by sparing 10 percent of your Valuable time. You will get real happiness”.