HUMANITY AT ITS BEST ; Roy Kurian
Roy Kurian was born in 1965 to Kuriakose and Eliyamma and was the eldest among the four siblings. Belonging to a poor family who practised traditional agriculture for a living, Roy Kurian rose to heights in the field of business with his determination, perseverance and down-to-earth attitude. He is a renowned self-made personality for the people in Idukki and inspires many to achieve their dreams.
Apart from being a businessman, Roy Kurian is also a planter who owns more than 100 acres of agricultural land and five quarries at various places in South India. Roy Kurian is also a part of the tourism industry by owning 5-star hotels and resorts in the suburbs of Munnar hills. Apart from this, he has also launched a helipad in Munnar in this regard and is now planning to buy a helicopter which will help people in travelling from Munnar to Kochi and Madurai to Munnar for any emergency as well as tourism purposes.
What are your memories of childhood?
I was born in a village named Maalipara in Kothamangalam, Ernakulam. It is a place where my heart is even today. People over there are innocent and helpful who prefer to share each other’s happiness as well as tough times. They practised agriculture for a livelihood. Even my parents were fully involved in farming to take care of the family. So, I did not have the chance to go for further education and had to lend my hands. Nowadays, children spend three-fourth of their time studying and trying to achieve their ambition. I studied at Fathima Matha UP School till Class 7. I was not bright in studies but was good at Mathematics. At a young age, I was interested in agricultural activities and helped my parents in our fields. Currently, I own more than 100 acres of farms which cultivates pepper, cardamom and rubber.
When did you start doing business?
My father started a timber trade in 1974 and bought a lorry. My father was a meek person and was cheated several times because of which he suffered a huge loss in the business. Private financiers from whom we borrowed money added to our woes. I had got selected into the army during this time but could not perform well in the interview. I had to stay here with my family and help my parents in paying off the debts. I don’t regret not performing well that day because by God’s grace life gave me everything I wished for soon after that. My dream of achieving an identity in the field of business, which my father could not, has been fulfilled.
What would have you been if not into business?
I dreamt of being a police officer because this job is respectful and has a commitment towards society. As it is said being in power comes with a responsibility, a police officer can make a change in a person or a society. The best part about this job is their selfless dedication. At times, I do have a thought that I could have tried for this job but was busy trying to expand my business and earn, make a better life for my family.
You must have faced many hurdles especially while starting a business in Idukki. How would you describe your growth as a businessman?
It’s been 34 years since I started my company. I was born and brought up in Ernakulam but was never interested in settling down amidst the hustle and bustle of the city. Thus, I bought lands in several regions in Idukki and started my business here. This place and people taught me a lot. It helped me to evolve as a better human being both in my personal as well as professional life. As I said, I could achieve all this because of God’s grace and my parents’ support and prayers. Now, my dream to own a helipad is also going to come true soon.
A few words on the controversies about you?
There are many controversies in which I am the central character–some of them are of things that I have never heard or thought of. Now this happens when you trust somebody and that person cheats on you for their profit. People misunderstand the genuine idea or intention behind an act. For example, the issue of a night party which I organised in Munnar recently. Night parties are a part of tourism activities in places outside our country. It is common in European countries and East Asian countries such as Thailand and the Philippines. But when it comes to our country, especially our state, things turn out to be controversial and anti-social issues. Even our government is not encouraging these activities to improvise our tourism sector. Apart from this, hartals, strikes, politicians and local goons make things worse. This is how even my roadshow emerged as a controversy.
What are your thoughts about the present media scenario?
According to me, the media can help a person grow at the same time tarnish his/her life and personality. It has got the power of the ‘fourth estate’ in our country’s system. But nowadays media platforms including many major television channels have stooped down that people started fearing them. Journalism must be a truthful, one-sided and moreover a responsible service to the public. Our group of businesses is also planning to start a channel which can make a change in the current media trends.
Regarding your charity works?
I am a religious person and used to extend a part of my profit to the Church. But I stopped it when the Church started misusing the money according to their will. Then I started providing financial assistance to our employees’ children for their education and healthcare services. I keep aside 10 per cent of my profit for charity services every month. There are a lot of people who struggle for a meal. For example, the fishermen who risk their lives for their family and livelihood. And the nurses and medical staff who extend their services 24×7. We must be thanking God Almighty and our parents every day for all that we are enjoying today. I have started an ambulance service with five vehicles which will function free of cost round the clock. Our group of companies are also into CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) activities in which we provide support to build houses for the needy.
People have a misconception regarding the business that it is nothing more than making money in the fastest and easiest method. What do you have to say about it?
You can never make money nor anything through shortcuts. It is wrong to expect that one can be rich or make a lot of money easily and quickly through a business. This job like any involves risk, responsibility and stress. Unless and until you overcome the pressure that involves this sector, you cannot achieve anything or make a place for yourself. I believe that reasonable thoughts, practicality and in-field experience can help a lot in this field. For this, we can look up to the education and work culture in foreign countries. They insist on having work experience during a person’s studies which can really help him/her in performing well in whatever sector they work in.
Which factors can help in the growth of the business sector?
Of course, the media plays a major role in the growth of the business. I strongly feel that the prime time shows in our TV channels must include discussions which can help people in developing skills, realise their potential and find employment. These shows must be of some benefit for the youth and children.
How did the lockdown period affect your business and employees?
It was quite hard at first because I had several employees working in various departments in my company. But for the past six months, I have been organising meetings for my employees where their issues will be addressed. Financial aid was provided throughout the lockdown period. The major strength of our company is our employees. It is their dedication and hard work which lead to the growth of all my ventures. I have tried my best to reach out to everybody and extend my help.
Who has supported and guided you throughout all your ventures?
My parents have motivated me in every phase of my life. I am the luckiest to have my wife as a life partner because she is my biggest support system. We share ideas and opinions regarding business. Advocate S Sreekumar is my mentor. I look up to him for his valuable encouragement. My friends do play a major role in supporting me and standing by my side during tough times.
About your family?
My family consists of my parents Kuriakose and Eliyamma, four sisters, wife and two children. Since I was the only boy and the eldest, I was loved and pampered by all. My wife, Mini Roy, a Bachelor of Education (B.Ed) graduate and children – Arun who is a MS graduate and is working as a Quality Engineer at the company named ‘Abbott’ in the US and Kiran who is studying for MBBS are my biggest support system. My wife keeps encouraging me every day and at times she shares her ideas for the growth of our business.
I love to travel and have been to several places with my family and friends. I do spend a lot of time with my friends– going for drives and even discussing business and random topics for hours and hours a day
HUMANITY AT ITS BEST ; Roy Kurian