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Pydah Krishna Prasad

The institution he had started with 15 staffers and 82 students in a modest looking two-storey building a decade ago has grown to 300 staff members with a little over 3,800 students, spread over six campuses.

Meet the president and correspondent of Pydah Group of educational institutions, Pydah Krishna Prasad. Hailing from a family of zamindars (landlords) in Kakinada, he migrated to this city in 1980 to take over the family business of automobile dealership.

"We were the dealers for Fiat cars in those days. In 1982 I started my own business by acquiring the dealership of TVS mopeds. The turning point was the launch of Suzuki motorcycles by the TVS Group. In no time we rose to the status of becoming the No.1 dealer in terms of sales in the country," says Mr. Krishna Prasad.

Foray into education

The Pydahs are known for their philanthropic gestures in the field of education in Kakinada. "I was inspired by my grandfather to start an education institution. Pydah Venkata Narayana was a freedom-fighter. He was close to Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru. In fact, both Gandhiji and Nehru stayed in our house during the Congress plenary session. Apart from being an active politician he was also an educationist and it was he who started the two free choultries for students and a Sanskrit college in Kakinada. Inspired by him I started a degree college in 1992." Today the group comprises a junior college, a degree college, a post-graduate college, a women's college, an engineering college and a B.Ed. college. "A nursing college and a dental college are in the pipeline," hints Mr. Prasad.

Though he has been able to build a reputed educational institution, he says he has much more to achieve. "I do not believe in education that centres around textbooks and classrooms. A school or a college should be the grooming ground for children. The moment one passes out of a college he or she should be recognised as an ideal citizen of the country."

With this in his mind he dreams of building a couple of such ideal schools and a special school for the hearing and speech impaired children in the near future.

SUMIT BHATTACHARJEE

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