Root cause

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The son of an idli ven­dor, his mother’s monthly salary was Rs 600 on which she had to sup­port her five chil­dren. Sarath­babu ped­dled his mother’s idlies as a child, bound books as a teenager to sup­port him­self while study­ing hard to bet­ter his lot. “I re­alised that study­ing is the key to recog­ni­tion.” So, he stud­ied hard enough to get ad­mis­sion to Bits-pi­lani and later went on to do his MBA from In­dian In­sti­tute of Man­age­ment-ahmed­abad. Post his ed­u­ca­tion, Sarath­babu re­jected a well pay­ing job and set up Food King, a food cater­ing busi­ness in 2006. His ven­ture em­ploys more than 300 peo­ple to­day across three cen­ters in In­dia.

NEXT STEPS In ad­di­tion, Sarath­babu joined pol­i­tics in 2009. “I dream of a hunger free In­dia and I needed to get into pol­i­tics to change the sys­tem,” says Sarath­babu of the new fron­tier he’s scal­ing. He con­tested as an independent can­di­date in the 2009 Lok Sabha elec­tions from the South Chen­nai con­stituency and the 2011 Assem­bly elec­tions from the Velach­ery con­stituency bag­ging fifth and third po­si­tions re­spec­tively.

HK Rajashekhar/www.in­di­a­to­day­im­ages.com

“With only a can­dle for light, I couldn’t see be­yond my books. That is how I was able to get ahead of the priv­i­leged who had dis­trac­tions ga­lore un­der their bright tube­lights.”

E SARATH­BABU, 31, Po­lit­i­can and en­tre­pre­neur

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