Despite Being Visionless, Prateek Agarwal Has A Better View Of World
If hard work will be your weapon, success will be your slave.” The statement rings in a lot of relevance for Prateek Agarwal, who, despite being born without vision, has achieved a level of success that any man would be proud of. Twenty-six years-old Prateek, who was initially denied admission in schools when he was a kid, today runs a successful IT business in the Pink City employing close to 40 people.
“Even people with disabilities are born with a heart. There is not much difference. It’s just the way of handling the situation. Nothing is impossible in this world. Disabilities can be overcome by sheer will-power and passion,” says Prateek in an interview to Business Rankers.
After five months of his birth in 1990, he was detected with a retinal disease that deprived him of eyesight. For Prateek’s parent, it was almost like the whole world came crashing down around them. They could not believe that Prateek would never regain vision in this life.
“My parents were devastated. They took me to several medical experts. But the disease was incurable and the truth was difficult to sink in. As I grew up, they wanted me to put in good schools and give me education. Initially, many schools denied my admission because they didn’t have any systems where they can teach a blind child. It was a difficult situation for my parents. But they somehow managed to convince St. Michael’s School,” recalls Prateek.
For Prateek, his parents are the most valuable gifts that the god has given to him. They stood by him as rock solid and motivated him for studies. He also took his life as a challenge.
Prateek started his studies with a script called Braille, a six dots system through which a blind person can read and write. After a few months of practice, Prateek became well versed with the script and was able to understand Braille. Driven by his passion to learn, Prateek not only overcame the handicap but did exceedingly well in the exams. He passed 12th Class with high marks from St. Michael’s School.
During his school days Prateek developed a keen interest in computers which later on became his stepping stone to success. But at the beginning, the school environment for a blind child was not exactly supportive. Even classmates would pass snide remarks about his prospects. That did not deter Prateek. The world where no one was ready to teach him computer, Prateek became his own teacher and started learning on his own. He started learning by his own understanding, by pressing the keys and catching English words. This was how it all began for him. The first software on which he worked upon was JAWS.He was so much fascinated with the world of computers that when he was in 8th standard, Prateek wanted to start an IT company. It was an age when he did not know much about various programmes but again he believed in his passion and hard work. The dream to start a company invited not so complimenting comments from his classmates. After completing his 12th, Prateek got an admission at NIIT Jaipur. But it presented another challenge before for him to convince the authorities. “There were several questions raised about my learning capabilities. And also the absence of a system in the college about a blind student writing in the exams and appearing in practical tests created headwinds. Though it took a long time but people agreed with my views,” explains Prateek.
At the time of placement though Prateek secured the highest marks in papers like aptitudes and GD, he was not selected only because of his disability. There again the dream woke up in him that he had dreamt of in 8th Class. After completing his engineering without being an intern in any company or organization Prateek started his career by starting a software company with the name of Daedal Technovations Pvt Ltd in 2010.
But the challenges did not end there as he faced both financial and non-financial hurdles. “Money for setting up an office was an issue which I managed. But the most difficult job was convincing clients for work contacts. Over phone clients would show interest and give us an opportunity to demonstrate our capabilities. But they would simply look at my face and make a U-turn when we go and meet them,” reminiscences Prateek.
Today, the software company works on a number of operations like IOS, androids and online marketing. It also provides consultancy and digital marketing services among others. Having strategic tie-ups, the company has expanded to offshore destinations like the US, the UK and Australia. “The company delivers a wide spectrum of solutions which include promotions on social media, different networking sites, blogs and contents. The company also works in the domains of search engine optimization, mobile app technology, web applications for operations like internal work flow management, B2B solutions that include resource mobilization and streamlining revenue system. The company gets 95-99% of its revenue from the overseas,” adds Prateek. Speaking about the future of IT, Prateek says digital marketing is going to be the key driver of the industry. Looking back at his life, he says, “From the first day on, I felt it was difficult and challenging. But in the heart of my hearts I was convinced that there are lot of opportunities and possibilities. It has been a difficult journey but I have tried to overcome them and learnt things the hard way.”
Apart from the software company Prateek also has established a training centre in Udaipur, where different kinds of programming languages are taught. One of the aims of Prateek is to empower people with disabilities. He has associated himself with various organizations. “A disable people can do lot of things like a normal person. But they need support and a little handholding. My aim is to make a difference in the world,” says Prateek, who also works for Rajasthan Netraheen Kalyan Sangh.