A mechanical engineer from a prestigious college in Bengaluru, Sushant Jha had a very hard time getting a job after his studies got completed. Why? He has a cleft lip, which causes him a bit of speech-impairment. He knew that was the reason when number of companies didn’t even bother to ask him technical questions and he was let go just after some general questions.
Going ahead, he thought probably a post-graduation would make things better for him and he might score a job. Even though cracking the interview rounds for B-School for MBA was tough for him. He got into a premier college in Delhi because of his good MAT score.
Couple of years later, even after having done well in MBA, the same situation persisted for Sushant. He remembers, he was rejected from over 40 companies by then. Two years passed by and coming from a middle-class family, Sushant didn’t even in his wildest dream think that he will have such a hard time finding a job.
It was at this moment, Sushant decided to start something on his own. He always wanted to do something that will not just be self-sustainable but also be beneficial for the society. Being an avid reader right from childhood, Sushant came up with an idea with his brother Prashant associated with books. They remembered how during their engineering days students used to keep a book only for a semester or two and then give it away on kilogram-worth to scrap dealers. That’s when “Bodhi Tree Knowledge” was registered by the brothers and they started with the Padhega India Initiative in 2014.
Padhega India Initiative (PII) started its operations from Delhi by providing people with high-cost books on second-hand basis. Sushant still gets nostalgic about how during his childhood days, he used to run a small library for the underprivileged kids around him. He says, it used to be filled with Reader’s Digests, story books and comic books. Statistics say, an average Indian consumes 10 kg of paper per year. This encouraged them to promote the sales of second hand books even further.
Reduction of paper consumption meant lesser burden on trees, which in turn helps the environment. The brothers also came up with a measuring scale called Green Count on their websites, which optimizes as soon as someone gets a book from them. Every 250 mark in green count equals saving of 10 kg of paper. They even made sure, there is no paper wasted in packaging of these books.
The initiative that started with zero investment from the duo’s home has now shifted to a proper office in South Delhi. Initially, they tied up with number of vendors in their area. The books are bought as and when the order is received. The consumer pays only if he is convinced about the quality of the book. Soon, they started out renting books as well on their website. With expansion of the initiative, they soon started selling second-hand books helping in competitive exams. They books that were donated or sold were picked up from people’s doorsteps free of cost.
Padhega India Initiative is currently available only in Delhi and NCR. The duo has plans to open the next outlet in Bengaluru. They have also been recognised by Department of Industrial Promotion and Policy. But, the journey wasn’t always a piece of cake.
There were several struggles in the path like no real time records of the available inventory due to several unorganised vendors, getting the word out about this initiative, everyday running operations etc. But, Sushant always had the faith in the plan and stick to his instinct to get through this problems. He even used to deliver books to the first-time buyers, so as to go that extra-mile for customer satisfaction and spread the word about this program. He believes in the quote, even though money can’t buy happiness, it can buy books and it is the same thing.