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Shreesh Jadhav : The real Inspiration

Please spend some time to read this inspirational story.
(Times of India 07 August 2008)

Rahul Awasthi comes away impressed after meeting his classmate and IIT topper, who earns no salary, but has the highest job satisfaction.

I read in a corporate bestseller sometime back that the highest job satisfaction is enjoyed by those in least-paying jobs, like in NGOs and social organisations. This sounded ironical, but still exciting enough to mull over, for those of us in the corporate world, chasing a mirage called job satisfaction and often confusing it with high salaries.

Five years ago, I was posted in Kolkata to look after the eastern region. This is where I had the soul-stirring experience of meeting Shreesh at Belur Math, the Ramkrishna Mission's headquarters. Away from the city's boisterous roads, Belur is tranquility personified as its sylvan surroundings are placed close to the mighty Hooghly. It had been 18 years since Shreesh and I had passed out from IIT, Kanpur, where we spent our days in neighbouring hostel rooms, and 14 years since we had last met. In the course of lunch that day at Belur, he unfolded his post-IIT story, which marked a turning point for my own view towards life.

Shreesh Jadhav was ranked second across India in the JEE and completed his B.Tech in computer science with a perfect 10 CPI. A recipient of the President's gold medal at IIT, he spurned all offers of plum scholarships from top foreign universities. Instead, he went on to do his Ph.D from IIT, Kanpur. As his neighbour, I was familiar with Shreesh's leanings towards Swami Vivekananda and Ramkrishna Paramhans. Often, when I barged into his room for a chat session, I would find him deep into reading their teachings. These had an impact on his day-to-day actions as well.

An example of his austerity was the fact that he managed to pass those four years with just a pair of white kurta-pyjamas. Top brain that he was, the toughest assignments were cracked by him in a jiffy and his answers matched up to the second decimal of the model answers put up later outside the exam hall. He also found time to take up the cause of mess workers, which temporarily invited the ire of IIT authorities, but eventually bore results. Through his Vivekananda Samiti, he taught several of the mess workers' children, besides other poor employees of IIT.

With three sisters, he was the only son of his parents, and the entire family along with many of us, egged him on to study abroad. I occasionally mocked his convictions and told his parents that he would eventually succumb to the lure of dollars, just like several of his batch mates. But, he couldn't be deterred from his single-minded pursuit of serving humanity. He would explain, "Just like Silicon Valley, social sectors too desperately need intelligent people."

He continues to positively impact the lowest rung of the social ladder. Recently, he helped save the life of 12-year-old Sarita, who developed a hole in her heart. Her operation in Bangalore cost Rs 3 lakh and on reading Shreesh's email, I had contributed my bit, but was doubtful if he would meet the target. But, as I recently found out, Sarita was back home in Kanpur after a successful surgery, making me put my faith in Shreesh's words that "there are a lot of good people in the world, we just need to reach out to them".

Unmarried, he has dedicated his entire life towards a social cause. He joined the Ramkrishna Mission after his doctorate and, by now, has taught computer science to several thousand students at their university, besides managing various projects spread across the country. He also humbly believes that Belur Math has given him the opportunity to achieve his mission. Yet, his journey continues.

Shreesh's story is beyond inspiration. When I look around at my batch-mates, many of whom head companies, I consider Shreesh the biggest success story of IIT. His story should be a catalyst for all those who want to bridge the social abyss created by market forces and government inaction. As I write a cheque for Rs 15,000 for my three-year-old son's quarterly fees, I'm reminded of an education system gone horrendously wrong. Unlike many of us who keep trodding known paths, Shreesh Maharaj - as he is popularly known in Belur - has clearly found his own path and left a trail.
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Anonymous said…
Very inspiring! Shows how people can change world around them if they try to do it.
Though, only a bit of another message coming out of this story is that we ultimately need money to do all the good things. Perhaps Shreesh could have got big money with a mind like his before venturing into this field. Or even use a netowrk of people to achieve this.
Hi Anonymous,

Thanks for the comment.
ofcourse Money is needed to do the good things but it should not be taken as the barrier to do the good things.

Money can be raised but the will to do the good things comes from within.

Love and Peace,
Anonymous said…

I know Shreesh and he lived above my room during my Masters at IITK. I was amazed by the flock of phD students from all departmens standing in line outside his room waiting for his Dharsan and solve their thesis problems. He would get after a long sleep and when asked, he would answer that he was busy teaching and playing with children in the neighbor village previous night. What an outsanding selfless humble personality!! Then some student would take him to the Hall 5 mess buy him food and meantime he would crack the students thesis problem (including Mech. Engg). We all looked at him like a a superhuman above every other living student at that time. I knew that time that he could get any job in any country that any other student would desire (including me) but he wouldnot have got the satisfaction that he had right now. We will never understand the bliss and satifaction that he has right now, because to understand we need to elevate ourself to that level and which very rare to happen. I am proud that a very intelligent student from India using his skills to improve the qulity of nation and its children.

I have know words how I am feeling while reading your comment. I dont have words to show my grtitude. Thank you very much for sharing these memories.

You are really lucky to meet him. I am trying my best to meet him atleast once.

These are the gems of India.

Thank you very much once again.

Love and Peace,
dolphin said…
champion for the cause of education! thanks for the post, it has really helped me today. it shows that some are born for helping people. shreesh jadhav deserves thorough praise for his work.
Thanks a lot for sharing your views.

Today morning I read one quote

"What you keep to yourself, you lose. what you give away, you keep forever."

I am sure that work of Shreesh Jadhav will be there forever.


Love and Peace,
shiva said…
sometime in life you are so awestruck when you hear or read a certain things that it would be better to keep your mouth shut and instead enjoy the feeling that's within you then. Of course, you don't let it go at that!! Your only reply to that would be to do something of the same kind that's within your scope. And that WOULD be my reply. Coming soon... PK-MAN
Pranav Kumar V said…
sometime in life you are so awestruck when you hear or read a certain things that it would be better to keep your mouth shut and instead enjoy the feeling that's within you then. Of course, you don't let it go at that!! Your only reply to that would be to do something of the same kind that's within your scope. And that WOULD be my reply. Coming soon... PK-MAN

P.S. I wouldn't even attempt to say anything about Shreesh for the sun would still shine and that's the best part about it.
Very well said, Pranav Kumar!!!

I am totally agree with you. It doesn't matter whether we say it or not. But I think it is just a way to show our respect to Shreesh and his work.

Thanks a Lot!!!
Love and Peace,
Harshit Gupta said…
good to read about such people. And even inspiring, as I'm motivated to do my bit if not such a great work. Thanks for the post.
Arnab Chanda said…
I am one of the fortunate people who has seen Shreesh Maharaj up close. I wish he also taught in the 11-12 section of the R K Mission where I studied.

Needless to say, he was the backbone of our computer department, and a very popular teacher/brother/friend/philosopher/guide for all. It feels really good to hear people speak about him with respect, dignity and inspiration. In today's world, thats very rare.
Kajal said…
Hi Anonymous,
Thanks for your comment.I am very fortunate to get Sreesh Maharaj closely.I studied at R.K.M.Vidyamandira where he was a computer teacher.Most of the times I saw him sinking in deep thought.I heard from by batch mates in Computer Science department about his talent.He is great inspiration to me.
Sri Ramakrishna Pranamastu
Hari Om Tatsat
Arnab, Kajal and Anonymous,
You are really lucky that you meet Shreesh Maharaj.

I am waiting for the chance to meet him.

Sanjay said…
Thanks to IIT-K for recognizing his work by giving him distinguished Alumnus Award for 2009. He is the youngest of the lot to get this award.

I met him accidently when I went to meet a friend during a conference and he left a lasting impression during the brief meeting.
atul said…
hi shreesh maharaj,i read your article in time.what a great personality u r sir .i m a student of amity .thank u sir.
@ Sanjay,

Thank you very much for your comment.

@ Atul,
I respect your feeling but This is not Mr Shreesh Blog. Sorry for misunderstanding.

Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
soumik said…
I feel proud to say that I was a student of him for three years.As a teacher he has always shown the path on how to work hard to achive your goal.He is really a pathfinder for us.
Praveen said…
I congratulate Shreesh for being awarded the distinguished Alumnus Award for 2009. I regret for not able to benefit though I lived so near him at IITK and Bhilai .But I had lot of chance to listen to him.I am looking for his mail id, anyone plz pass it on to me at
p r bhalla
@Soumik - You one of the luckiest students. Thank you for your comment.

@Praveen - That was a great news. He deserves it. I do not have his email id. But if I get it i will email you.

malathi said…
truly has deeply touched the words to write.

Thanks for your comment.

Krishnendu said…
I am really blessed that I have got the opportunity to spend my three years of BSc in Vidyamandira with him. He was our head of dept. in computer science. He was really amazing. He don't like publicity as far as I know. So, after spending three years with him we could not succeed to take even a single photo of him with his permission. I really do respect him from core of my heart...

Thanks for sharing this stories about him... To me he is GOD in flesh.

Thanks a lot for sharing your moments. You are really lucky to have company of this great soul.

Thanks again!!!
Anonymous said…
I feel proud to be a batch mate of Shreesh at grade 8 in St. Pauls H S School, Raipur. We all (including teachers) knew that he is a noble soul - beyond pysical attributes. And I am glad to know that you are still in the same path you chosen (I guess) 30 years back.
I pray for all your wishes.
- another old admirer
ajay said…
Thanks for such a wonderful real inspirational story. I bow down to Shreesh Maharaja.
Great Soul of India.
I will like to meet him.

ajay said…
Thanks for such a wonderful real inspirational story. I bow down to Shreesh Maharaja.
Great Soul of India.
I will like to meet him.

Thanks Ajay for those kind words!!!
Hari Prasad said…
Dear All,
i was fortunate to be his classmate at NIT raipur,where Shreesh did his 1 st year B.E after 10+1,His mother was prof.In Electrical dept and father GM in Bhilai steel Plant,all her sister Engineers,but so simple is he ,with two pairs of paijama and kurta and a cotton hand bag on the side ,he used to go to slum behing our college to teach students.her mother would request us to tell sheerish to buy pants and shirts or at leat fewmore paija and kurta,his reply would be 2 me ho jata ai na...2010 I was fortunate to meet him at ramkrishnamiision ,we were searching him by name and asked one of the swamiji by his name and gave hint that his is into computers,he immedialty said wo computer wale baba and took us to him,still so humble and after 15 year he could still remember my name .
we were chatting about hinduism while taking prashad he has offered to us,i had a friend with me who were christian ,we swamy came to know ,the discussed about christanity..and so deep that my friends were amazed about his dept of knowledge...they still remember him...and I feel fortunate to be associated with him and inspired by him
Dear Brother Hariprasad,
Indeed you are lucky to experience his company. I am looking forward to go to Kolkatta to meet Shreesh Swami once I come to India.

Thanks a lot for sharing your experience. I am honored.

Luv and Peace,
Anonymous said…
Shirish jadhav sir or shree Shirish Maharaj was my brother's classmate at Holy Cross English primary school, pension bada and even in those days he was a Class Act added to his humble ways. When he topped the IIT -jee it wasn't a surprise at all but to carry on with his principles even after so many years is a real inspiration.
Abhijeet said…
Rashmi Bansal's latest book "I have a dream" has included information about Shirish Jadhav.
Ganesh Prasad said…
I did my M.Tech. at IIT-K in 1992-93. I am honoured to have shared a hostel (Hall V) with Shreesh. I didn't interact with him personally, but everyone knew him. He had a photo of himself stuck on his door with the caption "pishaach kaksh" (demon's room).
Abhijeet said…
Dear Ganesh,

Thanks a lot for visiting my blog.

Pishach Kaksh is indeed funny and creative. Its really honor to spend time with such a genius.

Anonymous said…
Thank you for sharing.

I was listening to a lecture,
by Swami Narasimhananda a young scholarly monk of the Ramakrishna Order. Delivered at IIT Kanpur. He mentioned passingly in introduction Sheerish Jadhav, So googled to find out more and stumble upon this blog.

Truly inspiring story.

Abhijeet said…
Thanks a lot Anonymous!
Shankar V said…
It was a joy to read this blog post. I searched for him on the net when for some reason I was reminded of him and the search brought me to your blog.

Shreesh was a rare act. It is a pleasure to recollect some interesting moments. I happened to stay at Hall-V when Shreesh was doing his PhD. In fact, we were from the same A-block. My friend's room was on the same floor as his.

My friend was doing a course on Network Analysis and he was struggling with an assignment problem. After several attempts, referring to books, and asking others in the class or dept, he finally gave up. That was when he sighted Shreesh walking towards his room. He darted down the corridor to his room and askd him if he could help him with the problem.

Shreesh said - "Sure, why not!" and looked at the problem once. His first reaction was "yeh toh asaan hai!" :)

He then quoted a theorem that was published in some journal, some years back. He used that theorem to reduce the problem to a state from where you could easily solve it. He solved the problem in 5 mins.

Shreesh was not just brilliant. He had a fantastic memory. He could rattle off pages of text after reading them just once.

Despite such talent, he was the most modest of persons I have met. Very easy going, simple, friendly and with no airs. He was known for his social service too - feeding the kids of Nankari at the hostel mess on his expense. His room was always open - never locked. Anybody could walk in and seek his help. He used to give away books and never ask for them to be returned. But most students would do it because they knew Shreesh and you cannot think of doing any wrong to him.

Thanks for this blog post. you brought back many past and pleasant memories.
Somen Banerjee said…
Hello to all.
Really inspiring.
I really feel proud to be associated with such a genius in the year 1984-85 when we were doing our BE I year from GEC, Raipur (Now NIT, Raipur)
I take this opportunity to salute Shreesh Maharaj for his noble cause.

Somen Banerjee (JSW Salem)
Unknown said…
He passed out from St Paul's and not holy cross.
Anonymous said…
Just to correct some facts, he doesn't have perfect 10 CPI but nearly 10 CPI as undergraduate because he raised voice for demands of mess worker which got institute authorities and a sociology professor angry who gave him a B grade( I guess he would have to not to give A grade to anybody.) to stop him from getting President Gold Medal.
But he didn't care.
Unknown said…
I had know Shereyeshadow as a classmate in Government England College is the year and then he went to IIT K.Very humble and soft spoken as we knew him. He has been inspiration for whole lot of friends.

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