Have we seen any one walking with legs and hands together as daring Lion to walk alone and tread a path to truth? Yes, he is a person who has changed everything around himself by sheer will and audacity. Visualizing innovative concepts and taking it to realization level is in his DNA. Flawless execution of the conceptualized strategy is his exemplary strength.
He is a first media stalwart who carried his vision in this naughty world of powerbrokers. His dareness to dream and to bare the truth allowed him to challenge the physical world despite being physically challenged.
Meet the man Natar Ravi Subbaiah, Managing Director and Chief Editor of Navi Mumbai Television (NMTV) Pvt. Ltd, who got inflicted from polio at the very early age with the soul remaining unaffected. He turned adversity into opportunity and entered into cable and news business which was primarily a domain of powerful well networked people He is a teacher, a guardian, an inspiration, a motivation.
His principle in life is ‘Be slaves to nothing but duty and friends to nothing but merit.’
Die hard optimist
Black Friday is observed as an inauspicious day but Ravi was born on black Friday on 13th Janrurary 1969. He was born to a poor South Indian family living in Dharavi slums in Mumbai. Initial happiness that brought fate to a family when his father got a permanent job turned into sorrow and pain when he got severe polio attack and resulted in the temporary loss of speech and hearing and permanent disability of both the lower limbs for the boy. But destiny decided against the fate and he was the only survivor of the 25 polio victims who were admitted to the Orthopaedic Hospital at Haji Ali, Mumbai. The Darwin’s theory of fittest survival proves here again
Ravi braved the ignorance, insults and embarrassments and realised the harsh realities of life, But these realisation turned him into hardcore optimist and he vowed to take on the realities with education and perseverance and it proved to be the key of success for him For consistent income for the family he started giving tuitions in early student life and later started Kaizen Engineering Classes.. He lost his childhood in struggle for his existence.
Ravi ji’s education was itself a great challenge He passed Std. 12th brilliantly and opted for the stream of science. But again here he had to face the hard and harsh realities of his life and being told that his physical state would not suit the long hours of standing and working in the laboratories. With no choice, he then opted for the stream of commerce at Rayat Shikshan Sanstha’s Modern College situated at Vashi, Navi Mumbai and got first class degree in 1990.But the years of struggle and the passage of time had turned him into a young self-motivated man. He turned from a dependent kid to an independent young warrior.
The fight to survive and to carve out his own niche, Ravi chooses to be an entrepreneur and create job for needy and deprived. It is a great question one may ask that being physically challenged what motivates him to keep on moving. He nonchalantly said, “Early struggles in life due to my disability has helped me see the real meaning of life. I strongly believe that nothing is impossible and that I am as able as anyone else” Still under pressure from his family, once he went for an interview to get a job in NOCIL. But there he bluntly told his interviewer that he was not interested in doing job but to be a self employed person.
When asked how he came in cable business in the world of many other business options, Ravi said, “I am an ardent cricket fan. In 1987 I went to get a cable connection to watch India Australia match. But all the cable owners asked for exorbitant price and refused me to get connection. Here I took the challenge of being a cable operator.”
Cable TV business is one the most unorganised sectors to work in. Even for the striving man, it meant underworld threats, political pressure and all sorts of coercions from many to discontinue. But the young man believed that being an Indian he had every right to work and earn on this land’s soil and that too in accord of his choice of business. With the same grit, determination, courage, God’s grace and this time support from not only family but also friends and well-wishers, he progressed and his business flourished. Today Ravi is the Founder and Director of SSV Cable Pvt. Ltd., the largest cable TV network of Navi Mumbai.
After leaving his footprint in cable business he thought to be voice of people. His penchant to serve the society witnessed the birth of NMTV. So what motivated Ravi to join media industry? “Being a person with disability, hailing from an economically weak background, since childhood I have seen the real issues of people up, close and personal. That is, I always wanted to do something for the people. So when I got an opportunity I joined the media industry.” He replied.
Initially he started a half an hour a day video news magazine And today NMTV became the most popular and trusted 24 hrs local cable news station. He claims that his channel is different from other news channel. He quipped, “NMTV is a news channel for solution, not for sensation. We strive to be the most trusted and reliable platform for the masses. The channel believes in the ideology of awakening & enlightening people with human values besides being informative and educative.” He wishes to make NMTV a satellite channel with local content. This wish with conviction comes from the fact that he believes that today media industry has become dangerous, disturbing, immoral, irresponsible and hypocrite.
Today NMTV’s ‘Navi Mumbai News’ in English, Hindi & Marathi bring all the problems that is the plague of the society. The apathy of authorities, the corrupt action of governing bodies and the ignorance that prevails in people which does not allow flourishing a healthy ambiance for people to live in, is content mantra of NMTV. ‘Navi Mumbai News’ detect such problems awakening the mass with knowledge and resulting corrective actions, that their stains can be washed from the existing social fabric.. Under Ravi’s dynamic leadership, Navi Mumbai Television is the 1st cable News channel in India to have been awarded the state’s accreditation. NMTV is accredited news channel by the Govt. of Maharashtra for viewership and quality programming.
Ravi ji’s soul lies in people and working for deprived and downtrodden is his passion. He leaves no stone unturned to bring out a positive and visible change in life of a deprived person. To convert his passion into reality he started “Handicapped Welfare Association”, the purpose of which was to provide support to these special people that they did not get prior to this. Handicapped Welfare Association is a Non-Government Organization working for ‘Equal opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation for Disabled’ in Navi Mumbai and to bring immediate and effective solutions for the cause of the handicapped.
Awards and Accolades
Despite facing a hostile world Ravi turned his dreams into reality. Now he is getting his due from the society .The Indian Merchants Chambers has conferred the “Jewel of Navi Mumbai” award to Ravi Subbaiah for his contributions as a media person in making a beautiful Navi Mumbai. Apart from that Ravi Subbaiah was also awarded the International Galilean Award 2008 for community service from the platform of NMTV. For his work and research in the field of media, he has been honoured with an honorary Doctorate from the University of Jerusalem this year.
Ravi believes in the religion of humanism. May be his encounter with life in early phases have bestowed this unique gift of humanism in him. He never distinguishes between two persons on the ground of caste creed and religion. “After the polio attack and the resulting handicap, the moments of desperation in my family intensified to such heights that the family members were ready to lose hope and take drastic measures to abandon me. At a time like this, an Evangelist entered our lives and for the family, played the role of a God sent. He caressed my legs and I started improving. He gave the support that was never there in our lives. So I developed love and faith in Jesus and respect for humanity,” emphasizes Ravi with starry eyes.
Married with his soul mate Deepika Rani-, he is blessed with two daughters Marilyn and Carolyn. When asked how lady luck smiled on him he said, “Deepika is again God sent who gave me love and care after my mother. Despite facing hostile in-laws we got married. After my mother, my wife stood by me at all times. And today she has given me what I call ‘the most precious gifts of life’-two lovely daughters Marilyn and Carolyn.”
Inspiration and Ideas
Inspired by Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Teresa, Ravi thinks that India is in the infant stage to join as a world media giant. “There is more than what catches the eye. We are big copy cats copying the western media. Real issues are neglected, ignored and hidden.” He said. He finds present state of political affairs to be pathetic and a dynastic political system with the rich & mighty becoming more richer and more powerful while the poor, more poorer and weak.
Ravi is a person of simple taste and high ideals. He loves reading Bible and watching discovery channel related to wild life during his leisure activity. His favourite dish is Rice with Sambhar with Pomfret or Prawns fry and favourite actor and actress are Amitabh Bachchan and Preity Zinta.
Being the Editor-in-Chief of NMTV and editing the real burning issues of the common helpless man is his most challenging job everyday. His idea of happiness is being satisfied with what we has and making the best use of it for others. He loves his special car most with the clutch & brakes, everything in his two hands. The car gives him the mobility and he is able to conduct so many of his VIP meetings in that instead of crawling upstairs.
Professionalism is most overrated virtue for him and he dislikes corporate virtues in others. He admires Nelson Mandela as a living legend but if he has to a take rebirth then he would like to be reborn as Ravi Subbaiah only.
Ravi has achieved which he dared to dream. Now he wants to give back to society what he has achieved. He is definitely a jewel and ambassador of compassionate humanism. He is a model which taught to the world that adversity is a challenge and at the same time an opportunity. He is an ignited soul who ignites dreams in other deserving soul. Helping others is his idea of happiness and preserving the fabric and harmony of society is his mission. Carry on Ravi the whole world is watching you to get an inspiration