From… Paper Boy to Professor
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From… Paper Boy to Professor

April 7, 2021

Meet Dr. Shiv Kumar, who has climbed the ladder of success despite all odds

By Shyam Sundar Vattam 

It was somewhere in March-April 2002, a boy who was working as a DTP Operator in a local Kannada daily, was composing the news item of a second rank holder of MBA (Master of Business Administration) course from University of Mysore (UoM). Suddenly, it flashed him, “Why shouldn’t I?”  But the enthusiasm died down when the pictures of poverty passed before his eyes.

Having discontinued studies nearly seven years ago, joining the college was like a big dream. With support from family, it was his friends who stood behind him and encouraged him. Despite a roller-coaster drive, the boy finished his Post-Graduation in flying colours. 

That boy Shiv Kumar is now serving as an Assistant Professor in the Department of MBA at Maharaja Institute of Technology (MIT), Mysuru. He may have grown academically, but he hasn’t forgotten the past when he strove hard even to eat a meal a day.

“If not for financial support from Vattam Thatha (veteran journalist late Krishna Vattam), Mahanand Sir and great support from Srikanth, I would not have been able to achieve my goal. If I am educated and have got a job in a reputed institution, it is because of my urge to do something. A person must be insulted and mocked at, then only he will take it as a challenge and achieve”, Shiv Kumar told Star of Mysore without mincing words.

Hailing from a middle-class family, Shiv Kumar is the eldest of three sons to his parents Cheluvegowda and Sannamma, residents of B.M. Shrinagar. All three children studied at St. Matthia’s School, thanks to his parents who were working in the school. His father worked as KSRTC driver for a brief stint.

After completing SSLC in 1995, Shiv Kumar joined Diploma in Mechanics. He studied for one year and dropped out as his parents could not afford the fees. Then he joined as carpenter at a handicraft-making unit where he was given a daily wage of Rs. 5. He worked in the same place for the next 2-3 years but with a hiked wage of Rs. 400.

In the meantime, his close friend, Srikanth, who worked as Teleprinter Operator in a Newspaper, advised him to attend typing class. However, Shiv Kumar quit the carpenter job after it affected his health condition. 

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Srikanth again came to his help and asked him to work as Newspaper distribution boy. He started working as a Paper Boy in 1998 by distributing various newspapers in the morning and Star of Mysore in the evening,  in Vijayanagar, Gokulam and other areas. This fetched him Rs. 300 per month.

As the income was not sufficient, Shiv Kumar explained this to his close pal, Srikanth who along with another friend, Chandrashekar, got him a job in Mysore Tarpaulins. But, he hardly worked there for one or two months. At that time, Mahanand, who was running a small advertisement firm, offered him a job with a monthly salary of Rs. 500. This additional income came as a big relief for him to support his family. 

During this time, a new local Kannada daily was started and he joined there as a DTP Operator. At the same time, another journalist from Mysuru offered him a job in the Technical Department of a Kannada TV Channel and asked him to attend a meeting in Bengaluru. Even after two meetings, he did not get offer letter. Later, he came to know that the company owner rejected his application since he was just SSLC pass. 

Then, he continued to work in a Kannada daily as DTP Operator. One day, while he was typing the news of a girl who had scored second rank in MBA, an idea flashed through his mind, “Why can’t I?” But the next question was, “How can I?” as he had quit studies seven years ago and there was none to guide him. 

When he shared his wish, most of his friends encouraged him to take up studies. But he didn’t have TC or any document to directly sit for 2nd PU examination from Maharaja’s PU College. At this juncture, two senior scribes, Amshi Prasannakumar and Dayashankar Maili, helped him in getting those documents and paid the exam fees with penalty. After passing 2nd PU, his urge for pursuing higher studies increased. He got a seat for B.Com course in Kuvempu Trust College. When he informed this to an editor of Kannada daily, Krishna Vattam (Vattam Thatha) gave him Rs. 1,000 to pay fees. And this financial help continued till he completed Post-Graduation.

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Due to stress, he took a break from paper distribution but continued to work as DTP Operator. During break, he took to teaching computer to children for which he was paid a small amount. He scored over 80 percent marks in final B.Com. 

Then, Shiv Kumar was in a dilemma whether to study M.Com or MBA. He joined MBA course in GSSS in 2006 and once again faced problems to pay fees. The College CEO Suresh Rao helped him to get the education loan from a Bank. After passing MBA, he was without job for nearly six months due to recession. At this time, he took the computer classes at his friend’s place. He also worked as Documentation Officer at Shikshana Foundation, Kanakapura and subsequently in the Labour Department on contract basis. In July 2011, he got a job offer as lecturer from the Department of MBA, Maharaja Institute of Technology. Along with teaching, he completed M.Com from Karnataka State Open University (KSOU) and cleared UGC NET.

He applied for Ph.D Degree in Management in 2016 on the subject ‘Work-Life Balance of Journalists in Media Industry’ under the guidance of Dr. M. Shivalinge Gowda, Department of Management, Vidyavardhaka Research Foundation, Vidyavardhaka First Grade College (VFGC) Campus, Mysuru  and completed his thesis in 2021, a delay of almost one year, due to Corona pandemic.

Pursuing his passion in acting, Shiv Kumar acted in a short movie ‘Rayabhari’, a story on the plight of a farmer. Also, he learnt dance and started a Dance School to help students learn performing arts. “I have pedalled for almost 11 years (from 1995 to 2006). I haven’t bought a two-wheeler. But I am using the bike left behind by my deceased younger brother,” he sighs. 

Dr. Shiv Kumar, presently working as Assistant Professor, Department of Management Sciences, MIT, Mysuru, will receive the Ph.D Degree in Management at the next Convocation of University of Mysore.

5 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “From… Paper Boy to Professor”

  1. Arun says:

    Congratulations and all the very best. You sure are a role model for many.

  2. A V Prasanna says:

    Where there is a will, there is a way. Congrats to Dr. Shivkumar for being a role model to reach this level after undergoing hardships in life. It is a lesson to all the teens, who can come up in life after having good education.

  3. Mohan says:

    Great and Inspiring Person

  4. Raghavan says:

    Very inspiring story! We need people like Shiva Kumar as well as his supporters who never showed the divinity in identifying the right person and uplifting him at the correct moments! Kudos to Dr Shiv Kumar!
    His struggle points out at another serious flaw of our society . Our Government and institutions also support the so called ‘poor’ and ‘deserving’ candidates for their education but somehow majority of them neither poor nor deserving! I remember my student days in 1980’s when being a high school teacher’s son was considered ‘Rich’ by government standards, had to pay the full fees for the engineering college taking loan, and could not even to own a bicycle , some of my so called ‘poor and well deserving’ friends as per our society got the full fee exemption and all the support they never needed! well, In their defense, I could say they never kept the money given by the government themselves! They promptly returned it to the economy by spending it on parties and boozing!

  5. prasanna says:

    Congratulations Dr. Shiva Kumar. Your drive to succeed was quite visible when you were with us. Very happy to see your success today and may you continue to motivate others to reach their goals. Prasanna CEO, Sikshana Foundation


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