If you see someone on a handicap vehicle with muscle rigidity talking in slurred speech what would be your first thoughts? Most would feel pity or sorry. But pity is the last thing you should feel. I met a bright entrepreneur here.
Vinayak Hegade or lovingly called Agarbatti Vinayaka was affected with cerebral palsy in childhood but Vinayak let nothing, right from illness, handicap to poor economic standards get in the way of him achieving his economic freedom. He is a smart chap, in the business of selling Agarbatti and other devotional needs for the past 13 years. He supplies these at the door step and remembers all his customer’s preferences. He has some clear views about economic freedom for all and he has a few nuggets of wisdom for the able bodied as well! Read on to know his story in his own words.
How did you start?
I wanted to do something on my own. I believed I should be independent. I wanted to deal in something that will be used daily, will not rot and won’t be too heavy on investment. Initially nobody helped me. I was dejected and went to the local temple. I asked for divine help from the goddess. This is when I found an initial investment for my business. I believed god helped me in my tough time, so I started the business of agarbatti (incense sticks), dhup and karpura business.
A friend showed me a wholesale store in Hubbali. I started getting it from there and was selling it on foot. I went door to door and sold these. I was not ashamed to work hard. My handicap cannot be a reason for me to fail.
Initially people ignored me, some considered me a beggar while a few were scared of me but I did not give up. This is my journey from an unknown to Agarbatti Vinayak
A reporter from local news Lokadhwani saw me selling door to door. He called me and clicked my picture. He asked me about my details and my background. I connected them to my mother and she answered their questions. Ashok Hasyagar was the reporters name and he got my article published the next day. I will be internally grateful to him. This proved to be a turning point for me as people in Sirsi started recognizing me. After this a few other papers also published my story. Prajavani, vijayvani, digvijay news, marikamba channel are few of the channels that have carried an article on me calling me Agarbatti Vinayak.
Cycle brand agarbatti connected with me after seeing the news. They called me and gave me dealership with no investment. This has been of great help. Looking at my efforts to be independent the Nagar Adhyaksha Pradeep Shetty allocated me a two wheeler for handicap, which has helped me grow my business.
Praises and Accolades
I am never ashamed of working hard and people recognize it. Today, though agarbatti (incense sticks) are easily available, people wait for me and buy it from me. If there are any regular yearly puja and celebrations, people inform me in advance to get their Pooja needs fulfilled from me. With the vehicle in my hand, I have now expanded my business beyond Sirsi to many nearby villages like Salkani, Onnekani, etc. Many doctors, banks, temples, local court, judge, staff, police, politicians are my regular customers today.
Initially things were not easy. Even if I could sell a product of Rs.10 it was a big deal. People were hesitant to deal with me. Some were scared of me because of my looks, others abused me or at times hit me when I went to sell the products. Those were dark times and I used to be extremely dejected.
Then there were some wonderful people as well like, a local TV network person saw me, spoke to me and assured me that things will turn for the best. He brought few agarbatti from me and appreciated that I was working to be independent. Those words boosted my confidence and I decided to try much harder. Another such customer once said “You are born to win.. you will win.. don’t leave your path. Your efforts will definitely bear fruits.” These motivations helped me stay on my path.
Moment of Pride
Today with my work, I can easily take care of myself and my mother. In 2012 my mother was detected with breast cancer. My uncle paid for the initial expenses and operation. I repaid the whole amount in the next few years. Today I am proud that we have no loans and I can take good care of my mother who has been my biggest motivator.
I cannot maintain accounts in writing. I mostly memorize it. Whatever amount I earn, I give a part of it to my mother for monthly expenses and the rest I save in bank and other investment options.
I wanted to learn and it gave me immense joy to go to school. I studied in a local school for differently abled. I learnt to hold the pen and calculate there. A government school would hold a parade near my house. I loved the parade and visit them every day. The principal there saw me and when they saw that I was interested in learning, they promised my mother to admit me in the school. I studied in the school till 8th Std . After that I failed and left school.
It was after this that I started my entrepreneurial journey.
For those who are handicapped I would say – Don’t be dejected with your shortcomings and stop brooding over it. Learn to be independent. Luck favors the brave. Instead of crying about things that we cannot do, focus on things we can do and do them well. If you are ready to work hard and with dedication, success will definitely be yours and I am testament to that.
Agarbatti Vinayak has some words for those who have been blessed with a healthy mind and body. There is no greatness in being a highly qualified individual who is unwilling to work. “Don’t waste time and be stubborn about a kind of job. Everyone has to start somewhere, so it’s important to start. There is dignity in any kind of work. Do not consider anyone’s work beneath you. “
26 Replies to “Agarbatti Vinayak- a bright star inspiring thousands”
So proud of this boy, Vinayak. He’s a living example of the fact that nothing can deter self motivation & determination. Kudos to him & a huge wow to all the people he met who went on to become pivotal in shaping his future. He’s a self made man, indeed.
Wow.. Thats such a touching and an inspirational sorry. We get dejected inspite of having all the wonders of life and he is sailing strong .. Thats the power of will wihcih is something i need to adopt
Such life stories are inspirational and gives us strength to deal with all life problems. Kudos to this man.
It’s an inspirational post and we all can learn tht nothing z impossible for a willing hand .
Totally inspired by this blog post. Keep writing 😊
Vinayak proved that if you’ve will of doing something then nobody can stop you from doing it. Even after being handicapped and disrespected by people he didn’t give up and earned his living. Vinayak is an inspiration for people. Keep sharing such inspirational blogs.
The story is so inspiring and motivating, the attitude this guy carries reflects his road to where he is now.
I mean…these people are real heros…the post is so inspirational….I feel so motivated after reading this ! Thanks for sharing this one!
Such inspirations are legendary. He has proved if you wish you can and one should never give up.
This is such an inspiring and strong story of Vinayak..I wish him more power and make him achieve all success!
This is a super inspirational story. I am extremely touched by Vinayak. He is a living example and a powerful person by heart. I love reading such real-life stories. it is a brilliant read. Thanks for sharing.
Much respect to Mr.Vinayak. An incredible and inspiring human being.Salute
This is such an emotional and an inspirational story. It is all hard work that he has achieved such a feat. Really touched and proud.
This is an inspiring story of Vinayak. Thanks for sharing with us Neha. More power to him.
This is so inspiring! I am amazed by Vinayak’s will and determination to do something despite all odds. Truly shows the biggest handicap is our mind because if one has the will, one will find a way! Kudos to him! hats off!
What I really liked about him is how he is so head strong and keeps himself motivated through tough times!
Very inspiring and see no work is big or small. Agarbatti sticks are sold in big brands at crazy prices whereas the small scale businessmen do not get anything.
The most important takeaway from his story is that whatever hurdles we face are only in our minds and no work is small. Truly an inspiration.
This is such an inspiring story. Really he is such a shining star.
This is super inspiring. His story proves that nothing is impossible if one has the right determination. Wish him luck and success for future
He is an great inspiration for all of us. Thanks for sharing his story with us
So happy to read about Vinayak. Indeed people like him with sheer determination and motivation go ahead in life.
This was such an inspiring read. Some people just shine inspite of all odds.
This is an inspirational story of this boy Vinayak. Great to know about him.
Such stories motivated so much in life . He is such an inspiration..
ಒಳ್ಳೆ ಶ್ರಮಜೀವಿಗಳು ಎಲ್ಲರಿಗೂ ಮಾದರಿಯಾಗಿದ್ದಾರೆ ಜೈ ವಿನಾಯಕ್