Anand Pandey, an engineer from Sultanpur village, Uttar Pradesh, did not want to be part of the rat race and decided to earn his living through his innovations. Now, at the age of 31, he has won a couple of awards while also earning in lakhs.
“I have always been interested in experiments. My mother often tells me how I would always do something with electric bulbs and other appliances as a kid. As a result, I got many electric shocks too,” Anand says with a hearty laugh.
He adds, “The reason I have always been in the top ranks is because of my interest in education and my parents’ support. They would wake me up as early as 4 am and make me tea. I would study and then go to school.”
Hailing from humble beginnings, Anand’s father is a farmer and his mother is a housewife. There was a time when they would not have enough food to eat and would sleep on empty stomachs.
Studying hard to secure the highest rank in his government school, Anand secured the first place in Class 5, which was a board exam then.
After completing his Class 12, Anand then prepared to join IIT but failed and then joined Rajarshi Rananjay Sinh Institute Of Management & Technology for electronic and communication engineering.
As he was interested in learning new subjects and innovating, he took up a couple of training sessions to hone his skills. He went to Robosapiens India company in Greater Noida to learn how manual robots work and then went to I Square IT Pune for some training. At the end of his course in 2013, he managed to build a manual robot and also a model of a driverless metro train. He stood first in his final practical exam in engineering.
Anand was also awarded the Innovation Award for the metro train by the then-Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav in 2015. Moreover, his innovation was also covered by Doordarshan. He was also invited several times by the TV network to speak as an innovator.
“The award gave me hope that I can do great things in the field of innovation. I got so interested in innovation that I did not look for a job. My mother kept urging me to take up a job because the family’s financial condition was not good. However, I was determined to build my career in the field of innovation and not to settle for anything less,” shares Anand.
Anand remembers the days when his parents had no money to pay Rs 30,000 for his college fees and had to borrow money from a villager. “She didn’t find any transport to reach the college bank so she walked 8 kilometres from our home to the bank to pay the fees. It was raining heavily,” Anand recalls, as his eyes fill up with tears.
Creating Future Innovators
In 2014, he started a training centre in Lucknow to train other engineering students to innovate. It is a summer training course that runs for three months during summer vacation. In his first batch, he managed to gather eight students. Before the lockdown, he had 85 students from Uttar Pradesh and Delhi. This earned him Rs 2.5 lakh per session.
Moreover, he also invented a bag that can be converted into a chair. This also earned him huge sums of money. He has managed to sell 1,000 bags so far, with each bag costing Rs 850.
Today, he is often invited for guest lectures in various engineering colleges, including IITs where he receives an honorarium. “I could not get admission in IIT but now I am invited as a guest lecturer. It is because I worked hard on myself to learn and experiment with various innovations,” says Anand.
As his training centre was shut during the lockdown, Anand thought of inventing a low-cost machine that can make laddus. “I happened to observe how a mithai wala makes laddus. They were making mithai with little to no concern for hygiene. Their sweat was dripping into the sweets and their hands were not clean. So I thought of making a hygienic and low-cost laddu-making machine that every sweet vendor could afford,” says Anand.
His research showed him that there were a few similar machines available in the market but they were very expensive — costing more than Rs 8 lakh. In the span of one year, Anand managed to make a machine that cost about Rs 3 lakh, including taxes. This was after deducting the cost to manufacture.
“My workers and I were happy when we finally made a working prototype after numerous trials. We celebrated the success with a small feast,” adds Anand. The machine can produce a quintal of laddus in one hour. He invested about Rs 4 lakh and received a grant of Rs10 lakh from the State Government to make the machine.
He made the machine in Kanpur but launched it in his village in Sultanpur so that other children could find inspiration and work hard to do something different in life. He has already received 20 orders for the machine from Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Jaipur, Haryana and other states.
Anand is currently making improvements to the machine so that it can make rotis and puris too.
So far, Anand has received many accolades and awards. Apart from the award for the driverless metro train model, he has won the Guest of Honour award from BrainFeed magazine in the field of innovation and the Innovator Promotion award from the Department of Science and Technology, Uttar Pradesh Government in 2015. He has also received the Innovation Award in 2016 for inventing green energy from speed breakers.
“The country that fails to innovate either gets destroyed or becomes a slave for others. I have failed many times in my innovations but I did not lose hope. All the engineers out there should be stubborn to do something different and better in the field of innovation instead of getting a job and living an unaccomplished life,” says Anand, who adds that he was always inspired by A P J Abdul Kalam.
His plans include setting up a lab for engineers to come and innovate, hoping that India will soon become “sone ki chidiya (golden bird)”.
(Edited by Yoshita Rao)