There’s a saying that when something bad happens you have three choices. You can let it define you, let it destroy you or you can let it strengthen you. It’s not easy living with a disability for life, what’s hard is the mindset of people judging on what you can’t do, rather than what you can do. Prejudice and inaccessibility in daily life can lead to prolonged depression in the person affecting his/her life, but some people are breaking the norms of disability into This-Ability.
Due to the efforts of the Indian government, India received Polio-free certification from WHO (World Health Organization) in 2014, saving the future generation of the country. But back in 1981, now an electrical engineer and owner of Shree Weltex Industry, Mr. Ketan Patel was infected by Polio leaving him disabled physically. Ketan’s father was a farmer who supported him well to be an engineer from KD Polytechnic College, Patan.
Creating a company like Shree Weltex wasn’t easy staying near Mehsana, Gujarat, so Ketan moved with his uncle to Baroda in 2005. Before going to Baroda, Ketan tried for a job for about a year but was always rejected due to his disability. Prejudice! For about two years he sold vegetables in his native village with a friend who had a similar condition. He finally got his first job in 2005 for about two thousand and five hundred rupees, from which he joined English-speaking classes.
Starting in 2010, Shree Weltex now exports its machinery to 12 countries which weren’t an overnight’s work. They manufacture and supply Fabric rolling machines, fabric cutting machines, fabric folding machines, fabric inspection machines, knitted fabric machines, and some advanced units for the machinery in various sizes. Despite everything, Ketan handles everything in the company including meeting clients, machinery inspection, and services. If someone outside the country faces any issues with the unit, Shree Weltex provides online assistance to them at any time of the day.
Before having 260 clients to keep the business running, Ketan faced a lot of difficulties with finances and experience. To gain more information about the industry, he used to visit different companies where he could see various machinery used for cutting the fabric which gave him an idea. He started to modify the machines as per the client's need the business picked up. Word of mouth is still the best marketing one can get, and it’s possible if you gain and fulfill the trust of the customer.
Shree Weltex was the first to have a monopoly in the modified fabric machinery business, with 260 clients and export in 12 countries, Ketan has manufactured and modified over 850 machines. ‘There weren’t many conflicts in the business due to his disabilities, but often on client visits the prejudice was a bit to handle, but when they saw the work, they would be astonished by it, their trust is my inspiration,’ says Ketan.
Inspiration is like the drug which makes you achieve anything you never thought of. With Shree Weltex, Ketan removed the gap in the textile industry as there was a demand for modified machinery but they weren’t available. Every business runs on the trust which a client puts in the company, here the customers are Ketan’s inspiration, they push him forward to break the societal norms about being disabled to being able to excel in the company. In return, he provides affordable machinery and reliable after-sales services whether day or night.
Talking about the government’s work in the country, Ketan remarks that it is difficult to believe in Make in India schemes seeing the inflation rate in India. Small businesses are quite affected by the pandemic and now inflation. How will one survive?
Being disabled shouldn’t bother a person as it’s beautiful with a lot to achieve out there. Helping others is a selfless deed, and Ketan aspires to help others with similar conditions so they don’t have to struggle through prejudice as he did. As a society one needs to understand that a person suffering from chronic disease doesn’t need your sympathy or disgust, they only need empathy. So, let's be empathic often!
TagsKetan Patel, Shree Weltex Industry, Inspirational Story, Indian Entrepreneur, Gujarat, India, News, Home