Author… environmentalist… research scholar. Sibiraj Murugesan from Chennai is an undergrad at Shoolini University, who has gone above and beyond academics. Through his heartwarming children’s novel ‘The Tale of Hope’, Sibiraj addresses an issue close to his heart — muscular dystrophy. With this touching narrative, he has enlightened young minds and brought into focus the challenges that the affected children have to battle daily, thus bringing inclusivity and self-acceptance to its young readers.
Through relatable characters, including those from the animal kingdom, like cows and cockroaches, he masterfully weaves a tale that encourages self-acceptance and empowers young readers to break free from their mental constraints from a tender age.
During his time as a Shoolini volunteer at the Indian Association of Muscular Dystrophy (IAMD), Sibiraj was profoundly moved by the enthusiasm and zest for life displayed by the children affected by muscular dystrophy. This ignited in him a deep desire to create a positive impact in their lives. Discovering a significant gap in children’s literature for the community, he crafted a compelling picture book that weaves together simple yet powerful characters to teach the virtues of self-acceptance.
Sibiraj acknowledges the support of Atul Khosla, the founder and Vice Chancellor of Shoolini University, whose funding played a crucial role in bringing ‘The Tale of Hope’ to life. He also appreciates Poonam Nanda, the Dean of Student Welfare, for believing in his vision and encouraging him.
He has pledged to donate all proceeds from the book to the IAMD. ‘The Tale of Hope’ is available on Amazon in various countries, including India, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, France, Italy, and Japan.
In addition, Sibiraj is passionate about environmental research and is investigating biochar’s potential and its application in wastewater treatment. “I am working on decolourisation and detoxification of azo dyes using Biochar synthesised from a novel material (areca catechu). If I succeed, we could treat the textile wastewater more effectively and economically feasible, protecting our surface and groundwater resources,” he explained.
His love for the environment comes from his grandparents, who were organic farmers. Growing up in the bustling city of Chennai, he was driven by the desire to find solutions for pollution. His professors too encouraged him to undertake this significant research endeavour. Though unsure of his capabilities to take on such a substantial project at first, his doubts were dispelled by the assurance and warmth of his mentors.
Sibiraj inspires everyone, showcasing that hard work and dedication can significantly impact society and the environment, slowly changing our world.