Kalpana Saroj – The Original Slumdog Millionaire

If you give your heart and soul and never give up, things can happen for you.”

Kalpana Saroj (1961) is a female Indian entrepreneur and a Tedx speaker who is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Kamani Tubes in Mumbai, India. She was born to a poor Dalit Buddhist family in a small Roperkheda village in Maharashtra, India. Married at the age of 12, she shifted to Mumbai slums with her husband’s family where she was verbally, physically, and emotionally abused by her in-laws. Her father resaved her and decided to bring her back to the village. She tries joining Police, nursing school an even military but failed. She attempted suicide by consuming three bottles of pesticides after being disliked by the villagers but got saved by her aunt who rushed her to the local hospital. The failed suicide attempt made her stronger, recharged, and empowered.

At the age of 16, she moved back to Mumbai to live with her uncle and started with a job at a garment factory as an assistant tailor for just 2 per day. Using Mahatma Jyotibai Phule government scheme for scheduled caste people she successfully started tailoring business and then a furniture store. Later she built up a successful real estate business. Impressed with her entrepreneurship skills, the workers union of Kamani Tubes approached her to take charge to get the company back on track. When the company went into liquidation in 2001, she was on the board of Kamani tubes and after taking over the company, she restructured it and brought it back to profit. Now she is the CEO of Kamani tubes and leads a 3 billion (300 crores) business enterprise with a personal asset worth $112 million. She is a true example of Slumdog Millionaire. In 2013, he was awarded the Padma Shri in the field of Trade and Industries and the 9th Rajiv Gandhi award for women entrepreneurs in 2006.

Life lesson – Her life is truly a story of rags to riches that motivates us to reach our goals. As appropriately said, “What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.” We all make mistakes in our life but true winners learn from them. They consider their failures as a stepping stone and not a stumbling block to success. They learn from their experiences which makes them a better and stronger person. Adversity makes them tough and helps to make sense of their own life. Research has also revealed that adversity brings us closer to our goals, makes us mentally, emotionally and physically strong, strengthen us to tackle the situation in a more creative way, encourages us to appreciate even small blessings, prepares us to accept the worst, makes us emphatic rather than sympatric and offers meaning to our life.

Digital Editor

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