Success Stories

Kalpana Saroj
The Unbreakable Woman ( CEO, Kamani Tubes)

Kalpana Saroj — First Woman Entrepreneur of India First, Kalpana Saroj today is the CEO of Kamani Tubes and currently she has personal assets worth $112 million and she is known as first women entrepreneur of India. Her journey is referred to as “ Slumdog Millionaire”. Yes, her story is unbelievable from a Dalit Child Bride to Multi Millionaire. She was born in Maharashtra Village and belongs to a Dalit Family. At that time, it was difficult for the girls to enjoy freedom, Independence and basic education. Moreover, the child marriage was very common. Girls were considered as a burden on the family and this was the reason they were married off at earlier age. Her father was a police constable and the one who sent her to local village school . Even being good in studies she became part of discrimination. It is the ugly truth of our Indian Society, that discrimination exists even today. Though, it is decreasing but it is still there. She Said — Being a Dalit Student, I was not allowed to participate in school functions. Also, the parents of other children used to scold their children for playing with me, visiting my house or even sharing food with me. Because of societal pressure she got marries at an age of 12 when she was a class 7 student. She used to live in slum in Mumbai with her husband and in laws. She was treated like maid after her marriage. She was beaten like hell. They starved her and made her like a walking corpse. When her father went to her after six months, he was not able to recognize her and he decided to take her back. She said that her marriage seems like death to her. With the help of her father, she was able to end her marriage. And after returning home, she tried to resume her studies but as usual self proclaimed judges in our society didn’t let her do it. Because of this her whole family was under pressure because they use to taunt them and put unnecessary comments on their decision. After all this scenario, she decided to end her life by consuming pesticides but she got caught and saved by her family members. No, doubt society builds very high pressure on you. They are not living for you, they are not living with you but they get affected by living of yours. But as we all know universe always has some other plans for everyone. By attempting suicide, she realised how important is her life. She decided to achieve something big. She convinced her parents to let her move to Mumbai at her uncle’s residence as there were no job opportunities in her village. She started her job at just 2 rupees in a garment factory. She mastered the art of operating sewing machine and became senior tailor and was able to get some good salary. Things were going on track but again she lost her sister because her family was not able to arrange money for her sister’s treatment. At that time, she realised the importance of money. She decided to do something big. She was not satisfied with her ordinary job because at that time of her sister’s treatment her job was not able to fulfill needs.Her mind took the decision of becoming an “Entrepreneur”. She heard about a government loan for scheme of dalits on radio. She applied for it and within few months she got the money. With this money, she started her business by installing some sewing machines and started working 16 hours a day. And this was not enough for her. With the profit from her business, she invested her money in some furniture business. She got married at the age of 22 to Samir Saroj, a businessman involved in steel furniture business and has two kids from this marriage — a son and a daughter. Her husband died at an earlier age. As a result, the marriage didn’t last long. One day, a man came to her with a proposal of buying his land at a price of 2.5 lacs. The land was caught in some legal troubles and he needed urgent money. She any how arranged the advance money of 1 lac and paid the remaining amount within few months. She fought the legal battle for land for around 2 years and finally got it cleared from all the issues. The price of the plot within some time shoot upto 50 lacs and it made her entry to the real estate and construction business. Impressed by her skills, the worker’s union of Kamani Tubes — approached her under massive debts and she took charge and with her entrepreneurship skills, the Kamani Tubes got back her on the track. Kamani Tubes — a meal generating company, was established in 1960 and was closed in 1985 due to conflict between management and worker’s union. In 2000, The worker’s union of Kamani Tubes approached her to run this company as they were not getting their wages from last 3 years. Initially, she was reluctant but the condition of 3500 workers compelled her to take this challenge. As she was able to relate with them. Within some time, Kamani Tubes started sailing smoothly to become a profitable company again. She is involved in various social welfare activities and has founded — Kalpana saroj foundation. Plus, she was awarded Padma Shri in 2013 in the field of Trade and Industries.Ninth Rajiv Gandhi award for Women Entrepreneurs in 2006. She is now recognised entrepreneur worldwide. And sometimes, she is considered as India’s First Women Entrepreneur.

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