Kalpana Saroj: Slumgirl to India’s top business icon

In the heart of the Vidarbha region in Maharashtra, where dreams often succumb to the harsh realities of poverty, emerged an extraordinary tale of resilience and triumph. Kalpana Saroj, once an illiterate girl relegated to spreading cow dung, defied destiny to become the proud owner of a conglomerate worth Rs 700 crore.

At the tender age of 12, Kalpana’s life took an unexpected turn when she was married off to a man ten years her senior in Mumbai. Within two years, she found herself abandoned and returned to her maternal home, where her only occupation was menial tasks like applying cow dung. Overwhelmed by despair, she contemplated suicide but, guided by a close relative, resolved to turn her life around.

By the age of 15, Kalpana relocated to a distant relative’s house in Mumbai, where she started sewing clothes. As her venture gained traction, she expanded, employing more women and establishing a successful boutique. Buoyed by her daring spirit, she ventured into the beauty and restaurant industries, transforming her life and comfortably supporting her family back in Vidarbha.

However, the turning point came when Kamani Tube, an old company shuttered by a Supreme Court order, sought revival. Displaying unwavering courage, Kalpana stepped forward, declaring her intention to lead the charge in resurrecting the company. With the collective support of the employees, she tirelessly immersed herself in understanding every facet of the business over 8-10 years, steering it towards success.

Kalpana Saroj, now the proud owner of a business group comprising eight enterprises with an impressive turnover of Rs 700 crore, epitomizes the triumphant fusion of courage, hard work, and dedication. Her remarkable journey, from the struggle of applying cow dung to receiving accolades such as the Rajiv Gandhi Award and Padmashree, stands as a beacon of inspiration for those seeking to transcend adversities and carve their path to success. Kalpana Saroj’s narrative is a testament to the indomitable human spirit and the transformative power of unwavering determination.

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