riteshuttamchandani

Ritesh Uttamchandani (@riteshuttamchandani) /riteshuttamchandani
In 2014, accompanied by a colleague, I met Kalpana Saroj in her Ballard Estate office, a colonial structure that has many stories to tell, much like Saroj herself. Born into a Dalit family, her father was a police constable in Roperkheda, a village in Maharashtra. Saroj was married off at the age of 12 to a man in Bombay, ten years elder to her. “You are lucky, how will YOU ever get a boy from Mumbai?,” is what everyone told her. But the nightmare unfolded much quicker than she expected. She suffered abuse at the hands of her husband's family and was rescued by her father who brought her back home. Tired of being a burden on her family, she consumed three bottles of pesticide but was saved in time by her aunt. At 16 she came back to Bombay and worked in a garment workshop, living on 2 rupees a day. On the radio, Saroj heard of government finance schemes for scheduled castes and decided to take advantage of those. With great difficulty, she secured a loan and set up a tailoring boutique. Brick by brick, she also managed to buy a piece of land and constructed a building. She helped people of her own community get on their own feet by helping them find jobs or establish idol making workshops etc. In 1975, the workers of Kamani Tubes, went on a strike that lasted 114 days and sank the aristocratic company. The workers later took over the company but that was a complete failure and in 1998, Ramesh Bondkar, an employee approached Saroj to take over the company which was reeling under 116 crores in loans, 140 cases of litigation and torn apart by two labour unions. In no time, she put a team of 10 people and they worked twice as hard and pulled the company out of loans and back in shape. She is now on the board of the Bharaiya Mahila Bank, a bank for women. A well deserved appointment, for she is well aware of her long struggle to secure that one loan that changed her life. Two weeks ago, while walking around Fort, I chanced upon a book made by a famous cartoonist. It featured caricatures, accompanied with short profiles of leaders of India's corporate sector. I didn't buy the book for I was a bit bummed that it didn't feature a single woman.In 2014, accompanied by a colleague, I met Kalpana Saroj in her Ballard Estate office, a colonial structure that has many stories to tell, much like Saroj herself. Born into a Dalit family, her father was a police constable in Roperkheda, a village in Maharashtra. Saroj was married off at the age of 12 to a man in Bombay, ten years elder to her. “You are lucky, how will YOU ever get a boy from Mumbai?,” is what everyone told her. 
But the nightmare unfolded much quicker than she expected. She suffered abuse at the hands of her husband's family and was rescued by her father who brought her back home. Tired of being a burden on her family, she consumed three bottles of pesticide but was saved in time by her aunt. At 16 she came back to Bombay and worked in a garment workshop, living on 2 rupees a day.

On the radio, Saroj heard of government finance schemes for scheduled castes and decided to take advantage of those. With great difficulty, she secured a loan and set up a tailoring boutique. Brick by brick, she also managed to buy a piece of land and constructed a building. She helped people of her own community get on their own feet by helping them find jobs or establish idol making workshops etc. In 1975, the workers of Kamani Tubes, went on a strike that lasted 114 days and sank the aristocratic company. The workers later took over the company but that was a complete failure and in 1998, Ramesh Bondkar, an employee approached Saroj to take over the company which was reeling under 116 crores in loans, 140 cases of litigation and torn apart by two labour unions. 
In no time, she put a team of 10 people and they worked twice as hard and pulled the company out of loans and back in shape. She is now on the board of the Bharaiya Mahila Bank, a bank for women. A well deserved appointment, for she is well aware of her long struggle to secure that one loan that changed her life.

Two weeks ago, while walking around Fort, I chanced upon a book made by a famous cartoonist. It featured caricatures, accompanied with short profiles of leaders of India's corporate sector.

I didn't buy the book for I was a bit bummed that it didn't feature a single woman.source: https://www.instagram.com/riteshuttamchandani


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