Thursday, November 19, 2015

Kalpana Saroj: HRX Heroes with Hrithik Roshan (5th Episode)

Image Source: Facebook Page of HRX Brand
The inspiring story of Kalpana Saroj about her journey from a child bride, who suffered physical / emotional abuses, to a celebrated entrepreneur makes the 5th episode of HRX Heroes with Hrithik Roshan very special. We have lot of girls in our country, who have to suffer physical as well as emotional abuses in marriage. Many compromise for the society’s sake, many end their lives when it becomes unbearable, or many head for divorce. Here is the story of Kalpana Saroj, who was not ready to succumb to the turbulent conditions, she not only fought with the turbulence of her lives, but also made her own identity in the society as an entrepreneur and did not shy away from taking a second plunge into domestic bliss.  

Hrithik begins the episode with a beautiful thought that struggles or challenges are synonyms of life. A girl who had to struggle at her every step, who was from a poor family, victim of child-marriage and societal pressures, changed her fate with her efforts and that is Kalpana Saroj.

Kalpana Saroj was born in a Dalit family in Vidarbha and used to live with her constable father and other family members in the police quarters. Being a Dalit child, she had to face the discrimination at school and colony. Elders in the colony used to stop their children from playing along with Kalpana and her siblings. Even in school, teachers used to make her sit apart from other students. Although she was a bright student, she was constantly prevented from participating in extracurricular activities.

Child marriage being a norm in Dalit families, her relatives kept on convincing her father to get her married off after age 10. Although her father had emancipated views and wanted her to continue with studies, but had to yield to the pressure of relatives and got her married off at age twelve. Her groom was from Mumbai. The name ‘Mumbai’ was sufficient for the family to fix up the match, did not feel the need to do any background checking.

At age 12, she was responsible for all the household works at her in-laws’ place. She was brutally abused physically even for small things. She was not given proper food. Oh, what an ordeal for a twelve year child. Her father when visited her after a span of six months, could not bear to see his fragile and bruised daughter. He just brought her back home. Kalpana was choked with emotions when she was narrating about domestic violence.

In our society, it is often looked down upon girls who leave their husbands’ house and come back home. And the same was the case with Kalpana also. She was constantly taunted by the acquaintances and relatives about the shame she brought to her family, community and society at large by daring to return from her in-laws’ place.

When she felt that she was unable to take more contempt, she attempted to commit suicide by consuming poison. Although critical, doctors saved her. Once she opened her eyes, she felt that she was no longer going to waste the second chance at life which she had got. And she wanted to live her life.

Image Source: Discovery Channel

After convincing her parents, she moved to Mumbai to her uncle’s house, and picked up tailoring job. She even took loan to start her tailoring business. She brought her family members to Mumbai after her father lost the job. She rented a small room and stayed with her parents and siblings.

She was the only earning member of her family, which was not sufficient for the whole family. Many days, they had to face hunger. Her sister fell ill, and due to lack of money for treatment, she dies. He sister wanted to live who kept crying to save her. This tragedy gave her one of the biggest realization that money is important for survival. That is when she decided to earn money and started working for almost sixteen hours a day.

After exploring government schemes, she applied for loan and with that small amount, she started a furniture business. Her tailoring also continued. Financial situation was improving. She also started a small NGO, where she shared knowledge about the various government loans and schemes available to people so that they could also pursue their dreams.

Kalpana was exploring different business opportunities as well and that is when coincidently a proprietor of a litigation locked land at a prime location came to her to sell this property, he needed 2.5 lakhs. Kalpana managed to give him some money and then her struggle started to get the property ownership, which continued for two years. Once the land was clear, Kalpana chose a Sindhi partner who agreed to invest and she entered real estate business. Because of her social work and attempt to enter into real estate business, she also had to face death threats from local goons.

Her pursuit continued. The workers of Kamani Tubes (a sick company with almost 140 litigation company with a debt of Rs. 116 crores, its ownership was given to the workers union due to conflict between the legal heirs by the Supreme Court) requested Kalpana to save their company. The company was almost to be liquidated. Though Kalpana felt incompetent, her thought to save starving families prompted her to take up the challenge. In her words, she had nothing to lose.

An incredible journey began from there. Right from negotiating with the banks to requesting the then Finance Minister to grant some relief in bank loan, she successfully brought the company out of its low phase after an attempt of 6 years. Later, she was appointed as chairman of the company and even the ownership was transferred to her by the court.    

Today Kamani Tubes is Rs. 112 million empire which is growing further under her leadership and ownership. She also married for the second time and is blessed with children.

In Kalpana’s words, it is very important to know self, and then the journey becomes easy.

Cast: Taruna Singh (Kalpana Saroj), Priyanka Sekhawat (Kalpana of 14 years old), Manju Raizada (Mother), Vijay Shukla (Father), Sandhya Kute (Aunty), Anil Raj (Uncle), Abha Bhandari (Mother-in-law), Rani Sinha

Kudos to the whole cast who have made the dramatic reconstruction of the events so much touching. Both Priyanka and Taruna, as the young and adult Kalpana respectively have portrayed her character with so much credibility.

Words of wisdom which Hrithik conveyed during the show:

On her surviving the suicide attempt: Jindagi ka sabse bada dar hota hai maut and Kalpana ke man se maut a dar nikal chukka tha… she was fearless now.

On losing her sister: She stood firm even after the biggest tragedy of her life. She decided not to look back, rather decided to move ahead.

Kalpana’s motto: Tough times don’t last, but tough people do.

On Kalpana’s pursuit of business diversification: Growth can not happen from place of security.

Summing up Kalpana’s journey: The best way to predict your future is to create it. You can make your dreams come true.

Sharing the story of Kalpana Saroj, the original Slumdog Millionaire, who had to face discrimination against being an untouchable child, a victim of child marriage, bearing domestic violence by her in-laws. She decided not to confine herself within the shackles of society, she dared to dream, started from tailoring. An incredible entrepreneurial journey to own Kamani Tubes Limited. Grand Salute to this great woman Kalpana Saroj, HRX Hero.

Please catch up with the repeat telecast of this episode on 21st November, 2015 at 8 PM only on Discovery Channel in the show HRX Heroes with HrithikRoshan.