Coverage by Bhat Dittakavi of Variance.AI on “From slums to riches” by Kalpana Saroj at TEDXHydrtabad on 24th September 2017.
Next speaker is all about Indomitable and unbreakable spirit of a slum girl from Mumbai and her journey to riches.
I am a chairman of a big firm. I am also a social worker. I have gone to many countries. Every where I go, all over the world, they felicitate me.
Ambedkar’s house in France
In 2014, I attended a program in Paris. I went there to see the house of Baba Ambedkar in France. It was kept for sale. An IAS officer came with me. He advised us to tell the government to buy it. We cut short our onward hour and immediately returned to India. We filed the necessary paper work. It took six months and we could do nothing. Next government came. We were upset. I was director of an indian woman bank. I didn’t leave my hope. I kept on trying.
Meeting with PM Modi ji
I got appointment with PMO office in 2014. I told Modiji that Ambedkar studied from that house in Paris as student and completed 6 years of study in 2 years. I requested him to buy it. We don’t have an entity to give us money. He asked how much? 40 crores. He said consider we have bought it.
I felt so good that a prime minister listened and accepted. Neither I had to do any agitation or anything. Simple talk and he agreed.
After purchasing that house, in 2015 there was a program in Maharashtra and prime minister came. Everyone saluted him. He said this credit belongs to Kalpana Saroj. He said “We were sleeping. She woke us up.” Only Modiji could return the respect and credit. This is my privilege.
While receiving Padmasri
The same old is giving me Padma Sri and many awards. When I went to get, I remembered the childhood. I am daughter of police hawaldar. I am not on land as I was touching the sky when I knew I was getting award from the president.
To get till here, I took lot of pains.
I am a dalit. In terms of community, my life took up and down. I wanted to be a happy one. I wasn’t let to play or participate in plays. My grandfather was doing labor. I went to his work. I was thirsty. I was given water from the top into my hands. I felt bad I had to drink from the cup of my palm.
My marriage happened in childhood. My father said wait but the uncle said what’s the use of studies. They said girl at home is like poison at home. At 12 they got me married. I cried. Noone cared. This is the talk of society. I came to Mumbai. I was told I would be sent as daughter in law to Mumbai. Everyone was so happy. It’s Mumbai.
Then the reality was I ended up in Mumbai slums. It is our indian culture to cope up with. They didn’t know anything but hitting and swearing. I didn’t have phone to call my father. My father has seen me in pain. He took me home. He told me this is like a broken dream. Get back to school. I was hurt with my stay in six months in Mumbai. Friends said why did you get her back. This is not good. They brain washed my parents. Every one said I left the in-laws home. What do I do? I have become a burden. I took poison. Then doctor saved me. Even after my attempt, people didn’t change. What are you doing? If you died people say because of you, bad name happens to us.
They neither let me live not let me die. I decided to stand on my own feet. I told mom to send me to Mumbai. I couldn’t get government job as I didn’t complete my studies. I thought will find a job in a company there and live on my own. Question is how you send young girl to city alone. I told my mother I will go under train if she doesn’t send. They yielded.
Back to Mumbai
I went to my uncle on Dadar. I took the job as helper at Rs.2 per day. Eventually, I took a room and brought family. Them my sister got ill and died. I never wanted to lose my own sister. I didn’t have Rs.2000 to save her. I thought about it. I didn’t want others to lose their dear one. I looked for earnings. I took money from the government as loan. Started a business at Rs.50000.
Government could never give job to all. If anyone has problem, they came to me. There was a plot in trouble and they sold it to me for 1.5 lakhs. I took time to clear out the plot from litigation. One dalit woman has become a builder.
Janma bhoomi is village and karma bhoomi is Mumbai. Gundas warned me and I took it to police. Police advised me to have security. I told him to give me license for revolver. He said the process would be longer. I got license by 6pm the same day.
A factory in debt
I always wanted to remove people from troubles. A company’s workers came to us. They asked us not to let it close. This is the company that was made by Supreme Court to be run by the workers. Union got no direction. There were lot of raw materials lying. Banks gave loans. Sharad Pawar gave 16 lakhs. Yet, they couldn’t run well. After 1997, electricity and water got cut off. Workers came to me to save the company. I decided to help them. Just for the workers.
The takeover of the factory
I told them that I would take over the company. They said it is 16 crores loan company with 40 cases and don’t do it. It would suicidal to acquire it. I joined them from 2000 to 2006. I took care of supporting them through the legalities. I studied the inside numbers. Penalties and interest brought the loan to 16 crore. I went to the finance minister and told him about this company going under liquidation got to be saved. Please help. Please remove the penalty and interest. He even got the principle waived to my surprise.
I had to give money to workers. I was made chairman. I had to give dues to workers. Even bankers also shall be paid. Workers said give money immediately, not in years. All of them shared their troubles.
I came for these workers. I gave them their money with three months. I invited the home minister and handed the 8 crores money through him to workers. People called me Maa Bhavani that removed their obstacles.
Lack of Rs. 2000 killed my sister. I have now a capital of Rs.2000 crores and two streets are named after my firm.