She was pulled out of school and married off at the age of twelve to a 22-year-old man.She joined her husband in a Mumbai slum and was tormented by her in-laws. Fed with hunger and degradation, she returned to her parents in a State of poor health.She attempted for sucide too.Later,She worked for Rs. 2 per day.But now she is a CEO of a metal engineering company and heads a Rs.3 billion (Rs.300 crore/$60 million) business enterprise.meet Kalpana Saroj,winner of Rajiv Gandhi Award for Woman Entrepreneurs.
Early Life:-She was Born in a poor Dalit family.Her father was a police constable.She was was married off forcibly at the age of 12 to a man more than 10 years older to her.She joined her husband in a Mumbai slum and was verbal and physical abused by her in-laws.All this eventually led to a suicide attemp.
She returned back to her parents a year later.She tried joining the police force at age 13, but failed. Downcast, she tried her hand at nursing, tailoring and other odd jobs but only succeeded in antagonizing the villagers by these attempts ‘to step beyond her social boundaries’.Kalpana’s thirst for letters did not die and she joined school again and cleared her 9th standard.Conscious of the fact that her parental home is not the place where she could spend the rest of her life, she decided to turn into her own bread-winner. While her childhood friends went to colleges,she bought a sewing machine.She bore the insults for 10 years before leaving the rural slum in which her family stayed to come to Mumbai. Sheltered by her uncle, and later, by a benevolent Gujarati family, she unleashed herself on a long march. She joined a hosiery unit on a wage of Rs
two a day and began climbing the ladder of success. Impressed by her immeasurable energy and professionalism, her employer hiked her salary to Rs 400 a month.
Entrepreneur:- Finally, at 22, she left Ruparkheda for Mumbai. She married again, but in 1989, her husband died. All that she inherited was an ailing steel-cupboard manufacture business. By sheer dint of effort, the mother-of-two revived the sick firm. One thing led to another. The unit helped her to make ends meet and raise her two children. She even managed to put some money away. Saroj dabbled with politics, started a construction company.She entered the business in 1995, when she managed to clear encroachments and other claims on a piece of land. She bought the land with Rs 5 lakh saved up from the almirah business. In 1997, with the help of institutional finance, Saroj erected a residential and commercial complex at a cost of Rs 4 crore, and sold it for a tidy profit. Subsequently, she continued to ride the realty
boom. Ever since, Kalpana has not looked back.Along the way, she dabbled in the sugar industry, buying a stake in the Sai Krupa Sakhar Karkhana in Ahmednagar, and becoming a director on the board.
Biggest challeng: -Her biggest challenge came in March 2006 when her firm, Kalpana Saroj and Associates, took over the ailing Kamani Tubes and turned it around to a profitable enterprise. A brand leader in non-ferrous tubes, the company was started by Mumbai's well-known industrialist Ramji Kamani, a close associate of the country's first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, who visited the Kurla factory twice.However, a family discord affected the firm adversely. By 1975, it was on a downslide and was declared "sick" after the owners abandoned it.Later, a court allowed the workers' union to run the company.The experiment failed. By 1997, the company had run into debts of over Rs.1.6 billion (Rs.160 crore).Almost a decade later, in March 2006, as per a court directive, Kalpana Saroj and Associates were given charge of the company, its 560 employees and the total debt burden. Saroj took up the challenge.
According to Kamani Tubes Managing Director M K Gore, in an effort to boost employees' morale, she
cleared in one go Rs.850 million (Rs.85 crore) in salary arrears totted up over 17 years.It worked.Gradually, production resumed and touched 3,000 tonnes of non-ferrous tubes and pipes.
Business apart,Kalpana Saroj has keen interest in Education.All the year round more than 2000 students are benefited through services rendered by institutions sponsored by her which provide library, hostel and financial help to the needy students.Kalpana Saroj works actively for the up-liftment of the Adivasis, destitute children, aged and infirm. She took up the cudgel against racism and caste discrimination. Kalpana Saroj’s efforts for the up liftment of the downtrodden masses has been eulogized in the local as well as international press and Television time and again.