In one of the biggest cabinet reshuffles Smriti Irani has lost her office of the HRD Ministry to Prakash Javadekar and has been given the charge of the Textile Ministry. Her political journey has been fraught with controversy, and her rise to one of the most prestigious ministries in the Indian cabinet, and consequent fall has been much in the news.
Irani was born in New Delhi in a normal Middle class family, she grew up in an environment not very luxurious and learnt the importance of money very early in life. When she was freshly out of High School she started earning Rs.200 by promoting a beauty brand.
She struggled most her life to support herself and her family but destiny had bigger plans for her. She participated in Femina Miss India in the 90’s and instantly fell in love with the glamour world. She got the biggest break in her career when she replaced one of the biggest stars of her time Neelam Kothari as the host of “Oh La La La” but what made her a household name was of course the long running soap‘Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi’. In 2001 Irani got married to businessman Zubin Irani and had two children with him.
We all know that many T.V stars and Film stars have contested elections and won some important seats in parliament but with Smriti Irani anything she did or said caught the fancy of media. She has always been a child of controversy; media has followed her since the first time she contested the national parliamentary elections for the BJP in 2004, losing to Congress party heavyweight Kapil Sibbal in a much-publicised battle for the Chandni Chowk seat. In the 2014 parliamentary election, Irani lost to Rahul Gandhi, the heir and hope of the opposition Congress party, but with a very narrow margin. It was then that she became a special favourite of PM Modi who introduced her as her sister and offered her the ministry of Human Resource Development.
Since 2014 when she took her oath as the HRD her career, her speeches, her letter and her Tweets all have been highly criticized, judged and trolled. One of the biggest controversies of her time as HRD minister was regarding her educational qualification. Not many believed in her leadership qualities and asked for proof stating that was the HR minister qualified and able enough to handle such a important ministry? She created an even bigger ruckus by stating that she has degree from Yale which turned out to be a weeklong certificate program from the highly esteemed U.S University. She has now become so used to her critics that she now bears her insults as a badge and states herself as an ‘Illiterate’.
Smriti’s way of dealing with the University heads, professors and students has often been trolled and criticized. People feared that the new education policy if planned by her would have Hindu-supremacist ideas in curricula and on campuses. She had to bear the heat for suspending three heads of colleges and universities who were forced to quit before their terms ended. However, one the other hand she also earned some praise for making it easy for students to attend technical institutes and formal school, she has set up a national ranking for colleges, easing the norms for universities to invite foreign faculty and promoting online courses. She has also worked hard to give maternity and childcare benefits for women pursuing PhDs.The biggest blow to her political career was the way she handled student protests at two universities against the hanging of two men convicted of assisting terrorists. When Irani’s ministry repeatedly intervened, it led to a series of events that finally ended in the suicide of a lower-caste PhD.
Smriti though always speaks up for herself in her interviews, “I am not a political Cinderella. I don’t need to be rescued. If I feel insulted, I stand up and speak for myself,” she said in an interview with the Times of India last year. Well her term as the Education Minister has finally ended and a new term, a new ministry has started we hope to see her do better things in her newly acquired seat. We wish power and luck to all women who are the best idols to inspire every girl who wishes to make it big in this new refined world.
Feature Image Credit: TheHindu.com