Defying all the stereotypes and breaking all the constraints, Sminu Jindal has redefined the term courage. Sminu, who lost the ability to walk at a very tender age of 11, did not stop and found the path she desired, giving mobility a different meaning and reached the acme of success, inspiring millions.
She was backed by her family at every stage of her life. Although, she never received any special attention and learnt to fend for all her needs by herself, it made her into a strong woman who could shape her own future.
Her association to the steel industry is deeply rooted in her family. As she turns the pages of her life for us, she says, “Everyone in my family spoke about steel all day and night; it was a natural progression for me. Not that everyone in the family got associated with steel but my fascination with all things technical made me believe I was born to do so. My family’s encouragement helped me strengthen my belief.” She used to look at her father and grandfather discuss, which slowly ignited the fire of making it big. Mere association with the business didn’t make her woman of steely resolve, her own experience and determination did.
Being a woman in the field dominated by men is difficult. It’s hard for people to understand that the technicalities can be learnt from books and gender has nothing to do with the work in the Oil, Steel and Gas sector. Women have to balance between works, family and sometimes forced to stop working temporarily for children and family. Thus when they return, they search for work with more challenges and opportunities, which a company fails to understand. Gender disparities are created as few companies understand the complexity of hiring women.
Fearless women, who decided to charter their own fate in a world that wasn’t used to seeing things differently, have always inspired Sminu. She draws her inspiration from personalities like Rani of Jhansi, Sarojini Naidu, Razia Sultana, Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit. Some of them are very well known and some of them not; like Sindhutai Sapkal, a social worker from Maharashtra who stated a great movement for education amongst women.
The challenges that women face in the current generation is bizarre considering the century we live in. Sminu has some strong opinions about women and women empowerment. When asked about her take on the Union budget and its benefits for women, she said, “We are currently unable to provide the basic amenities; women empowerment is a distant dream. We still are talking about no proper grievance cell for women who are abused physically and mentally. We still debate on whether women should wear jeans or not. Seriously, budget empowering women?”
Leadership can never be taught, it has to be inculcated. It is only possible when women are exposed to opportunities and learning experience that will carve their personalities. As we wound up our session and asked her for her advice to all the women who look up to her as a role model, she said, “I have always learnt- never to give unsolicited advice. I feel that each individual knows exactly what they want to do in life and are capable of chartering their own journey. As long as a person is comfortable in their skin with clear dreams, they will achieve what they are born for.”
Apart from spearheading the company, she is a dedicated soul with ‘Svayam’ her initiative for making difference to the lives of people in need.
A fierce dreamer and a proprietor of sharp intelligence, Sminu Jindal wishes for a world where women are more confident and don’t seek a validation for their dreams from the society.
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