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Self-reliance is the key says Dalit entrepreneur Kalpana Saroj



Kalpana Saroj an epitome of self-reliance has done trail blazing work for Dalit community and paved way for employment and equality. She is one of the most powerful and inspiring entrepreneurs in the country today, with a 750-crore firm. Her tale has motivated many others to overcome challenges and achieve their goals.


Being a Dalit woman, she has gone through a lot of caste-based discrimination. She said “after knowing that I am Dalit, people treat me like outcast, do not let me enter their houses”. India is plagued with ill mentality towards Dalit’s, they left us unemployed, domestic abuse, apathy and poverty. At the age of 18, Kalpana took loan and setup an NGO, where she recruited and employed Dalits, economically weaker and backward classes.


Saroj's life was similar to that of any other Dalit. She was born in Roparkheda, a small town near Akola in Maharashtra, in 1961. She was bullied at school and married off when she was 12 years old. Saroj recounts that it was the parents' responsibility to marry off their daughter girl; the women were expected to care for the family, the children, and the household.

married at the age of just 12 years and left to live with her husband in the slums of Mumbai. However, she was constantly going through physical abuse by her husband’s family members.


She left her husband after being rescued by her father which led to her being ostracized by society.


According to Kalpana, to treat these issues we need more and more of sensitization campaigns in all corners of the country. We must focus on addressing the unemployment crisis. Further, she believes that our country needs to overcome social hurdles like caste and gender-based discrimination.

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