Updated: Apr 8
By Sudarshan Pukale
Contributing Author for Spark Igniting Minds
Nirmala Sitharaman was born in a middle-class Tamil Brahmin family in Madurai. Her father worked in Indian Railways and hence she was able to live in various parts of the state during her childhood. She had her schooling done from Madras and Tiruchirappalli. She obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics, a Master of Arts degree in economics and M. Phil. from Jawaharlal Nehru University. The foundation of discipline was laid down by her father whereas her mother laid down the foundation of love for books.
A big sacrifice
During her college days, she met Mr. Prabhakar, later with whom she got married. After her M. Phil. she enrolled for a Ph.D. in economics with a focus on Indo-European trade. But, there came a point wherein she had to make a big sacrifice. Her husband secured a scholarship at the London School of Economics and had to take her along with him to London. This was a big sacrifice especially for a woman who wants to build her career based upon her high qualifications. But, she sacrificed her studies for her husband that made her unable to complete her Ph. D.
Her journey was not that easy when she went to London. Most of the time a very well qualified person who has done her Masters won’t be ready to do any work below their qualification. But, at times in order to take care of the cost of living one has to begin at a low level also. So she began her career as a salesperson in London although being overqualified for the job. Later, she served as an assistant to an Economist in the Agricultural Engineers Association in the UK. Her firm determination helped her to quickly find work that best suited her qualification and cadre. After some time she got a job as a Senior Manager (R&D) for Price Waterhouse Coopers which is one of the Big 4 accounting firms in the world. She also served as a member of the National Commission for Women.
Continuously works on Self-development
Belonging to a South Indian family, she is aware of her shortcomings in the Hindi language. But, she always tried to continuously develop herself in all the areas of life. With the right approach and a learning mindset, she managed to gain proficiency in the Hindi language.
She is a lover of classical music and has a collection of Lord Krishna's songs. To maintain a balance between personal and professional life, she feels what is most important is the support of the family.
Practices Equanimity – An important life principle from Bhagavad Gita
Equanimity is a very important principle laid down in Bhagwad Gita by Lord Krishna. Being well versed with the spiritual scriptures she always chooses the middle path and tries to practice equanimity in her daily life. The principle of equanimity means “never go to any extreme – don't be too suppliant because you will lose your dignity nor be too overconfident and aggressive or you will eventually lose your ground. Remain balanced. That way you can never fall too far.”
The Jawaharlal Nehru University conferred her Distinguished Alumni Award in 2019. Forbes Magazine named her as the 34th among the 100 most powerful women in the world in 2019.
Hard work pays back
Sitharaman joined BJP and was appointed as a party spokesperson. As a party's spokesperson, she defended BJP in every situation and praised party leaders including are Narendra Modi, on the national media. She played a very important role during the Lok Sabha elections of 2014. She successfully projected Narendra Modi as a future prime minister of India.
Due to her excellent work, she became a popular political face. Her dignified personality and outspoken views helped her to climb up the political ladder very swiftly.
Her hard work paid back abundantly in the following two ways:
1. On 3 September 2017, she was appointed as Minister of Defence, being only the second woman after Indira Gandhi to hold the post, but the first full-time female Defence Minister.
2. On 31 May 2019, she was appointed as the Finance and Corporate affairs minister. She is India's first full-time female finance minister.
She is successfully contributing to the development of the country.
About the Author
Sudarshan Pukale is a Chartered Accountant, Entrepreneur, Keynote Speaker, Corporate Trainer, a Business Consultant and the author of 'The Great Success Formula'.
He is a versatile speaker who expresses on a wide range of topics, viz, great success principles from Bhagavad Gita, inspiration, leadership, management and more.
Check him on his website www.sudarshanpukale.com