With the recent cabinet reshuffle of the Modi government making news since the last few days, all the news channels have been projecting the new defence minister as the first full time women defence minister, well it might be true as Indira Gandhi was having additional charge of defence ministry as PM. It’s only her ability and her hard work that put her in the place she is now.
Nirmala Sitharaman is now heading world’s third-largest defence force, which has 1.4 million personnel.
So, Lets take a look into the early life and achievements to know her more and better.
Nirmala Sitaraman, born on August 18, 1959 in Madurai hailing from a middle class Tamilian family. Her father is a Railway employee and mother is a house wife. Due to her father’s job, she spent her childhood in different parts of Tamil Nadu. After completing her graduation in economics from Seethalakshmi Ramaswami College, Trichy, Sitharaman went to JNU to finish her master’s. She also had a PhD in Indo-European textile trade.
After getting married to Parakala Prabhakar,also a JNU graduate, she moved to London, where she worked as a Senior Manager at Pricewaterhouse Cooper. The couple has a daughter. She even worked at BBC World Service for a while before returning to India in 1991.
Sitharaman served as a deputy director of the Centre for Public Policy Studies in Hyderabad. She also started a school in Hyderabad. Under the government of Atal Bihari Vajpayee she was made as a member of the National commission for Women (NCW).
She joined the BJP in 2006 even as her husband Dr. Parakala Prabhakar joined the Prajarajyam party floated by filmstar Chiranjeevi in 2007.While her husband grew disillusioned with Chiranjeevi’s party and felt the need to quit the PRP that spoke of social justice. In the early 2000s, Dr Prabhakar was the spokesperson of the Andhra Pradesh unit of the BJP. She was made a BJP spokesperson in 2010.
As BJP took charge in 2014, Nirmala was sworn in as Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Ministry of Commerce & Industry. She also handled the Ministry of Finance and corporate affairs before this recent cabinet reshuffle. She Contested and won a by-election to the Rajya Sabha from the state of Andhra Pradesh.
According to IANS, after taking oath as the defence minister, she said,
“Somebody who has come from a small town, grown into the party with all the support of the leadership, and if given such responsibility, it just makes you feel sometimes that cosmic grace is there. Otherwise it is impossible.”
According to DNA, she is not one to shy away from criticism. In her words,
“Every criticism is a message and we have to learn from it. I am not averse to criticism and also not frightened of it (criticism), but certainly take messages from them… Criticism per se does not reflect on performance, it only adds to your performance if you are ready to take onboard the corrections that may be workable.”
While, some are lauding this decision and some are criticizing, we heartily congratulate our new defence minister on taking charge and wishing her for many more achievements.