In our quest to celebrate women who fight for dreams, we stumbled over this powerful story of a woman who has fought her way to IIM Ahmedabad, India’s prestigious MBA college. Her remarkable journey of fighting for her right to education and turning her dream into reality is about true courage. From working really hard on her dream, to taking a stand against her own family, this inspiring soul has come a long way.
Sharing her inspiring journey with HOB, she mentioned:
“I was 6 when I’d innocently decided that once I grew up, I’d be the future Prime Minister of the country. On other days, I’d switch from wanting to be an astronaut to calling myself a businesswoman–but whatever it was, I saw myself working shoulder to shoulder with men.
But hailing from a traditional Kachhi family, I’ve always heard my relatives saying– ‘Ladkiyon ko itna zyada padha ke kya fayda?’ Where I come from, it was normal for girls to get married at 18. In fact, both my parents had quit studies after 10th–Dad started his own business and Maa was married off. But I wanted a different life.
In class 11, I heard somebody mention that IIM Ahmedabad was one of the best universities for studying business. After that, I’d tell everybody, ‘Main badi hoke IIM mein hi jaungi.’ After my 12th boards, I was offered a scholarship by 3 foreign universities; I was on cloud nine!
But Dad refused to send me abroad, ‘Western countries are unsafe for women,’ he said. And relatives would say things like, ‘She might end up marrying someone from outside the community. Then what will we do?’– I was shattered.
With no other choice, I pursued a business course in Mumbai, but throughout those 3 years, I’d cry thinking about the lost opportunity. After I turned 18, my parents started getting rishtas for me, but I rejected all of them. At times, Maa would even say, ‘Someday you’ll have to learn the household chores, so why not now?’ I’d fight with them and say, ‘I only want to study,’ but they didn’t understand.
After graduation, I was offered a 100% scholarship to Oxford University, but Dad refused again– ‘If you study so much, you’ll never find a man of your level,’ he said. I slipped into depression; I’d lock myself up in a room and study for my CAT without even knowing whether I’d be allowed to pursue my MBA.
Still, I appeared for it and scored 99.37%! So I applied to IIM Ahmedabad and was shortlisted; Dad still wasn’t okay with it. I just broke down in front of everyone; that’s when Mom said, ‘I want my daughter to have what I wasn’t able to.’ Finally, Dad gave in. So in August 2020, I took a loan of 25 lakhs and admitted myself into IIM-A.
On the first day of class, I literally pinched myself. Dad had happy tears in his eyes– ‘You’ll become the first woman in our family to have a Master’s degree from IIM,’ he said happily. I started attending classes virtually and wrote blogs to motivate others and make myself feel better.
I wanted to push my limits, so I applied for the HUL internship and got in! I’ve learnt so much here– I’ve even created advertisements in regional languages. And we had our final review recently and if I get selected for an interview, I could get a job at HUL!
I’m the first in my family to break the stereotype, and even my parents have realised how important it is to let your daughters study. Now, there’s no stopping me… there’s no stopping us. Because women have every right to educate themselves, and that’s just how it should be.”
At IFORHER, we are in awe of this inspiring soul and hope her story will inspire many more to believe in their dreams.