Kalpana Saroj: Abusive Marriage At 12, Attempted Suicide, Saved Kamani Tubes, Rs 900 Crore Net Worth

Meet Kalpana Saroj, the CEO of Kamani Tubes, who has a net worth of Rs. 900 crores. Here's why she's renowned as the original 'Slumdog Millionaire' in the business world.


By Rishabh Naudiyal Last Updated:


Kalpana Saroj: Abusive Marriage At 12, Attempted Suicide, Saved Kamani Tubes, Rs 900 Crore Net Worth

Kalpana Saroj was awarded the prestigious Padma Shri award on April 20, 2013. She is renowned as the original ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ in the business world because she was born in a Dalit community. Currently, she is the CEO of Kamani Tubes, a manufacturing company that went into liquidation in 2001.

However, it was Kalpana Saroj, who bought the company and revived it with her vision and expertise. As of now, Kalpana is one of the most admired entrepreneurs in India. The way she transformed her life despite coming from a Dalit community and having no financial support is nothing less than the script of an inspirational film.

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It’s fair to say that on the professional front, Kalpana Saroj fought against a series of roadblocks. Still, it was something that almost every entrepreneur had to go through in order to develop a business sense. However, it was her personal life that traumatised her both mentally and physically. Despite coming from the Dalit community, the level that Kalpana has achieved in her life is truly incredible. So, without further ado, let’s take a look into the life of Kalpana Saroj and how she became one of India’s most successful female entrepreneurs.

Kalpana Saroj was born into a poor Dalit family, and her uncle used to call her ‘zeher ki pudiya’

The famous entrepreneur, Kalpana Saroj was born in a Dalit community back in 1961. Kalpana’s father was a police constable and knew the importance of education. Thus he made sure to give his daughter basic education. Although Kalpana suffered a lot of discrimination in school based on caste and gender, she never stopped attending school. Apart from facing discrimination in the outside world, Kalpana also received a lot of hate from her maternal uncle, and there was a time when he referred to her as ‘zeher ki pudiya (pocket of poison)’.

Kalpana Saroj was forced to become a child bride at the age of 12

When Kalpana Saroj turned 12, she was forcefully married to a person from their community who used to live in the slums with his family. Kalpana never wanted to get married at such a young age, but because of the custom of a child bride in their society, she got married at the mere age of just 12 years. She also had to quit her studies midway to become a bride and settle with her husband.

When Kalpana Saroj faced domestic violence and torture from her husband and in-laws

Kalpana Saroj was living with her husband in a slum in Mumbai with his parents. As per multiple reports, her husband beat her multiple times, and even his parents treated her like a maid. Kalpana’s husband and in-laws tortured her mentally and physically to the extent that she became a walking corpse instead of a human.

Luckily, one day when Kalpana Saroj’s father reportedly paid a surprise visit to her new home, he got shocked to see his daughter, as she had lost so much weight and looked so weak. He quickly understood the situation and wasted no time taking his daughter with him back to his home. The doting father never let anyone force his daughter to return to her husband and his home.

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When Kalpana Saroj attempted suicide by drinking poison due to the society

After coming back to her maternal home, Kalpana Saroj was slowly and steadily working on her mental and physical health. But the people around her started blaming her for living in her father’s home even after her marriage. Things went from bad to worse when people started blaming Kalpana for her abusive marriage and passed derogatory comments about her for ruining her married life.

There came a point when Kalpana could no longer deal with the hate she was receiving from the people around her. Hence, she decided to commit suicide by drinking poison. Luckily, she was saved after her family took her to the hospital on time.

When Kalpana Saroj moved to Mumbai and worked on a salary of just 2 rupees in a garment factory

After spending 24 hours in the hospital, Kalpana Saroj realised the value of life, and it was when she decided that she would do something big in her life. She requested her father to let her move to Mumbai so that she could do some work there and become financially independent. Kalpana’s father was always her biggest supporter, and he encouraged her to find her way into the city of dreams.

After reaching Mumbai, Kalpana Saroj went to her family relative, who used to live in Mumbai and requested him to help her get some work. Kalpana's uncle helped her and she got her first job in a garment factory, earning just 2 rupees. However, she picked the opportunity and started her journey to become financially independent.

Kalpana Saroj took a loan of Rs. 50,000 to start her tailoring business

It was in 1984 when Kalpana Saroj heard about the government’s scheme that offered loans to women from lower castes for starting their businesses. As soon as Kalpana heard about it, she applied for the same, and after she received the money, she purchased a sewing machine. She worked 16 hours a day in her tailoring business as she was aware of its potential. Apart from this, she also invested some money in a furniture business, which was quite profitable for her.

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Kalpana Saroj’s started her own production house, KS Film Production

Kalpana Saroj’s tailoring and furniture business was getting a lot of good responses, and it was when she thought of establishing a production house. Despite having no connection to the film world, she was adamant about opening her own production house. After much discussion with her loved ones, she started KS Film Production and produced her first film, Khairlanjichya Mathyawar, which was based on the lives of the Dalit community.

With the films under her production house, Kalpana Saroj started to raise the voice of the Dalit community across the nation and received a lot of love and fame for the same. Once again, Kalpana’s decision to invest in a production house that mostly delivers films about the Dalit community was a hit and profitable for her.

How Kalpana Saroj took Kamani Tubes from liquidation to making its revenue touch Rs. 100 crore mark

It was in 2001 when Kamani Tubes, one of India's most famous and reputed manufacturing companies, went into liquidation. Some of the company's employees went to Kalpana Saroj and asked her to help as they believed in her entrepreneurial geniuses. The workers also informed Kalpana that they weren’t paid for the last three years. The heartbreaking reality of the workers moved Kalpana, and she agreed to help them. The entrepreneur took over the company by giving a signed cheque of Rs. 50 lakhs to Navinbhai Kamani.

Most people termed Kalpana Saroj’s decision to acquire Kamani Tubes as a ‘suicidal move’, but for her, it was about the 3,500 workers who didn’t get a single penny from the company for 3 years. After Kalpana acquired the company, all the workers were behind her like a force and were standing with her in their journey to bring Kamani Tubes back to the good old days.

With some major financial and entrepreneurial decisions, Kalpana managed to change the fortunes of Kamani Tubes. She not only constructed a brand new business model in the company but also made some crucial decisions regarding manufacturing. Soon the Kamani Tubes were out of danger of being shut, and as of now, it generates an estimated revenue of Rs. 100 crores.

Kalpana Saroj’s net worth

According to multiple reports, Kalpana Saroj’s net worth is estimated to be around the whopping sum of Rs. 917 crores. The way she has transformed not just her life but all the people who work at Kamani Tubes is just inspirational. Her journey has once again proved that all you need is a heart full of fire, and all the barriers will melt before you.

What are your thoughts on Kalpana Saroj’s journey from being married at the age of 12 to attempting suicide and bringing a firm back to life from liquidation without attending any business school? Let us know.

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