Published On : Sun, Mar 8th, 2015

Indian Women of 2015 – our pick!!


On the event of the International Woman’s Day here is our eclectic pick of women who have blazed trails last year. It is a random list of women chosen for their courage, their spunk, their integrity and mainly for Standing Out in a Man’s World!

Priyanka Gandhi


Why her? Because she is making news without even being a news maker in any role. Her mother is the Congress President, her brother is the Vice President, her husband is the Number one Target of the ruling party – and yet, rank and file of the Congress party workers think she will be their redemption. The way they hanker for her is amazing. Do they see a shadow of grandmother Indira in her? What ever it is, she is a good speaker, she is tremendous at repartee and one suspects that if she were to give a one-on-one interview with Arnab Goswami she would definitely get a the better on him!

Deepika Padukone


She had precisely two films released last year – one of them an offbeat (Finding Fanny) and other multi starrer Happy New Year –
yet she has managed to hold her position head and shoulder above all other female actors of Bollywood. When Indian Express named the 50 most powerful Indians of the year, she figures in it above Leading actors and former boy friend Ranbir Kapoor and present (?) one Ranvir Singh.
Though she was written off as an ‘average actor’ on her debut she has grown tremendously in every department – Acting, Dancing and screen presence. But what we find most endearing is her human quality. She has courage enough to share with everyone that despite her tremendous success she suffered from a killing phase of Depression and needed medical help to get out of it. She has spoken up not for the news value of it but so it helps other people who suffer silently. This is one Indian star to watch out for definitely!

Anu Aga


A Parsee businesswoman based in Pune Anu has seen tragedy after tragedy in the past few years and still held her head high and survived. She lost her husband, her sweetheart from Rhodes in a sudden heart attack, then her mother in law and then, most tragically her 25 years old son Kurush in a road accident.

Three debilitating deaths in the family would be enough to knock the air out of any woman’s sails, but Anu took over the reins at Thermax and grew it to new heights. This year, the Government of India conferred Anu Aga with the Padma Shri Award for her distinguished service in the field of social work.

This is what she said in a recent interview – “Most of us take things for granted when life goes smoothly and fail to invest in ourselves. Adversity pushes us to look for answers and helps us to be in touch with our inner strength.
After the death of my husband, I attended Vipassana, a Buddhist meditation discipline. It helped me to discover my inner strength and centeredness. Daily practice has helped me to come to terms with the deaths that I experienced and in a way prepared me for what I had to face on personal and professional fronts. ”

This year Anu Aga has not only been awarded with a Padmashree but also been admitted to the ‘billionaire’s club’ of India which was an Exclusive Boys’ club.

Indian Sports Women like Saina Nehwal, Sania Mirza, Mary Kom, Jwala Gutta and finally Tania Sachdev

About the last one ‘Sporteology’ has said – the Hottest Indian Sports Women,Tania Sachdev is the ideal combination of brains and beauty. She won her first international title when she was only eight and continued to carve a niche for herself. The chess prodigy has already won the titles of Woman Grandmaster (2005) and International Master (2008), and went on to receive the prestigious Arjuna Award in 2009 for being the eight Indian Woman Grandmaster. Sachdev has been included in this list for her simplicity and achievement in a non-glamorous sport like chess.

Each one has been in the news for her triumph against adversities, defeats and travails of life! Mary Kom has had a film made on her life enacted by the glamorous Priiyanka Chopra – first time a present and living sportswoman was so glorified by Bollywood.

Women Bankers who moved into top positions

Usha Ananthasubramaniam took over as Chairperson and Managing Director of Bharatiya Mahila Bank ; Arundhati Bhattacharya became the top boss of State Bank of India, the largest bank in India. In April, Archana Bhargava was elevated to the top job at United Bank of India while Vijayalakshmi R. Iyer became the head of Bank of India and Shubhalakshmi Panse became Chairman and Managing Director of Allahabad Bank last year.

Five women who head five of the biggest Public Sector Banks in India when banks are beset by the worst problems of NPAs – any one would have said it takes a man to sort out this mess! But not these women…. they are made of sterner stuff.

Finally our own Woman Banker – Amruta Fadnavis


Her husband Devendra is the ‘hottest’ CM of the country since he became CM of Maharashtra but it is Amruta who is the cynosure of all eyes in the media and outside!

How she balances her career, her husband’s public life, motherhood and her own public persona without losing her equilibrium is supremely impressive. Right from the time of her husband’s swearing in ceremony in Mumbai till now – we do not think any CM’s wife has been written about so much!

Wing Commander Puja Thakur


When Obama came calling and was given a ceremonial welcome by the traditional Guard of Honour, for a change all eyes were not on HIM but the woman officer who was leading the Guards – Wing Commander Puja Thakur.

This was the first time since Indian women started getting enrolled in the Army that a woman received such an honour. But ask her about it and she says it was more as an Officer and less as a Woman that she looked at it.

“It is a proud moment to be representing the Indian Air Force commanding the Inter-Services Guard of Honour and that too to Mr Barack Obama,” Thakur said.


In our Indian Parliament, that is where…

In a recent study conducted by the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), India is placed at 111th position in the list of 189 countries having women representatives in Parliament. Even the lesser developed neighbors of India such as Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal have around 20, 19 and 30 per cent women members in their respective parliament
Going back to the initial days after independence, it appears that the situation had been more than grim. The first Lok Sabha had only 4.4 per cent women members. The sixth Lok Sabha in 1977 witnessed the smallest proportion of women in Parliament at mere 3.5 per cent. Although the number of women MPs increased from 59 to 61 under the Modi government, it still remains far below the global average of 21.3 per cent.

When do we see many more women in this most crucial place of us Indians?

..Sunita Mudaliar