The Rise of A Graceful Warrior : Nirmala Sitharaman – By Bhamini Vispute

Edited By – Akash Goel


It is said that “There is no force more powerful than a woman determined to rise”.

Nirmala Sitharaman, a Tamil Iyengar Brahmin from Tiruchirapalli in Tamil Nadu, has proved it right.

Here is all that you need to know about the new Defense Minister of our country.


The Modi government carried out its third cabinet reshuffle on 1st October 2017 since coming to power in May 2014.

Sitharaman was among the four Ministers of State who were made cabinet ministers. She joined the Bharatiya Janata Party in 2008, made her mark as an articulate spokesperson of the saffron party after Sushma Swaraj and when the party came into power she was made the Minister of State for Commerce.

The 58-year-old lady minister took over the defense portfolio from Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and became the second woman defense minister after Indira Gandhi. However, Sitharaman is the first woman minister to hold the position full-time.

She was born to a middle-class family in Tamil Nadu. Her father worked with the railways while her mother was a homemaker and a great lover of books. Sitharaman completed her graduation in Economics from Seethalakshmi Ramaswami College, Trichy, and moved to JNU, Delhi to pursue her masters. Globalisation and its impact on developing countries was her favorite subject. She married Prabhakar Prakala(currently the communications advisor to Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu) in 1986 and moved to London where she worked for PriceWaterhouseCoopers, researching eastern economies.

She succeeded in the corporate world but eventually came back to India in 1991.

She is a fond lover of Lord Krishna’s songs and when asked about the best advice she ever received, she said “Always choose the middle path and try to maintain equanimity. In other words, 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.”

Sitharaman has been made defense minister less than two years before the elections, a critical point where she will have to manage with structural changes and bring in defense reforms.  Her appointment came as a surprise to many as it was anticipated either Jaitley retaining the post or Minister of Road Transport Nitin Gadkari taking over.

When speaking to reporters, 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.”

She also said that she would look into the matter of giving combat roles to women with an open mind and not as a matter of patronage.

Talking about the criticism she stated that “It only adds to your performance if you are ready to take onboard the corrections that may be workable.” Her statements speak volumes about her being strong-minded and at the same time how modest she is. This lady definitely has plans for a stronger and safer India.


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