Sminu Jindal – The STEEL Lady

by Team Conscious Carma

Sminu Jindual, the lady at the helm of Jindal SAW Ltd, the undisputed leader in India’s tubular pipe industry, and Founder Chairperson of accessibility organisation Svayam, has fought against all odds to emerge a winner.

The granddaughter of legendary industrialist O.P. Jindal, Sminu  met with an accident at the age of 11 which left her wheel chair bound. But this didn’t deter the aspirations of a young girl, who wanted to make a mark for herself in the world.  An alumnus of India’s premier institution, Shri Ram College of Commerce, Sminu also holds an MBA from the Fore School of Management.

She joined the family business as a young trainee and worked her way up the corporate ladder, proving her mettle as the first successful woman in the predominantly male bastion of steel, oil, and gas. Jindal SAW has grown manifold under her leadership by continually innovating and evolving. She has also been instrumental in the company’s foray into sustainable energy and rail infrastructure sectors.

Getting accustomed to life in a wheelchair required several adjustments, both physical as well as mental, but she was undeterred. In fact, the seeds of her passion project, accessibility organisation Svayam, can also be traced to the period following this. The multi-awarded, multifaceted, woman of steel who says her purpose in life is to leave the world a better place for all.

An indefatigable crusader for Accessibility for All, Jindal was the first to train the spotlight on the need for accessibility in the built environment, dissociating it from disability, as a basic universal necessity.

Her relentless pursuit of an accessible world has turned Svayam into a movement. Today Svayam is India’s only not-for-profit accessibility pioneer that focuses on creating a barrier-free world for all.  Whether in its campaign to make World Heritage Sites such as the Qutub Minar in Delhi and Fatehpur Sikri Group of Monuments including the Taj Mahal accessible or paving the way to make the disabled count by successfully calling for the addition of a key question on disabilities in the Census 2011, Svayam has kept the interests of people with reduced mobility at the forefront.

Svayam is working to change the perception that only people with disabilities need accessibility. Svayam believes that accessibility in the built environment benefits all, whether it is the differently abled, pregnant women, the elderly, the sick or injured, people with temporary disabilities, victims of terrorism, war veterans, or children.

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