A new ministry with Narendra Modi as Prime Minister is taking charge of goverment of India today. The youngest member in the ministry, Smt. Smriti Zubin Irani, is the new Minister for Human Resources Development (HRD). (Auroville is administratively under Ministry of HRD.)
Smriti Irani was born in Delhi and first came to public attention on becoming a finalist in an all India beauty pageant in 1998. She later worked as an actress in Hindi TV serials and won five consecutive Indian Television Academy Awards for Best Actress (Popular). Perhaps her most popular role was in TV comedy serial titled “Kyunki saas bhi kabhi bahu thi” (Because mother-in-law was also once a daughter-in-law). She also played the role of Sita in Zee TV’s Ramayana serial in 2001 and even though it was not a success, that made a niche for herself in the imagination of the public. The epic story eternally strikes an emotional nerve in the psyche of India.
She then joined BJP and was put up as a candidate against Congress Minister Kapil Sibal in Delhi in 2003. Though she lost the election she continued working for the party and became a member of Parliament Rajya Sabha representing the state of Gujarat and BJP National Vice President. She lost in the just concluded Loksabha election contesting against Rahul Gandhi, widely perceived as the Prime Ministerial candidate of the congress party. Irani also runs an organization, “People for Change” which provides drinking water to the poor in India’s remote areas.
Smriti is married to Zubin Irani, a Zoroastrian. At 38, age is certainly to her advantage as reportedly 66% of the population of India is below the age of 35 and their development is expected to be the focus of her ministry.