“I got married into a big joint family and I think it's just the tradition in Indian homes, where you go in and find a space for yourself. Everybody's very supportive but I think you have to find your equation in a larger family and you make those adjustments with each other. Your in-laws are larger than life in your life so you are more in awe and in respect of them and you would follow whatever they said so there was this 'no questioning' in times in which I got married. But when I see my kids I think there's much more ease, much more freedom and space because I understand and I think kids would like to have their space - it's more of an equal relationship now and I don't think we're so dependent on our daughter-in-laws to do things for us, we are very independent ourselves, I think there is a lot more ease and much more openness and friendship in today's times, at least with me and my daughter-in-law.”
Gentle yet strong, kind but with nerves of steel, it was then surely written in the stars that at 19 Deepika got married into the very traditional Jindal Steel family! Over the years she has carved her own path whilst playing so many different roles-be that of a business leader as the Creative Director and Managing Director of Jindal Stainless Steel Lifestyle Limited (JSLL) and the Founder of Arttdínox or that of a doting mother and wife amongst multiple others. Whilst many would say she has had a charmed life, she has created a space for herself, one that she truly owns. Hers is an inspirational story of personal growth and leadership - one in which she is as comfortable in her home as she is in the boardroom, always carrying herself with so much grace, warmth and childlike innocence that it's almost infectious!
A strong believer in spirituality, karma and the philosophy of giving back she is the chairperson and mentor of OP Jindal Modern School and Vidya Devi Jindal School, as well as the chairperson of OP Jindal Cancer Institute of Medical Care and Research. Besides not only contributing with her fundraising efforts but also with her invaluable time and insight into the causes she supports whether that is education for children or upliftment and financial independence of women. She beautifully marries her belief in the institution of marriage by bringing it down to the modern day context and sums it up so aptly when she says, “Marriage is a journey, there are challenges you face, at every stage in your life so I think it's really about adapting. As I said, adapting to each other and changing with time, I think you have to keep changing and evolving in a relationship, otherwise you're not going to be able to move forward.”
Guneet is an Indian film producer, a BAFTA nominee and amongst the first producers from India to be invited to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Recent recipient of the second highest civilian honor of France, the Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, or Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters, she is the founder of Sikhya Entertainment, a Mumbai based production house. She was part of the Global Media Makers fellowship by Film Independent and the US Department of State’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs. In 2019, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation awarded her the prestigious Sloan Science and Film grant.
Under her leadership, Sikhya Entertainment has carved an unprecedented space in the Indian film industry by producing films that focus on stories from the heartland. The Lunchbox, Masaan, Gangs of Wasseypur, Pagglait, What Will People Say and Oscar Winning Short Documentary - Period - End Of Sentence are some of the many titles from her awe inspiring filmography.
She has established herself as a power to be reckoned with in the world of Indian cinema and has truly found her mojo when it comes to filmmaking. Guneet recently founded a cinema collective called Indian Women Rising, aimed at discovering, amplifying & distributing the work of Indian women filmmakers across the globe.
Guneet is earthy, real, so unaffected by all that life has thrown her way and reflects so much of the goodness that the world needs that it's impossible not to get sucked into her enthusiasm and zest for life, forgetting how tough a life she has had. A deep rooted sense of spirituality and meditation are mediums that have helped her heal and grow as a person. She is a real inspiration and reinforces the fact that dreams can come true both in the world of celluloid and outside!
“I've been in relationships where I've had to underplay what I do. It's a very thin line but then there are evolved people who believe in all sorts of equality - from responsibility to opportunity to pleasure to everywhere. I think that happens with mature conversations - with feeling and putting it out there; communication is at the core of it all. A partner should be somebody who wants to grow together and be as curious about life and experiences and the world outside – also not be so consumed in our little lives and our thoughts.”
“I had a short courtship but I've had a successful marriage, but it doesn't have to work that way with my children. I just want them to be raised as discerning girls who can make the right choices. My advice to them would be - don't depend on a man or a marriage as a creeper does onto a tree. I think you have to look at individual growth as much as the growth of the marriage, that one must always evolve as a person, develop a passion, career, and be your own person because a marriage is of course there and should always be. You will, from a couple, develop into a family and the dynamic will change and the priorities will change, but ultimately you must enjoy your own company and be proud of what you have achieved at the end of the day.”
The ever-elegant H.H. Maharani Radhikaraje Gaekwad is Vice President Maharani Chimnabai Stree Udyogalaya, Trustee Maharaja Fatesingh Museum, Director CDS Art Foundation. With a Masters in medieval Indian history, Radhikaraje worked as a journalist with Indian Express, New Delhi prior to moving to Vadodara. Married into the royal Gaekwad family, she is now actively involved in running one of the largest private residences in the world along with family trusts such as the Maharani Chimnabai Stree Udyogalaya, imparting vocational training to lower income women and the Maharaja Fatehsinh Museum Trust, housing some of the most acclaimed works of Raja Ravi Varma amongst others. She is also a patron of the Heritage Trust, an independent organisation instrumental in bringing the monumental complex of Champaner on the World Heritage Sites list and is actively involved in preventing the city’s heritage structures from being obliterated. Radhikaraje is currently also working on the documentation of the Lukshmi Vilas Palace and it’s priceless possessions.
Radhikaraje has been researching and archiving the rich history and culture of royal india and has presented her research on the famed Gaekwad jewels, royal culture, textiles and customs on various media platforms. As director of CDS Art Foundation, Ahmedabad, she also works in aligning artisans with designers and bridging gaps with the end consumer. She has been instrumental in bringing collaborations with foundations and designers to Baroda such as Santati- Then. Now. Next, a one of a kind jamdani textile experiment where India’s most well recognised artist Raja Ravi Varma’s works have been woven on khadi.
Through the Covid 19 pandemic, Radhikaraje alongside her sister has been able to reach out and aid over 700 artisanal families in Orissa. For this she has also been conferred the HDFC Bank Philanthropist award. Along with initiating UPSC and GPSC coaching for urban poor girls she has initiated the Pink line project where women are trained as drivers for school and domestic transportation to reduce instance of sexual and physical violence. She is also introducing skill building for transgenders.
In August 2021 Radhikaraje through the Maharani Chimnabai Stree Udyogalaya Trust organised a uniquely curated and hugely successful artisanal fair called Urja, giving some of our very badly pandemic hit craftsperson a safe and dignified outlet to interact with the urbane and sell their blocked stock.
Radhikaraje has also been conferred the prestigious Aspen Global Leadership Fellowship. She has also been recognised as one of ‘India’s Top 50 Women in Indian Luxury’ by LuxeBook and been bestowed the Social Entrepreneurship, Heritage revivalist, etc awards amongst others.
She continues her love for writing by regularly contributing to leading dailies and magazines. Radhikaraje is an avid traveler, visiting over 50 countries for wildlife, history and wine!
Swati Bhise is a Classical Bharatnatyam dancer, and is the first disciple of the renowned artist Dr Sonal Mansingh. For the past 40 years, Swati has been a true patron of dance, theatre and the arts and has dedicated her life to bringing her art form to the Western world as an ambassador for Indian culture and its performing arts. She has performed at some of the most prestigious institutes including the National Centre for the Performing Arts in India, the 40th Anniversary of the U.N. General Assembly, The Lincoln Center for Arts In Education.
Swati is an educator committed to introducing Indian artists and Indian classical arts to American children. She founded the Sanskriti Centre, a non-profit organization that helps with training young minds in art appreciation and conducts lecture series at leading museums and universities like the Smithsonian, Brooklyn Museum, Columbia University, NYU, and University of Austin Texas to name a few. She was honoured with “The Jewel of India” for Indians with outstanding achievement by the American Indian community. Furthermore, Swati continues to teach for The Curriculum in Arts program at the Symphony Space. She has been a TV host for India Broadcasting Network (IBN) in NYC for Spotlight on Culture, a past correspondent for the prestigious dance publication SRUTI from Chennai, has run the Sadir theatre festival in Goa for 8 years, and currently continues her work in the Women’s Empowerment space via her brand “The Warrior Queen Project”
In 2014 Swati founded a film production Company called Cayenne Pepper Productions. She was the Executive producer and Associate Indian advisor for the acclaimed Hollywood Film “The Man who knew Infinity”. She also directed a British-Indian self-written period drama set in 19th century India, “The Warrior Queen of Jhansi” which had a global world release and was the first film In Hollywood with an Asian woman as the lead played by Devika Bhise. The film won the Gender Parity Award and several other accolades.
Swati went to Lady Shriram College in Delhi and moved to the US in December 1982 when she married Bharat whom she had known since she was a year old! Based in New York, the couple both strong and successful in their own right, truly compliment each other. Bharat and Swati have spent more than a decade working on and promoting gender equity and parity issues, providing support to women running for political office and economic sponsorship of women owned businesses. They serve on the leadership councils of RFK Human Rights and Swati works as a Lotus Circle advisor of The Asia Foundation.
Though Swati comes from a very traditional Maharashtrian family, there is nothing mild about her! Strong-willed, determined, living life on her terms, fiercely protective about those she loves, she has strong opinions and is a straight shooter. She gives her every ounce to anything she takes on, is an all or nothing person and has this uncanny ability to sniff out anything that is not real. Extremely intuitive with a very high EQ and bustling with incredible energy, she straddles two different cultures and sensibilities beautifully, holding on to the best of both, a trait that is not only heart warming but also awe inspiring.
“Marriage is a turbulent roller coaster life with your partner based on trust, love, hope and mutual respect”
“Having been married for over 20 years into a joint family, the change I experienced was a huge one. Mine was an arranged marriage where my grandfather knew my husband's family and that is how we met. Anurang worked long hours and it was difficult to make the adjustments we did. Both my husband and I had to make many compromises to make the relationship work and we have now come to that stage, after all the arguments, where we can’t do without each other. I want for my children to have the endurance Anurang and I have had in our relationship! The children will hopefully both have fulfilling relationships with time to come, will make their adjustments, which are necessary as they evolve, but form a strong bond, as Anurang and I have, that’s what I want for them.”
Varsha was born and brought up in Kenya with a very strong Indian influence from her grandparents whom she visited every year in India. In 1988 she met her husband Anurang Jain, an extremely successful, self made industrialist, who also happens to be Rahul Bajaj’s nephew. Anurang started Endurance Technologies which went public in 2016 and has several factories in India and across the world. Varsha is Executive Director & Head-CSR & Facility Management at Endurance Technologies Ltd and remains on the board of directors as well.
Anurang and Varsha have two children and live between Aurangabad and Mumbai when in India. Varsha has this natural ability to make the other person comfortable, she is considerate, hospitable, fond of the fine arts, a strong believer of trying to make a difference by giving back and of course her most favourite role is that of being a supportive mother.
The Endurance Sewak Trust, that Varsha is a patron of, has been working in the villages around Aurangabad encouraging vocational development in the community, launching teacher training programmes as well as opening old age centres for the elderly. Women’s upliftment and social mobility are something Varsha is personally invested in, and is proud to have encouraged small units in the villages teaching women how to produce sanitary pads, increasing awareness on drainage, sanitation and the importance of toilets. The scope of the Sewak Trust is constantly evolving as they now help with mobile medical care units as well as animal welfare and veterinary care of farm animals.