Smriti Zubin Irani Malhotra, born on 23 March 1976, is a prominent Indian politician and a former actress, fashion model, and television producer. She has held various ministerial positions in the Indian government and has been associated with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Her political journey has been marked by diverse roles and accomplishments, making her a notable figure in Indian politics.
Smriti Irani has been serving as the Minister of Women and Child Development since 2019 and took on the additional role of Minister of Minority Affairs in 2022, becoming the first non-Muslim to hold this position. She has a remarkable political track record, having previously served as the Minister of Human Resource Development from 2014 to 2016, Minister of Textiles from 2016 to 2021, and Minister of Information and Broadcasting from 2017 to 2018.
Her political career began as a Member of Parliament (MP) in 2011 when she joined the Rajya Sabha from Gujarat. In 2019, she switched to the Lok Sabha and represented the Amethi constituency in Uttar Pradesh, winning against Rahul Gandhi, a prominent leader of the Indian National Congress. This victory marked a significant shift in Amethi’s political landscape, a constituency that had been dominated by the Gandhi family for decades.
Prior to her political journey, Smriti Irani made her mark in the entertainment industry. She participated in the Miss India 1998 beauty pageant and was part of various television shows and films. Her breakthrough came with her role as Tulsi Virani in the TV series “Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi,” produced by Ekta Kapoor. Her acting prowess and popularity earned her multiple awards.
Smriti Irani’s political and personal life reflects a rich tapestry of experiences. Born as Smriti Malhotra to a mixed heritage family, she grew up with a strong connection to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), with her maternal family having affiliations with the Jana Sangh. She pursued her education at the Holy Child Auxilium School in New Delhi and later enrolled in the School of Open Learning at the University of Delhi. Her educational qualifications have been a subject of discussion and controversy, with discrepancies noted in her affidavits submitted for various elections.
In 2001, she married Zubin Irani, a Parsi businessman, and they have two children together. Smriti Irani’s commitment to her faith has been evident, as she identifies as a practicing Hindu and has spoken about the significance of wearing sindoor (vermilion).
Throughout her political career, Smriti Irani has initiated and supported various significant projects and reforms. As the Minister of Human Resource Development, she introduced the Global Initiative of Academic Networks (GIAN) and focused on improving educational quality and inclusivity. Her tenure as the Minister of Textiles witnessed initiatives like the Apparel Sector Special Package and support for technical textiles.
Her dedication to public service has been recognized internationally as well. She was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2015 and has been actively involved in various initiatives to promote education, gender equality, and child welfare.
Despite her accomplishments, Smriti Irani has faced criticism and controversies. Allegations related to her educational qualifications and her social media posts have garnered attention. Her fiery interactions with the media and political opponents have also been widely discussed.
In the dynamic landscape of Indian politics, Smriti Irani remains a significant figure, known for her diverse roles, achievements, and controversies. Her journey from the entertainment industry to becoming a prominent politician showcases her versatility and determination in making a mark on the national stage.