She was the first woman chairman* of the State Bank of India. That statement, in itself, spells out her might and her success story in India but Arundhati Bhattacharya went on to claim her share of space in the world. In 2016, she was listed as the 25th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes. Foreign Policy Magazine ranked Arundhati amongst the FP Top 100 Global Thinkers. Fortune named her as the 4th most powerful woman in the Asia Pacific. 

Sporting her quintessential cheek-to-cheek smile, Arundhati lit up the International Women’s Conference organized by the Art of Living Foundation. She was also invited to be a part of the Global Leadership Forum organized by The Art of Living.
Arundhati effortlessly carries her success in her eyes. She has a way of going through subjects profound with utmost ease while she leaves her audience with some food for thought. Recalling the times when she had introduced a two-year sabbatical leave policy for the bank's female employees to use either for maternity or elder care; Arundhati mentioned that her colleagues were concerned that such a move might perpetuate the stereotype. She does believe that equality needs to come from society. “Both men and women need to participate equally in child-rearing and running a household for a change to come about,” she says. But until such a time comes, women need to be supported with policies so they can remain an active member of the workforce. A natural at conversations that matter, she switched from one topic to another with ease while smiling at people queued up to greet her.

Having done the foundation’s Happiness Program, she says that she finds Sudarshan Kriya quite effective. Acknowledging the health benefits of Kriya, she adds that she tries to meditate as often as she can. 

Born in a small-town of Bhilai, Arundhati went on to become an example of strength for women to look up to. Her professional journey that started in Calcutta in 1977 with large manual ledgers all-around to getting featured as 25th most powerful woman in 2016 is a must-tell women’s day tale.

Arundhati Bhattacharya, retired Indian banker and former Chairman of the State Bank of India.