Former Banker, Politician, Author: Who Was Meera Sanyal?
After battling with cancer for two years, banker-turned-politician Meera Sanyal, passed away at her residence in Mumbai on Friday, 11 January.
The 57-year-old, who quit as the chief executive of Royal Bank of Scotland in 2013, joined Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and was a member of its National Executive Committee.
However, before joining politics, Kochi-born Sanyal spent 30 years in banking.
From Sydenham College To Harvard Business School
57-year-old Sanyal graduated with distinction from Mumbai’s Sydenham College in 1982, followed by an MBA in finance from INSEAD. In 2006, she went on to earn a degree in Business Administration and Management from Harvard Business School.
Apart from holding the position of the Chairperson at Royal Bank of Scotland’s India Services & Foundation, Sanyal also served as the head of corporate finance and chief operating officer for ABN AMRO for Asia.
Apart from this, Sanyal has also held top positions in organisations like Lazard and ANZ Grindlays Bank.
Sanyal was also a board member of the NGO Pradan that works to empower women in rural India through entrepreneurship and skill-based livelihoods.
Foray Into Politics
Meera Sanyal contested the Lok Sabha elections for the first time as an independent candidate in 2009. In an interview with Free Press Journal, Sanyal shares that the 26/11 terrorist attacks that Mumbai witnessed in 2018 prompted her to venture into politics.
“My office, just behind the Oberoi hotel, was directly impacted. My mentor and senior colleague in banking, Mr Ashok Kapur was murdered by the terrorists. The attacks were a turning point in my life. I decided that if I wanted things to improve in my city and my country – whether it was Governance or safety, then I had to participate actively – not just criticise and complain from the comfort of my home.”Meera Sanyal to Free Press Journal in March 2017
She lost the election but that didn’t stop her from making a comeback into politics.
In 2014, she fought Lok Sabha polls from south Mumbai against Congress’s Milind Deora on an AAP ticket but lost.
Sanyal’s View on Demonetisation
After demonetisation was announced by the Modi government, Sanyal wrote a book ‘The Big Reverse: How Demonetization Knocked India Out’ criticising the move with details of its impact on citizens.
Speaking to The Quint in an earlier interview, she had pointed out that the Government’s intentions of tackling black money through demonetisation have failed completely.
“It didn’t tackle black money. Didn’t tackle corruption. These were great intentions but demonetisation hasn’t worked in the past and it hasn’t worked this time,” Sanyal had said.
Tributes and condolences poured in on twitter after the news of her death. AAP’s chief and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also expressed his grief in his tweet.
(With inputs from PTI and The Hindu)