Meera Sanyal is no more. A noted banker-turned-politician, Meera passed away at 57 on Friday, January 11 after battling cancer for a brief period.
Sanyal is known for her bold decision to quit her job as the India Chief executive officer (CEO) and chairperson of the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) to join politics. Sanyal breathed her last at her residence after battling cancer for more than two years. Let's take a look at her prolific career.
Born to an Indian Navy officer, Meera Sanyal graduated in commerce (B.Com.) from Sydenham College, Mumbai in 1982, with an MBA from INSEAD, France in 1983 and had completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School in 2006.
She was a seasoned banker with over 30 years of experience and micro-finance was her core area of expertise. Social service was always closer to her heart and during her tenure at RBS Meera she mentored the MicroFinance program, which financed over 650,000 women in rural India. For her efforts to empower women in India she was awarded the Philanthropist of the Year by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) in 2011.
Sanyal made an entry into politics in 2009 and contested Lok Sabha elections as an independent candidate but could not win. She later went to join Arvind Kejriwal led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) where she was a member of the party's National Committee on Economic Policy. In 2014, she contested Lok Sabha election from South Mumbai constituency but only managed to get 5.2% of the votes and finished fourth.
In her activist life, she became a full-time campaigner for civic issues in Mumbai. She played a significant role in highlighting the issue of 'coal mountains' -- storage of coal on open land in the eastern part of the Mumbai suburb which was causing a lot of air pollution. Her activism led to the closure of the practice of storing coal. She vehemently opposed the 'demonization' of 500 and 1000 rupee notes taken by the Modi government.