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Of Small Towns, Big Dreams and Greater Achievements
Growing up in the sleepy towns of Bhilai and Bokaro, Arundhati Bhattacharya never imagined that one day she would go on to chair India's largest bank. It was sheer chance that she came to know of the bank probationary officers' entrance examination through a friend. She applied, was selected and went on to have a glorious banking career spanning four decades.
Indomitable is the story of Arundhati's life as a banker and the challenges she faced in a male-dominated bastion. She takes the reader through her childhood and early education in the 1960s, getting to Kolkata for her college education and then into the State Bank of India(SBI), where she started her career.
The life of a woman banker with a family in a frequently transferrable job isn't easy. In Arundhati's life, too, there were breaking points when she almost thought of quitting her career to balance her personal aspirations with her family's needs. But she didn't give up. Instead, she faced her challenges with humour and positivity and took up every assignment as a new chapter in learning and adapting.
In her role as the chairman of SBI, she steered the bank through some of its worst phases. She inspired confidence in the banking sector when the NPA crises led to a significant public-trust deficit. Under her leadership, SBI metamorphosed into a customer-centric and digitally advanced bank while playing a pivotal role in national development. Some of her human resources initiatives included industry-first practices that were appreciated and later adopted by other banks.
Candid, lucid and humble, Indomitable is a story that will galvanize you to embrace challenges, break barriers, push forward and achieve greater heights.
Arundhati Bhattacharya was the first woman to head India's largest bank, the State Bank of India. Indomitable is the engrossing story of her journey from modest beginnings, the challenges she faced, especially as a woman, and her grit and inventiveness in overcoming them. This book is about more than a CEO's management lessons or a banker's war stories, though it has those, of course, all recounted with self-deprecating humour. It is also importantly about how women can, and will, succeed in modern India.
Dr Raghuram G. Rajan, former governor, Reserve Bank of India
'Arundhati is ... one who is unstoppable,' told her mother in her childhood, pointing at a star in the sky. Living up to the name, Mrs Arundhati Bhattacharya has carved a life path as impressive as it can be interesting. 'Indomitable' aptly defines her spirit in this gripping narrative, sprinkled with humour, that vividly picturizes a fulfilling journey.
The reader will bump into sober advice like 'Books are our best friends' from her mother or the experience during induction at SBI that remained valid for a lifetime or her husband's wise counsel in times of distress. The intricately woven account of her tenure at SBI in all its vicissitudes - not to forget the challenges impeccably handled during demonetization - makes it an inimitable read. Needless to say that through her impactful work, Mrs. Arundhati Bhattacharya is bound to inspire a generation of women to scale greater heights in their professional pursuits.
Dr Devi Shetty, chairman, Narayana Health
Indomitable is one of the 'unputdownable' reads of recent times. It is a remarkable story of a great professional who has risen to lead one of the largest banks in the World. But that doesn't do justice to the narrative, woven lattice-like with a rare feel for words. I think, in becoming a career banker, Arundhati has denied us a great fiction writer. Indomitable raises non-fiction to the level of fine storytelling that we expect from some of the great names in contemporary Indo-Anglican writing. In this book, she is unreserved, sometimes vulnerable and comes across as an authentic human being and a professional par excellence. And along the way, very reassuring to all those people who believe ordinary people can achieve extraordinary things. This book is not one little girl's journey to the pinnacle of success. It is many-layered. It presents a country in the making in post-Nehruvian India at a social level. It will inspire many people across the spectrum. I hope she will write more in the years to come.
Subroto Bagchi, co-founder, Mindtree
Indomitable shares the incredible journey of one of the world's most remarkable business leaders. Her life is a story of courage, determination and resilience that will inspire and empower others to follow in her trailblazing footsteps.
Marc Benioff, chair and CEO, Salesforce
Arundhati Bhattacharya has earned her credentials as one of the most respected bankers in modern India. This autobiography is a testimony to her indomitable conviction that has broken societal and gender barriers to [help her] rise through the ranks and head the largest bank in the country. Her legacy is her bold and transformational modernization of banking practices driven by her strong belief in a digital future to usher in universal and inclusive banking. It is an inspiring read for young people to pursue their ambition with purpose and perseverance.
Kiran Mazumder-Shaw, chairperson, Biocon
Arundhati remains one of the most charismatic leaders I have met. She wanted to and succeeded in being a banker to every Indian. By the very force of her personality, we know what she has done to make diversity much more a part of SBI than it ever was before. This book serves as a fascinating journey of one who will and can achieve.
Zia Mody, managing partner, Azb & Partners
Arundhati Bhattacharya is the first woman to chair the State Bank of India (SBI), a 210-year-old institution, India's largest bank and a Fortune 500 company. Currently, she is the chairperson and CEO of Salesforce India, a cloud-based SaaS company, listed in the USA and headquartered in San Francisco.