Smriti Irani: From Miss India 1998 to Minister of India


Smriti Irani is a well-known name in Indian politics, as she currently serves as the Minister of Women and Child Development and the Minister of Minority Affairs in the Narendra Modi government. But before she entered the world of politics, she was an aspiring model and actress who participated in the Miss India beauty pageant in 1998. In this blog post, we will take a look at her journey from the ramp to the parliament.

Smriti Irani at Miss India 1998

Smriti Irani, then known as Smriti Malhotra, was born on 23 March 1976 in New Delhi. She came from a diverse family background, with her paternal family having Punjabi and Maharashtrian roots, and her maternal family being Bengali. She completed her schooling from Holy Child Auxilium School in New Delhi, and enrolled in the School of Open Learning at the University of Delhi.

She had a keen interest in modeling and acting since her childhood, and decided to pursue her dream by participating in the Miss India beauty pageant in 1998. She was one of the 25 finalists who competed for the coveted crown, along with other future celebrities like Gauri Pradhan, Tanushree Dutta, and Neha Dhupia.

She looked absolutely amazing in a bright orange sleeveless top and a short skirt as she confidently walked down the runway. She introduced herself as a 21-year-old student who was interested in politics and wanted to make a difference in the society. She also wore a hat that added to her charm and confidence.

However, she could not make it to the top 9, and had to bid farewell to her Miss India dream. The winner of the pageant was Lymaraina D’Souza, who represented India at the Miss World 1998 contest.

Smriti Irani’s rise to fame and fame

Smriti Irani did not give up on her passion for acting, and made her debut in 2000 with a TV show called Aatish. She also appeared in other shows like Hum Hain Kal Aaj Aur Kal and Kavita. But her breakthrough role came in 2000, when she was cast as Tulsi Virani in Ekta Kapoor’s mega serial Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi.

The show was a huge hit, and Smriti Irani became a household name. She won several awards and accolades for her portrayal of the ideal daughter-in-law, wife, mother, and grandmother. She also became one of the highest-paid TV actresses of her time. She continued to play the role of Tulsi for eight years, until she quit the show in 2008.

She also ventured into other genres of acting, such as comedy, drama, and thriller. She starred in shows like Thodi Si Zameen Thoda Sa Aasmaan, Virrudh, Mere Apne, and Teen Bahuraaniyaan. She also hosted and produced shows like Savdhaan India, Yeh Hai Jalwa, and Waaris. She also acted in a few films, such as Malik Ek, Jai Bolo Telangana, and All Is Well.

Smriti Irani’s entry into politics

Smriti Irani’s interest in politics was evident from her Miss India introduction, and she decided to join the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 2003. She became the vice-president of the Maharashtra Youth Wing in 2004, and the National Secretary of the party in 2010. She also became the president of the BJP Mahila Morcha, the women’s wing of the party, in 2010.

She contested her first election in 2004, from the Chandni Chowk constituency in Delhi, but lost to Kapil Sibal of the Congress. She tried her luck again in 2014, from the Amethi constituency in Uttar Pradesh, which was considered a bastion of the Gandhi family. She gave a tough fight to Rahul Gandhi, the then vice-president of the Congress, but lost by a margin of around one lakh votes.

However, she impressed the BJP leadership with her performance, and was rewarded with a cabinet berth in the Narendra Modi government in 2014. She became the Minister of Human Resource Development, and later the Minister of Textiles. She also became the Minister of Information and Broadcasting for a brief period in 2017.

In 2019, she again contested from Amethi, and this time, she created history by defeating Rahul Gandhi by a margin of more than 55,000 votes. She became the first non-Gandhi to win the seat, and the second woman after Sonia Gandhi to do so. She also became the youngest minister in the Modi cabinet, at the age of 43. She was given the charge of the Ministry of Women and Child Development, and the Ministry of Minority Affairs.

Smriti Irani’s achievements and controversies

Smriti Irani has been one of the most prominent and influential ministers in the Modi government, and has initiated several schemes and policies for the welfare of women, children, and minorities. She has also been vocal about various social and political issues, and has defended the government’s stand on various matters.

Some of her notable achievements include:

  • Launching the Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao campaign to save and educate the girl child.
  • Implementing the National Education Policy 2020 to reform the education system in India.
  • Introducing the POCSO Amendment Bill 2019 to provide stringent punishment for sexual crimes against children.
  • Spearheading the Swachh Bharat Mission to promote cleanliness and sanitation in the country.
  • Reviving the handloom and textile industry and promoting the Make in India initiative.
  • Supporting the abrogation of Article 370 and the Citizenship Amendment Act, which were aimed at integrating Jammu and Kashmir with the rest of India and providing citizenship to persecuted minorities from neighboring countries. 

However, she has also faced several controversies and criticisms for her actions and statements. Some of them include:

  • Her educational qualifications, which have been questioned and challenged in the court. She has been accused of providing false and contradictory information about her degrees in her election affidavits.
  • Her handling of the Rohith Vemula suicide case, which sparked a nationwide protest by students and activists. She was accused of being insensitive and biased towards the Dalit scholar, who committed suicide after being suspended from the University of Hyderabad.
  • Her confrontation with the students and faculty of the Jawaharlal Nehru University, who were arrested and charged with sedition for allegedly raising anti-national slogans. She was accused of interfering in the autonomy of the university and suppressing the freedom of expression.
  • Her decision to ban the screening of the documentary India’s Daughter, which was based on the 2012 Delhi gang rape case. She was accused of violating the right to information and censoring the media.
  • Her remarks on various issues, such as calling Durga a “feminist goddess”, comparing Mahishasura to a “rapist demon”, and mocking Rahul Gandhi’s foreign trips. She was accused of being communal, insensitive, and disrespectful.  

Smriti Irani’s personal life and family

Smriti Irani is married to Zubin Irani, a Parsi businessman, since 2001. She has three children, a daughter named Zoish, and two sons named Zohr and Zayn. She also has a step-daughter named Shanelle, from Zubin’s previous marriage.

She is a devout Hindu, and follows the rituals and customs of her faith. She also respects the Parsi culture of her husband, and celebrates their festivals. She is fluent in several languages, including Hindi, English, Bengali, Marathi, Gujarati, and Punjabi.

She really loves staying active and makes a habit of doing yoga and meditation regularly. She also enjoys reading, writing, and cooking. She is active on social media, and often shares her views and experiences with her followers. She has a huge fan following, and is admired by many for her achievements and personality.


Smriti Irani is a remarkable woman, who has risen from a humble background to become one of the most powerful and influential leaders in the country. She has faced many challenges and obstacles in her life, but has overcome them with courage and determination. She has proved her mettle in various fields, such as modeling, acting, and politics, and has made a mark in each of them. She is an inspiration for many, especially women, who aspire to achieve their dreams and goals. She is a true example of beauty with brains, and grace with guts.

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