The Managing Trustee of Priyadarshani Group of Schools, SSarita Siingh recently got into an exclusive chat with NewsX for its special segment NewsX A-list. Ssarita Siingh is an entrepreneur, educationist and a media expert. A role model for many women, Ssarita Singh has paved her way into world of films and education.
Ssarita was appointed at her father’s school at the tender age of 16 years and started as an assistant teacher with a meager salary of 150 rupees. With an inherent passion for teaching, she worked hard and never complained despite the challenges that came her way. She particularly remembered her father’s teachings of working hard rather than receiving everything on a silver platter. She took the lesson and within a matter of five years, she started teaching all classes and taking command of the administrative work.
However, Ssarita soon realised that her family had different expectations from her. Facing the brunt of gender discrimination at home, Ssarita decided to move out of her parent’s residence at the age of 21 years. With just 2000 rupees in her pocket, she reached Mumbai. After living on the street for a day, she settled in a chawl. However, she did not let the bad times dampen her spirits. Sarita soon got her first official job with Macmillan Publishing House. With perseverance and hard work, she later got promoted as the Corporate Head.
She subsequently started making independent films. Once she began her journey in the film industry of India, she hit another roadblock after the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) banned one of her films. However, she was later offered a position as an Advisory Panel Member at the Censor Board of Film Certification, Mumbai. After three years, she realised monopoly that was underplay at CBFC, i.e the fate of the filmmaker, cast and crew lies in the hands of just four people.
During her stint in board panel, she got in touch with Boney Kapoor. Post that, she served as an adviser and consultant to him for a few years. She even worked as a creative consultant with Sahara One Media and Entertainment Ltd and pursued many independent endeavours with Bollywood insiders and industry personnel. Having gained considerable insight into Bollywood and the CBFC, she started working as a Box Office Analyst and started writing articles on latest releases and box office collections.
Her journey in the entertainment industry came to an end after being the Head of Carnival cinemas. She realised that her calling was always being an educator and returned to teaching. Ssarita describes her journey quite literally as a ‘roller coaster ride’ and she did indeed do a full circle in her career.
Coming from a traditional Rajput family, she faced gender discrimination. She was often denied permission to do a lot of things just because she is a woman. She faced many difficulties due to India’s inherent patriarchal set up and experienced several double standards, especially at work. She took those experiences in her stride and came out stronger to be the person she is now.
On being asked about nepotism and its existence in the industry, she responded that it is something that has been in existence since ages. She added that such sort of a hierarchical set up is prevalent in all sectors, especially the corporate world. She does not take sides but she believes that it goes hand-in-hand.
When asked about how she has been coping with the difficulties that have come with a pandemic, especially with the changes in education sector, she expressed that apart from online teaching, her schools have been conducting regular counseling sessions with the parents as they play a major part in a child’s teaching life. These online sessions also focus on soft skills and etiquettes as she believes that mathematics and science often take a back seat but life skills don’t and students must learn them.
Her group of schools primarily focuses on providing the mental, emotional and moral support to students, which they particularly need during a pandemic. She believes the current education system of India is not purposeful enough. She has contributed to the education system by bringing MCF, Martial Cadet Training, Skills and etiquette programs. Her group of schools has also collaborated with the Human Rights Office in San Francisco, USA.
Speaking about the same, she emphasised that despite the fact that human rights are an important part of curriculum; schools rarely conduct classes on this subject. Therefore, her group of schools focuses on training the students and equipping them with mediums to comfortably adapt to the future and have the confidence to face any difficulty in the world.
When asked about her mantra to being such a strong and inspiring woman, she replied that one should never be used to a routine. She feels being in a comfort zone means not being able to achieve anything further. Hence, she urges young women to never lose their integrity and keep working hard towards achieving their goals.