INDIA. Aurangabad, Maharashtra. Anjali Dhanorkar’s life story is an inspiration for thousands of people who are toiling hard to make their lives worth noting. She is the Director of Revenue Training Academy (aka Deputy Collector) in the office of the Revenue Department in Aurangabad, India. She is a multitasking, dynamic and innovative person, but her most notable contribution has been raising awareness about the importance of soft skills. She is a passionate social worker and works to uproot the causes of inequality.
Early interest in soft skills. Her father and uncle did menial jobs for daily expenses. She was aware since early childhood that her future solely depended on her education and intellect. She was a meritorious student from an early age. In an interview with Transcontinental Times, she recalled, “I used to write essays and articles in my school days which became popular among the students of the school. At annual gatherings, my speeches always got a better response.” Team building, leadership, and motivation skills were developed during her school days. To be a government officer was always in her mind, so she decided to pursue a BA in the social sciences.
Clearing government exams. After clearing her university exams, she studied hard for Maharashtra Public Service Commission (MPSC) examination. She cleared it on her first attempt in 1997. She was posted as an executive magistrate (Tehsildar) at Aurangabad in November 1998. She said, ”During this period between clearing the exam and joining the post, I decided to go for masters in journalism.” She was put in charge of the forest department where, under her supervision, the department achieved ISO 9001:2008 certification.
Soft skills take on life-saving importance. While discharging her duties as Executive Magistrate, she began to speak at public functions, schools, colleges and corporate sectors about the importance of soft skills. “Words create the world” is her tagline. “Through words, you can impart a positive change in anybody’s life,” she said. She realized quickly that her efforts were bringing positive results, so she provided more such sessions and workshops. One day, she heard of an IIT student’s suicide. It immediately made her realize the importance of soft skills, especially for stressed university students. She said, ”Had he been aware of the principles of time, stress, and relation management, [perhaps] he could have avoided such a drastic step.” This incident inspired her to write a book on soft skill development. In her book, Vyaktimatva Vikasasathi Soft Skills (Soft Skills for Developing Personality), she emphasized that a successful and stress-free life needs only 15% academic skill but requires 85% soft skill proficiency. Her writings are now in the syllabus of two prestigious universities.
Sakhi polling booth concept. In the 2017 Khullatabad elections, Anjali decided to establish four women-run polling booths (sakhi booths). All workers from the polling officers, contesting candidates, staff, and the police forces were women. The model became very successful and later spread across India. She said, “There was a significant risk in this idea, a slight error and I would have been held responsible for the mess.” But her faith in herself and the hard work and support of other women helped the elections to run smoothly.
Raising health awareness during COVID-19. Anjali has turned her attention to ebb the spread of COVID-19 by creating videos in the local Marathi language about necessary precautions to take to protect oneself and one’s community. She integrates this message into her speeches as well. With her speeches, she is also curbing the social stigma related to this disease. Her efforts are bringing positive results.
She believes,” Wherever you go, try to create something new. Creativity is the ultimate strength of an individual.”