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“Democracy gives opportunities,” said Renuka Chowdhury. “There I was, a married woman, expecting my second child. I became active in politics, and have now been a member of Parliament for 20 years. I got onto a roller coaster, full of thrills and ups and downs. Sometimes it allows you no control.”

There speaks an Indian woman who sat tight on the roller coaster, kept her nerve and won through to become a minister of state. “What does it take to be a minister? It takes a lot of time, and honesty to yourself. You have to be able to be introspective,” she said.

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