Mayawati is today the most powerful dalit leader in the country. She had been four times Chief Minister of India's most populous state UP.
Mayawati was born on 15 January 1956 at Shrimati Sucheta Kriplani Hospital in New Delhi. Her father, Prabhu Das, was a post office employee at Badalpur, Gautam Buddha Nagar.
Mayawati belongs to the Jatav caste which is at the upper end of the scheduled castes.
After completeing her B.A. and B.Ed., Mayawati was working as school teacher in Inderpuri JJ Colony, Delhi and was preparing for IAS examination. Kanshi Ram visited her family home at that time in 1977 and convinced Mayawati to join politics instead of trying to get into IAS.
Kanshi Ram told Mayawati, “I can make you such a big leader one day that not one but a whole row of IAS officers will line up for your orders."
Mayawati was the part of founding member of Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) which Kanshi Ram formed in 1984.
Mayawati was first elected to Parliament in 1989.
Both Kanshi Ram and Mayawati followed Buddhist tradition. Mayawati has not converted to Buddhism keeping an eye on caste factor in Indian politics.
At Kanshi Ram's funeral in 2006, Mayawati said she will formally convert to Buddhism when the political conditions enable her to become Prime Minister of India.