She was born on January 18, 1956 into a Dalit family in Delhi and grew up with eight siblings in a modest home in a crowded neighbourhood. Her father Mr. Prabhudayal was employed as a supervisor with the Post and Telegraph department in Delhi and her mother Ram Lata was housewife. Her family traces its roots to Baadalpur village of the then Bulandshahar and now Ghaziabad district of UP.
According to her, Her relatives' used to live in huts and were always in the most neglected and impoverished part of the village.
She did a BA and LLB from Kalindi College at Delhi University and later took a BEd degree from Delhi University.
According to her father, her biggest qualities was her fighting spirit. He believes she draws her fighting spirit from her grandfather who was a soldier and has fought in Italy in World War I. A Italian Connection here also!!!
Between 1977 and 1984, she taught at various schools run by the Delhi administration. She left teaching in 1984 and joined Kanshi Ram, who had by then floated a non-political outfit, the Backward and Minority Communities Employees Federation, and the DS-4, another organisation set up to look after the interests of Dalits and Backward castes.
She contested her first Lok Sabha election from Kairana (Muzaffarnagar) in December 1984, but could not win. She then contested the Lok Sabha by-election to Bijnor and Hardwar in 1985 and 1987 respectively. She stood second with 1.39 lakh votes in the Hardwar by-election.
She was elected to the Lok Sabha for the first time in 1989 from the Bijnor seat. from then she never looked back.
She became chief minister of Uttar Pradesh for the first time with the BJP's support on June 3, 1995. In 1997, She again became UP Chief Minister with an agreement between BJP and BSP that both parties would have its own chief minister by rotation for six months each. However, At the end of her six-month tenure, Mayawati withdrew support from the coalition government, saying the Dalit Act had not been properly implemented in the state.
Her third tenure as UP chief minister commenced on May 3, 2002 but abruptly ended on July 25, 2003 after the Taj Heritage Corridor scam surfaced. The Supreme Court ordered a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into the controversy. Later, the apex court also ordered a probe into the alleged disproportionate assets of Mayawati and her family.
Last year, her income was estimated at an impressive Rs 52 crore, while she has already grossed Rs 60 crore and is expected to close the fiscal with an even bigger kitty. Till the December quarter, the Dalit leader had paid Rs 15 crore advance tax.
Based on her Rs 9.7 crore payout on December 15, Mayawati was already ranked 18th in the all-India individual taxpayers category, a remarkable rise for the former government schoolteacher. And based on her payments till December, which amounted to Rs 15 crore, she was placed 19th. She is ranked a few notches below Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan in the advance tax list. Not only is Mayawati's income more than that of any politician, she ranks higher than the Ambani brothers, Birlas, Bachchans, Ratan Tata and Infosys' Nandan Nilekani. Kumaramangalam Birla trails the Dalit leader, at 57th place, while the richest cricketer, 'Master Blaster' Tendulkar is a distant 85th. Aamir Khan is placed even farther, at a not-so-impressive 123rd. She has attributed her remarkable financial rise to her supporters who had given her large amounts of cash and pledged their personal properties out of "love and affection" and for the welfare of the downtrodden and the Dalits.
On her 47th Birthday, her birthday bash cost the state exchequer around Rs10 crore, Even by conservative estimates
She is None other that Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati