Five reasons why Kiran Bedi is Delhi’s best bet
The surprise anointing of Kiran Bedi as the BJP chief ministerial candidate in Delhi has electrified and transformed the battle for Delhi. But is Kiran Bedi, one time Delhi cop, and now a social activist, up to it? We give you five reasons why we think she is.
1. From ‘that girl’ to ‘madam sir’
A Ph.D. holder from IIT. A national and Asian tennis champion. A lecturer at the Khalsa College for Women in Amritsar. Yet, in 1972, Kiran Bedi chose to become India’s first woman to join the Police Services. It was her ‘urge to be outstanding’ that constantly drove her to rise above the ordinary.
Legend has it that during a riot in Old Delhi in her early years as a police woman, she was given the assignment of rescuing women and children trapped in a burning house.
Kiran Bedi drenched herself in water, daringly broke into the house and rescued the first person she could reach. Seeing this, the other police officers repeated exactly what she did. All 17 trapped inside the house were saved.
Since that day, “that girl” quickly changed to “madam sir” to address her.
See the fire rescue incident
The fire rescue incident from 1.35 to 2.25 minutes in the video
Within three years of joining the police force, Kiran Bedi became the first woman to lead a police contingent during the Republic Day parade. She was one of the youngest Indians to receive a gallantry medal for her gutsy efforts in preventing violence during the Akali-Nirankari clashes on the streets of the national capital.
3. When the going gets tough…
She served in a number of challenging assignments. Traffic Commissioner of New Delhi, Deputy Inspector General of Police in insurgency prone Mizoram, Advisor to the Lieutenant Governor of Chandigarh, Director General of Narcotics Control Bureau, and not to mention a United Nations deputation, where she became the Civilian Police Advisor in the United Nations Peacekeeping department. She left an indelible mark in each role.
4. The lady who towed away the PM’s car
In 1982, Kiran Bedi popularly became known as ‘Crane Bedi’. This unofficial title was earned for towing away the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s car for parking violation by using a crane (a novelty then). The incident became part of common lore.
5. She transformed Asia’s biggest prison
She was sent to Tihar Jail as the IG of prisons. Then considered a ‘punishment’ posting. She lost no time in cutting through the inhumane and corrupt system to bring in meditation, yoga, music, education, arts and crafts, holistic medicine, and childcare for the inmates. She really transformed Tihar from a prison to what it should be – a correctional centre.
As a foreword to a book about her titled Always Possible, His Holiness the Dalai Lama writes: “Serving humanity even beyond the responsibilities of one’s duties calls for special human beings. Kiran Bedi is one of them. As a woman and as an officer, her compassion, concern and total commitment towards social issues, whether in the fields of drug control or prison administration at Tihar Jail, have earned her unusual distinction.”
Whatever challenge that has been thrown at her so far, she has tackled with rare courage and commitment. The potential Delhi appointment may not prove to be any different.
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