Always a crusader
Thursday, August 18, 2011 AT 11:12 PM (IST)
Kiran Bedi was deputy superintendent of police (traffic) in Goa when I got acquainted with her as the crime reporter of a local newspaper. The first woman to join the Indian Police Service, she had efficiently handled her responsibility in the traffic department during the ninth Asian Games in Delhi. During the preparations for this prestigious event, Bedi had earned the nickname Crane Bedi as she used to tow away vehicles of the mighty, including those of the staffers of them prime minister Indira Gandhi from the no-parking zones. Bedi was transferred to Goa, specially for coordinating the traffic movement during the Commonwealth heads of government meet (CHOGM) which was to be held in 1983.
The CHOGM was to be attended by nearly 40 heads of the Commonwealth nations, including British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, although British Queen Elizabeth was to return home after attending the New Delhi leg of the meet. It was one of the important assignments in Bedi's career. As a crime reporter, I often accompanied Bedi when she conducted recce of the travel routes of the VVIPs from Dabolim airport to the Fort Aguada beach resort. I found that she was a no-nonsense officer and totally committed to her work. And she would not tolerate anyone's dereliction of duty. I was in my early 20s and did not realise that I was in company with an extraordinary government official.
After the conclusion of the CHOGM retreat, Bedi moved out again to New Delhi. She continued her commitment to work and continued to perform with zeal, no matter what post she was given. For reasons not clear, Bedi was rarely given field posts. Nonetheless she has shone wherever she was sent to do that sort of work. Even while holding the otherwise non-significant post of inspector general of police of Tihar jail, she managed to come out with a wonderful achievement, introducing many reforms in the high-security prison.
What is so remarkable about Kiran Bedi is that she has remained a consistent crusader for social causes throughout her career as a police officer and now has continued it as a civil society activists along with Anna Hazare. She has tried to cleanse the system from whatever level she was from time to time. On her nickname 'Crane Bedi,' she has written in her blog, “A crane removes obstacles -- something I have tried to do all my life.” The country needs many more of her tribe.