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Home > News > Interview

The Rediff Interview/IPS officer Kiran Bedi

'I want to hand over on a winning note'

November 27, 2007


Kiran Bedi
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'I have no feelings of remorse'

Minutes after the news broke that Kiran Bedi, the first woman Indian Police Service officer, had sought voluntary retirement, media crews galloped to 2 Talkatora Road, which has been the top lady cop's residence in New Delhi for more than two decades.

Bedi, who won the Magsaysay award for the reforms she introduced in Delhi's Tihar Jail, had publicly
expressed her anguish after the central government decided to appoint Y S Dadwal as the Delhi police commissioner. Dadwal is two years junior to her in service. She later went on protest leave on July 25, but returned to work within days.

In an exclusive interview with Senior Associate Editor Onkar Singh, the chief of the Bureau of Police Research and Development said she did not care what happened in the past.

When did you decide to quit the police service?

I would say that I took this decision two weeks ago.

Are you disappointed that you were not allowed to head the Delhi police?

Initially, I tried to understand how an individual took such a decision. I may have said something then. But that is past and life moves on. I do not believe in living in either the future or the past. I live in the present and I have told this to a number of media-persons. I would like to thank you all.

How painful was it to take this decision?

Painful? It was a joy. I believe that you should shake off status quo and rise to new challenges. You have been an old friend and should be able to see that I feel light. There is no responsibility on my shoulders. I will continue to go to my office till I pass on the responsibility to someone else. We have managed to bring in planned funds and I want to hand over on a winning note. I want a good academic officer to take over from me.

What are the new challenges that you are looking at?

You start life all over again. You have a new home, new office, new staff, a new time-table, new goals and new people. Writing and lectures will go hand in hand.

Don't you think you could have your own institute to teach leadership skills to enterprising students?

No, it takes a lot of time. There are already institutes which cover all this. Our second non-governmental organisation -- India Vision Foundation -- is about police reforms, empowerment of women, prison reforms and police reforms. I can continue to work from there. I set it up in 1984 after I got the Magsaysay award. I think this is why awards are given. When I set up this foundation I did not realise it would become my life's vocation.

Is there something that needs to be done, but you have not been able to?

Till now I have done all that I wanted to achieve in my life. And that is why I am raising more challenges.

What do you plan to do?

I have offers from Indian and foreign universities to teach on leadership qualities. I would begin with an Indian university first. We could talk about it later on.

Some of your erstwhile colleagues in the Delhi police are critical of some senior police officers running NGOs?

This is their opinion. They are entitled to their point of view. I firmly believe that everybody need not be appreciative of everything. I respect that because it is their perspective.

What challenges did you enjoy the most while dealing with them?

It is very difficult to say. Every challenge has its own unique problems. Traffic management during the 1982 Asian Games was one of them. Present-day gadgets were not there to help you. But I managed to run the show with the help of home guards and students and that earned me the name of 'Crain Bedi'.

Then comes the policing aspect. Those were the days when you had to sleep with your boots on because of terrorism in Punjab. Due to non-availability of force we had to use chowkidars (watchmen) as policemen. You had no budget. The whole thing came through various NGOs. Now you have to deal with fidayeen attacks. The challenges now are totally different. In the Bureau of Public Research and Development, we have signed memorandums of understanding with more than 50 universities.

Are you planning to take a break before you pick up the threads of life?

I do not need any rest. I enjoy my work and at work, I rest. I rest with my good work. My day begins early in the morning when I go for a morning walk and ends when I feel that I am tired. I love the day as it comes.


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