Kiran Bedi, India's first woman IPS officer who joined police services in 1972 and served the country for 35 years, is now the Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry.
Kiran Bedi earned a reputation of being tough a cop who broke new grounds. She is known to have stood her ground refusing to buckle under any pressure while she was a police officer. In her long career, her focus was to prevent crimes, reform criminals and prisons, fight against drug abuse, support women's rights. All this earned her a Ramon Magsaysay Award in 1994.
She excelled at sports too, specially tennis. Besides being a sports player, Kiran Bedi is an author, a social activist, and a recipient of the UN Medal for outstanding service. She is a law graduate from Delhi University and did PhD from IIT, Delhi.
As Lt Governor, her focus is sanitation, hygiene and supervising the cleaning of a canal to making sure that encroachments are removed. She holds a wide range of administrative experiences.
WittyFeed traces the journey of Kiran Bedi who is an inspiration to millions of women.
Born in June 1949, Kiran Bedi has been a simple woman with a strong mind, character, courage and strategies who always put people's interest at the forefront. She is former Asian Lawn Tennis champion, an academician, a motivational speaker, and a social activist. She was appointed civilian police adviser in the department of UN peacekeeping operations.
Kiran Bedi came from a family where her parents encouraged her and her three sisters to break new grounds and gave them the freedom to follow their heart. All of them enjoyed playing tennis and were always on the court.
Dr Kiran Bedi is an inspiration not only to her daughter Saina who is a social activist but to all women. But do you know who is Bedi's inspiration? Her parents.
Kiran Bedi's father Prakash Peshawaria and her mother Prem Peshawaria are her role models. They created an environment in the house which prompted the four sisters to choose the vocation of their choice.
She became an NCC cadet at the age of 14. Gradually, she imbibed the discipline needed for an NCC cadet and began to enjoy the life that came with it. This helped her to choose police services later.
Bedi scored good marks in UPSC examinations and could have chosen IAS but instead, she opted for IPS. According to her, the government is an agent of change and she wanted to make a difference. She chose to be an IPS officer because of her sensitivity to injustice. This is how Kiran Bedi became India's first woman IPS officer.
The no-nonsense cop had the guts to tow away former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi's car when she was deputy police commissioner in Delhi. She ordered traffic department to tow away any wrongly parked car.
This earned her the sobriquet 'Crane Bedi'. Bedi also opened a bridge for traffic that was to be inaugurated by Indira Gandhi. She did this to solve the problem of increasing traffic congestion on the road.
The achievements of Kiran Bedi also include working for organisations involved in socio-economic uplift of the society.
Navjyoti India Foundation incorporated in 1988 focuses on education, skills and self-reliance of people who come from marginalised sections of society. India Vision Foundation is another organisation with which Kiran Bedi worked. It focuses on the education of the prisoner's children, skill training for rehabilitation and other related works.
A few years back, Navjyoti India Foundation had come under scanner for receiving funds from people whom the tax authority had questioned about their sources of income.
Delhi's Tihar jail was infamous for gang wars, violence, corruption and other anti-social elements. As a police official, Kiran Bedi took up the responsibility to check all this. She reached out to jail inmates by understanding their needs and providing them with an environment where they could look within themselves.
She implemented the 3C model, which stood for collective, corrective and community-based prison management. It was under this model that meditation, yoga, music, arts and craft, holistic medicine, education and care for children were introduced. She made the inmates to do yoga and set up a library to educate them so that they could find a job after their release.
Kiran Bedi was Delhi's Chief Ministerial candidate and also the in charge of the campaign committee for Bharatiya Janata Party. But she lost the 2015 elections.
Kiran Bedi joined the force in 1972 and took a voluntary retirement in 2007. From being the first lady IPS officer to becoming the Delhi Traffic Police Chief to managing the most notorious jail to becoming the Director General of Bureau of Police Research and Development Cell, Bedi changed everything she took charge of.
She was one of the first police officials to introduce prison reforms in the country that helped in improving the condition of prisoners in Tihar jail.
Even as a teenager, Kiran had to face sexism whether it was on the tennis court or other places but she was never the one to take it lying down. She fought back and succeeded. The difficulties and challenges that could have stopped her growth were turned into opportunities by her. Even her PhD work and book-writing were a result of the transfers and postings she didn't want.
Even after retiring as an IPS official, she shows the same enthusiasm to work more and more. Kiran Bedi said, "I think it's also a great sense of gratitude for what I have that keeps me going. I want to do more. I want to share more. I want to create more. I want to give more."
She continues to work for the country as an agent of social change. She still keeps a busy schedule. Her fitness mantra is good sleep. She said, "She keeps up with it with sound sleep followed by a morning walk and meditation. Since she loves her work, it doesn't stress her. Bedi likes to read spiritual books.
Kiran Bedi could focus on her work because her family understood that her duty towards the nation is more important.
There were several occasions when her family took a back seat but her husband Brij Bedi always supported her even though they had their differences. "I have an understanding family, so I made the most of my life," Bedi said.
"Behind every successful man there is a woman but I am the man behind a successful woman," Brij Bedi had remarked once.
Her life has been full of personal and professional achievements, as she faced several challenges being a woman police officer and then as a politician. But she overcame them all. According to Bedi, "When you stay alert, why would you run into trouble?"
Besides her family, several other people inspire her. They include:
Mahatma Gandhi: For his life-long sacrifice and service for humanity.
Swami Vivekananda: For going beyond barriers to attaining all-inclusive spirituality.
Mother Teresa: For her selfless devotion.
J Krishnamurti: For his rational call for internal revolution in every human being.
Golda Meir: For being a true leader who ruled Isreal with an iron fist.
Kiran Bedi's following statements define her attitude towards life, work and self-discovery.
* My motto in life is that nothing is impossible, no target unachievable – one just has to try harder and harder."