Kiran Bedi : More than just a police officer!
There are some illustrious women born in every era who show the world that an individual’s effort in changing the ways of the world for the better can actually make a difference. Kiran Bedi is certainly one of those people who have made India proud in more ways than one. Besides being the first woman to be placed in the IPS, which she optimally utilized to bring about constructive reforms, she also has many laudable social contributions to her credit. And she deserves accolades for them all.
She has founded two NGOs in India, the first being 'Navjyoti' aimed at welfare and preventive policing in 1987, and 'India Vision Foundation' in 1994, for incorporating various reforms in the prison dealing with drug abuse prevention and child welfare. The former went on to become a motivational force for other state police all across the nation. Bedi became the recipient of the Asia Region Award for her contribution as a government servant in the field of drug abuse in the South Asian region. Simultaneously, Navjyoti was also honoured with the National Award for the outstanding work it had delivered, both in the years of 1989 and 1992. The Economic and Social Council of the United Nations accorded it a Special Consulative Status, for being an instrumental organ in the area of international social reforming, it was awarded the Serge Sotiroff Memorial Award sponsored by the UN in the year 1999.
Around 12,000 drug addicts in Delhi and its neighbouring states were rid of their addiction owing to Navjyoti. This detoxification was brought about by measures such as multi-disciplinary treatments, medical and psycho-social steps as well as innovative programmes like ‘Community Out Reach’ to eradicate such an evil malady from the society, as much as it could.
During her tenure in Tihar Jail as the Inspector General of Prisons (1993-95) a number of reforms were introduced and enforced in the management of the prison, such as detoxification programs, Vipassana meditation, yoga asanas, literacy programs etc. India Vision Foundation started off its work within the prison, such as by establishing a bread making unit in it, for the inmates’ welfare. The profits procured from there was collected in the Prisoners’ Welfare Fund. Later it also set up a nursery that grew and marketed rare saplings. The earnings from this enterprise also went to the welfare fund.
Post-retirement, Bedi’s website www.saferindia.com was launched on January 3, 2007. Through this website, she aimed to help those whose complaints did not reach the police. The TV series Aap ki Kachehri (2009-2010) hosted and judged by her brought into the forefront a mass awareness campaign against domestic violence. The Navjyoti India Foundation has now taken up other social issues such as illiteracy and empowerment of women. The Lokpal movement, also referred to as the India Against Corruption movement had her as one of its prominent members, along with Anna Hazare and Arvind Kejriwal.
In her, we have a “leader”, a social activist, in the true sense of the term, who can not only take initiatives undauntedly out of her genuine concern for the upliftment of the society, but can also persevere to achieve them. We need more women like her to create a better, healthier society. Kudos to her bravado, integrity and will-power to stick to her ideals till she reaches the culmination of her dream- a dream that is not confined to an individual, but to the society at large!