Kiran Bedi, an Indian social activist and retired Indian Police Service (IPS) officer, was born on June 9, 1949, in Amritsar, Punjab. She was the second of four daughters born to Prakash Peshawariya and Prem Peshawariya.
Her parents made a number of sacrifices so that all their daughters could further their education and be successful in a male-dominated society. At a young age, Kiran Bedi took a liking to sports, especially tennis, and won the Asian Women’s Lawn Tennis Championship.
Even though the Indian society was not favourable towards women, Kiran Bedi did not lose hope. She struggled to be on par with men and at times, she even surpassed them in sports and education. In 1970, Kiran Bedi graduated with a Master’s degree in Political Science from Punjab University, Chandigarh, and became the topper of the class, disproving the fact that Indian women are inferior to men.
In 1970, Kiran Bedi graduated with a Master’s degree in Political Science from Punjab University, Chandigarh, and became the topper of the class, disproving the fact that Indian women are inferior to men.Kiran Bedi’s love for education and her determination to elevate India’s status pushed her to study Law at University of Delhi. And in 1993, Kiran Bedi obtained a PhD in Social Sciences from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, and completed her thesis on ‘Drug Abuse and Domestic Violence’.
JOURNEY IN THE CIVIL SERVICES
Kiran Bedi was an outstanding student, no doubt, but she was also a great civil servant. Since young, her efforts were diverted towards uplifting the society. To realise her dream, she joined IPS in 1972. In fact, she was the first woman to join IPS, and by doing so, she brought hope and light into the lives of girls and women in the country.
At IPS, Kiran Bedi was never deterred by tough assignments. She rose quickly in her career and served as Deputy Inspector General of Police in Mizoram, Advisor to the Lieutenant Governor of Chandigarh, Director General of Narcotics Control Bureau, and Civilian Police Advisor in the United Nations (UN) peacekeeping operations.
Kiran Bedi’s hard work, perseverance and dedication paid off and she was awarded a UN medal for her outstanding work with the UN. As an Inspector General of Prisons at Tahir Jail, from 1993 to 1995, she came up with a number of reforms in the management of the prison, and initiated several programs such as detoxifications programs, Art of Living courses, and literacy programs and yoga, for which she was awarded the 1994 Ramon Magsaysay Award.
Her last appointment at IPS was as Director General of India’s Bureau of Police Research and Development.
And in 2007, Kiran Bedi took voluntary retirement from IPS to take up other social challenges. She has founded two non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in India – the Navjyoti India Foundation and the Indian Vision Foundation. Since her retirement, she has been actively involved in women empowerment programs, community development programs and prison reforms. For her efforts, she was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Law and her NGOs were awarded the Serge Soitiroff Memorial Award by the UN.
Kiran Bedi is a key member of the India Against Corruption movement. She condemns corruption and her efforts to get the government to enact a strong Lokpal Bill paid off when the Parliament passed a resolution to consider three points in the drafting of the Lokpal Bill. Even though she was arrested for her anti-corruption protests, she never gave up. This is something that we can learn from Kiran Bedi. We should follow the mantra, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going”.
Kiran Bedi has also been awarded the ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ by the Bank of Baroda in 2008, ‘MSN Most Admired Indian Female Icon 2011’, “President’s Gallantry Award’, and ‘Bharatiya Manavata Vikas Puraskar’. Hard work and determination never go unnoticed.
Kiran Bedi did not give up when the government was against her; she stood by her principles and rose in her career and education. Kiran Bedi is not just a role model for women, but she is a role model for men too.