Pratibha Patils election as the First Woman President of India might have sent a tinge of elation in the hearts and minds of citizens had Magsaysay award winner Kiran Bedi’s randomity of being superseded not have occurred the same day.
Vying for the top post of Commissioner in the country’s capital, Kiran Bedi made her displeasure known when her junior Y.S.Dadwal outraced her by measures other than merit and seniority. Kiran in her signature style, forthright, dispassionate, stoic almost yogic , elucidated on her deserving the Chief of Police distinction, while drawing attention as to how Dadwal was unfairly appointed.
Speaking to a news channel Kiran Bedi expressed jocularly that she was not caught totally off guard by the decision. In fact she would have been surprised had she been appointed. Not the first instance when her sincere, honest, unbiased, fair, approach to her work has led her to be the most unpopular cop among the others of her fraternity, paradoxically a hit with the masses, her juniors and the ‘junta’ at large. Being publicly acclaimed is hardly reason for promotion , so say our bureaucrats..They have less use of an honest woman cop who unflinchingly performs her duties , sometimes even if they involve hauling up her peers/seniors.
Purity and sincerity of intention is underrated, devalued and as much in disuse as the 25 paise coin.. no longer in circulation..fit to be treasured a century later as a numismatic but sorely inconsequential, today.
As if this was not enough, Kiran Bedi happens to be a woman..perhaps another hidden cause for this blatant flagration. Gender bias.. she opines:
This is the third of the series. The senior-most woman lost out as the Cabinet Secretary, and then we had Veena Sikri’s case lost out in the IFS,” she told NDTV.
Bedi was referring to Women and Child Development Secretary, Reva Nayyar’s case wherein she lost out on a chance to become the Cabinet Secretary despite being the senior-most IAS officer.
Empty rhetoric and its worthlessness that often embellishes speeches by politicians when averring on womens rights and status of women in India today, has been clearly exposed. We are supposed to be horrified, angry and disgruntled. Not just because it is a woman who has been deprived of her due! In fact while that may be one of the factors that has determined the arbitrary decision, it definitely is not the purpose of this post.
Here is an individual who has been an icon for the last 30 years of her career achieving the impossible, a trailblazer marching on fearlessly unwaveringly and setting an example of what quiet resoluteness, inner strength and determination can achieve. When such a person is demoted, (it amounts to that doesnt it) we as right minded citizens are supposed to rise up in indignation and voice our protest. Why should a wrong not be slammed? Why should we accept it as gospel? Why should answers not be sought?
Whilst her personality and list of achievements has been the source of umpteen morale boosting perk ups to aspiring women , her name as if generic with ‘confidence’ all over the country and beyond,, nevertheless, this event will most certainly dampen spirits , put women on the defensive, somewhere resigned to the undesirable phenomenon of gender bias. It is sad that what constitutes ‘merit’ for most, alters conspicuously for her seniors whose perspective on the matter seems radically tangential. her life has been a story of struggle, not the least to do with her gender.
“Policing has the ‘power to correct’ the ‘power to do’ and the ‘power to get things done’…Kiran Bedi
Perhaps a read through of her achievements is a must to enable better understanding at the outrage most Indians feel today.
The Home Ministry officials are expectedly immune to the uproar. What is so telling about the set notions fostered in minds of these officials is this rather anachronistic statement by one of the brigade, while acridly commenting on her objections” Behaviour like this is exactly one of the reasons why she never made it to the post … She could never work within the system and improve it,” an official said.
True..so true.. My good sir.. She could never work within the system now could she! Especially when the ‘system’ expects that top officers maintain a profile that has as its component an ‘adjustment’ gratis, when required and turning a Nelsons eye as well.
If it will help prove anything, let me inform you of this snippet. Mr. Dadwal, the recently instated Commissioner, as one of the channels inform us, was present in the party when Jessica Lall was murdered. Let me also remind you it was a pub owned by Bina Ramani. Kiran Bedi had the gumption in her tenure not to attend these systemic social dos, hobnob with the ‘system’ off hours.. I guess this is what the official was referring to when he declared that ‘she could never work within the system’.
If anything her reforms in the Tihar jail which etched out a blueprint for inmates to be treated as humans even though prisoners had won her many an award and distinction. In her absence recently, 600 approx prisoners died inside the precincts of the jail due to lack of proper infrastructure. Her reforms in the system to do with junior level police officials was ready to be executed had she gained entry to this office. However, its more about creating an environment comfortable for the powers who be , greasing machinery that facilitates ‘claptrap’ speeches on ‘India Posited’ than it is for taking India forward practically. If this does not prove it nothing will.
We have a long way to go before we can even begin hoping that transparency in matters that pertain to judiciary, police and such like important portfolios will be above board and conditions meliorate for its adherence.Till such time, all we can and should do is leave no opportunity to express disgust , put up a resistance, for whatever it is worth. Atleast we are not committing the cardinal sin of apathy, lassitude and impassiveness over an alleged misdeed.