Despite the confining boundaries of a happy household under the pretext of protecting them from the dangerous world outside their home, women in India, nevertheless, year after year, have taken bold and determined steps to assert their choices, free will, and decisions at home and in the society at large, commanding respect for themselves that was often restricted to their male counterparts. However, this fight for gender equality did not come easy particularly with respect to India, especially in the field of law enforcement. It is evident in the exclusion of women candidates from the Indian Police Services, after its inception, which changed in the year 1972, when Kiran Bedi not only joined the IPS batch as the only woman in the group but also qualified as the first woman IPS officer.
Here are some of the eminent women IPS officers of India whose contributions to law enforcement glisten as beacons for the other young Indian women to follow:
Commemorating the contributions of women IPS officers in India is insufficient without mentioning Kiran Bedi, the first female IPS who served the nation in that esteemed post for 35 years. Even after her retirement, Kiran is remembered for her reformative works in Tihar jail. She is also the first Indian woman to have been appointed Police Advisor to the UN Secretary-General for the Peacekeeping Operations department. Besides being a fierce officer, she is also an author and head of the Indian Vision Foundation.
This young lady joined IPS in the year 2006 and soon became the Iron Lady of Assam within 15 months of her posting. Assam has always been a turbulent zone due to the militant activities of the Bodo group and some radicals from Bangladesh that terrorize the local people. However, Sanjukta took up the daunting task of leading a CRPF team in the militant-controlled Sonitpur district and taking down 16 Bodo militants.
Dr. Meera Chadha Borwankar
Dr. Meera is the first female head of the Mumbai Crime Branch Department whose inspiring journey for future women ips officers led to the making of the Rani Mukherjee starrer movie, Mardaani. Having started her career as an IPS officer in 1981 from Maharashtra, she even became the DCP of Mumbai. She is also accredited for her contribution towards resolving cases like the Iqbal Mirchi case, Yakub Menon’s case, Abu Salem extradition, and so on. She was rewarded with the President’s Medal in the year 1997 and also the Director General’s Insignia.
It is unanimously agreed by everyone that clearing the UPSC exams is not an easy feat, and requires merit, perseverance, and presence of mind along with unwavering dedication towards the goal. Aparajita Rai from Sikkim appeared and cleared the exam twice. It was on her second attempt that she made her hometown proud by securing the highest scores, finally becoming the first woman IPS officer from the Gorkha community, which became the beacon of hope for the women ips officers from her region.
This young IPS officer was posted in Himachal Pradesh, and she didn’t waste any time in starting an investigation on the reigning drug mafia of the state. Taking up such a risky investigation at the initial stages of a career might sound like a stupid idea for the faint-hearted but not for this intrepid young officer. While overseeing the Sirmaur District for two consecutive years, Soumya did not only maintain law and order, even solving 6 murder cases, but also shouldered the responsibility of teaching self-defence to the young students of the schools and colleges of the area. Just as an ideal guide would do, Soumya made sure that these girls learned the use of easily available household items like pepper sprays to defend themselves.
It takes strategy and a cunning mind to stand against a calculative and manipulative enemy but it takes a lot of guts to stand against your superior knowing the consequences won’t be too palatable to digest. Sangeeta Kalia joined as an IPS officer from Haryana in the year 2015 where she soon became quite a popular and revered officer. Soon enough she sent out a clear message to everyone that she was not the one to bow down in front of just everyone when her reported argument with the health minister of Haryana became public where she had remained in her position even after the minister had ordered her to get out of the room. However, this obstinance resulted in her transfer to another district but she garnered a lot of accolades and support from everywhere for refusing to do the bidding of the corrupt politicians.
Being an IPS officer and taking up the baton of law enforcement along with an oath to protect the people is a huge responsibility in itself but Subhashini Sankaran was ready to take this responsibility with the additional honour of being in charge of the security of the chief minister. Although it turned many heads when she became India’s first woman IPS officer to get this position, Subashini made sure that people understood the contribution of courage and merit needed to hold such a position and that being a woman has nothing to do with it. Her contributions extended to the bursting of a racket of rhinoceros poaching near the Kaziranga National Park.
Many women who have been wronged by the atrocities of this male-dominated Indian society often seek justice from the law and order of the nation, but unfortunately, they are disappointed sometimes. If more women are recruited in the Indian Police Services or become more women IPS officers it would be an effective step towards eradicating gender inequality from the country and increase women’s representation in the field of law enforcement.