The moniker of "Crane Bedi" that I got during my stint with Delhi Traffic Police forms the essence of this blog. A crane clears the way & makes pathways. This is where I express my thoughts & share my experiences and concerns for a better world.
Kiran Bedi is a retired Indian Police Service officer, Reformer, social activist, Asian Tennis Champion, & Former Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry. She is also the first woman to join the Indian Police Service.
IPS officer Kiran Bedi discusses police-lawyer run-ins old and new with AVISHEK G DASTIDAR & PRAGYA KAUSHIKA
What is your opinion of the violence by lawyers at Patiala House Courts?
Public memory is short. This is not the first time this has happened. Except that it has happened before a younger generation…
Do you believe that lawyers involved in the violence should be arrested?
Of course. They must be arrested, held for contempt of court and licences cancelled too… Had we been doing so in the past, anywhere and wherever they committed breach of professional ethics, we would not have reached this situation. We only saw a repeat…
How well do you think the police handled the current situation?
Had the police tried to arrest lawyers, mayhem would have happened. So the police acted with maturity and prudence. It was a question of minor injury versus major injury. From my experience I know, had the police touched even one lawyer that day, all the lawyers would have ganged up and more violence would have taken place.
In 1988, you had ordered a lathicharge on lawyers in Tis Hazari Courts…
The lathicharge was in a different situation. It was in a narrow space, so because of physical proximity, the matter led to a scuffle and a lathicharge. Here, it was open space, police had the choice of escalating it or not.
What have your personal experiences with lawyers been?
Showing the law book to unionised lawyers for violations they commit, least of all arresting them, is like putting your hand in a hornets’ nest. You will be stung several times over. And almost left to yourself to deal with its fallout for the rest of your career, if not your life.
In I Dare, you wrote of a ‘nerve-wracking’ time after arresting a lawyer.
Indeed. It was like going through fire! What started with handcuffing of a lawyer who committed theft in St Stephen’s College… went on snowballing… for almost a decade of protracted legal battle impacting my career… No one was willing to appear for me… till the SC intervened and K T S Tulsi agreed… Later I faced a hostile commission of enquiry… I as a former tennis player was used to playing a three-set match. With the then legal fraternity I played a nine-set match.
In the current case, do you feel the Centre has acted as it should have?
This is a police matter turned highly political… What has Centre or state to do with it? Police responded to an FIR by a MP… Allegations made out a case of seditious behaviour. Police registered the case, collected evidence, arrested an accused who happened to be a union president… Matters got heated when the university got visited by politicians making provocative statements and these getting widely televised…
It’s something we experience daily. Yet we do not give it the kind of respect it deserves. It is a healthy body. The real wonder of the world is the gift of good health to a living being.
In the past few months, we in the family, close friends and relatives had been in a spin, attending to a loved one who was not keeping good health. He was hospitalised, discharged, hospitalised again and finally set himself free of all suffering. But what is left behind is the deep loss to the family, friends and the causes he was serving. He paid inadequate attention to his health despite being regularly advised by family, friends and doctors.
Everyone has to die one day. But one need not hasten it. This kind of loss is caused by personal negligence, when a person takes the gift of good health for granted. In this attitude, he chooses to ignore early indications and delays attending to his health. Such a person does not “stitch in time to save nine”. We usually tell ourselves, ‘Nothing will happen’, ‘everything will be all right’, ‘it’s all destined’ and ‘time will heal’. Many do not seek timely help, medical or social, when it’s available. Such an attitude ignores proper diet, personal management, lifestyle or the environment causing the decline or other contributing factors.
Dealing with crisis in health
Dealing with crisis in health of a loved one places highly stressful demands on family, friends and finances, causing heavy dislocation on all three counts. The departure of a loved one causes deep deprivation, leaving behind a void.
We witness this frequently, but many do not realise that the inevitable will happen to the observer one day. Apparently, the realisation of consequences of this attitude is absent in our grooming systems, be it home or education.
We over-eat, consume unhealthy food, do not nourish our mind and body correctly, overuse it, overload it with extraneous responsibilities, and also make stressful acquisitions way beyond required needs, little realising that one day all this will be left behind, and counted by those who may not even be there to perform the last rites.
If we truly love our family, our first responsibility is to maintain ourselves for our own sake and for those whom we do not want to see suffer. Despite that, if one takes ill, there is a willing support and acceptance, as the situation was not invited by that person. That is why daily correct nourishment of mind, body and soul is vital and has to be an integral part of growth, upbringing, schooling and community life. It’s also about collective social health.
Asset to society
Being healthy adds to national wealth. Every healthy person is an asset to society as he contributes his energy and productivity to the well-being of the community in one form or the other. Since maintaining good health is a personal responsibility, it’s left to the conscientiousness and maturity of individuals as adults, parents and citizens.
The interesting part is: we all tend to expect this from others, forgetting about ourselves. By this failure, a great amount of suffering is caused. We need to learn and practise to prevent and minimise it. We know the inevitable will come anyway. But why fast-forward it? As Galib said, “Age travels at a galloping pace, who knows where it would stop; we do not have the reins in our hands, we do not have our feet in the stirrups.”
Therefore, do not call for accidents on your own. Respect, serve and guard the human temple as its priest with joy and gratitude.