Dr. Kiran Bedi, in an exclusive interview with The Indian Panorama editor Prof. Indrajit S Saluja, speaks about her social and charitable work and her vision of future of India. She wants parents, principals, police, politicians, prosecution, prisons, and the press ( 7 Ps) to be equal stake holders in rape-crime prevention. She sees a bright future if next five years led by Mr. Modi and his Government is allowed and does deliver, as also each State leadership performs.
ISS: Welcome to New York, Dr. Bedi. Thank you for finding time to speak with The Indian Panorama, despite your busy schedule, and, of course, not a very benign weather in New Jersey/ New York. Since you have put a time constraint, I would prefer to leave out questions on your foray in to politics and concentrate on your visit and your mission.
What brought you to the United States? On whose invitation did you come? What is the purpose of your visit? What other places are you visiting? When are you going back from USA and what are your other destinations, if any, before reaching India?
KB: Several reasons….Two prestigious speaking engagements, one from the India Conference Forum at Harvard and second from Women Changing the World Symposium at Bernard College of Columbia University, along with Fund Raiser being organized by Pam Kwatra’s G 30 Group, as also to be with my sister for a family occasion.
Am leaving for home tomorrow morning…lots of work now awaits me back home….
ISS: Briefly, please tell us what you said at Harvard and at Columbia conferences?
KB: At Harvard I was asked to speak on Women empowerment…the unfinished agenda….I identified several areas to be addressed. Such as issues of Security, Financial Dependence, and cost of marriage for parents of daughters. At Bernard I spoke of what makes a person make the difference in others lives? I said difference for others happens when by habit one refuses to accept injustice on one’s own self…
ISS: Can you please tell us about your organization and your mission? What future plans do you have for your organization?
KB : My two Foundations, Navjyoti India Foundation and India Vision Foundation have been filling in the vacuum in society for nearly 30 years. We like minded police officers of Delhi police decided way back in 1986, to break the nexus between crime and poverty, illiteracy, drugs selling and drug abuse, as well as neglected child hood. We worked in Delhi’s slums and achieved what we set out to.
Today the same organizations are full fledged skills development schools, community development centers, empowering thousands of poor, the weak, the underprivileged, girls, women, and the aged. For more visit their websites to see the reach of this work. It’s been a silent revolution and are now models of social reform.
Future is to consolidate, sustain, share and expand…for largest good. And to continue to make the difference in people’s lives.
ISS: What do you expect of the chapters you are now creating abroad?
KB: Exactly this. Its full credit to Ms Pam Kwatra and her team of very dedicated persons like Eric Kumar, Flora Parekh and Rahul Bathla who are self driven to serve and make the difference. Their Support enables educate and skill more and more children of incarcerated mothers…it’s a project most unique internationally.
ISS: How do you plan to involve NRI’s who can contribute in a big way?
KB: India is a mother to every NRI. It is for them to think how best he or she can strengthen his Mother land. Mother needs all her children. The more one loves ones’ mother more one take scare of her…one does not contribute towards ones mother. One loves her without her asking. It’s up to us adults to see what our mother needs…and give her unconditional love..
ISS: Your current visit- schedule, highs and lows?
KB: High points have been invites from India Conference at Harvard, and Women Changing the World conference at Bernard College ( Columbia University) Also being with my sister Anu Peshawaria, in San Francisco,I could attend the engagement ceremony of my nephew, which was so very joyful.
Being at home in New Jersey with my God given sister and Brother in Law, Pam Kwatra and Mr. Lal Kwatra. They are the most caring and generous hosts one can ever be with..
Low has been the impact of sudden changes of weather has had on me, traveling between snow and sunshine…
ISS: What will you say on gender equality in India? Does it exist in India? If not, what needs to be done? What will YOU do for it?
KB: India has very entrenched patriarchy. It needs a very comprehensive sustained social, and cultural revolution to neutralize it.
ISS: And, how do you think, crimes against women, particularly , the more heinous ones as rape, can be curbed?
KB: By making parents, principals ,police, politicians, prosecution, prisons, and the press ( 7 Ps) equal stake holders in rape-crime prevention. Analyze each case and share widely what caused it….to learn from others mistakes…that shall make all them understand their role in prevention and be responsible in planning proper strategies of crime prevention. Every one’s contribution will matter.
ISS: What future for India do you envision?
KB: Well I see a bright future if next five years led by Mr. Modi and his Government is allowed and does deliver…as also each State leadership performs. Each day matters now as we have huge shortfalls in infrastructure which has caused millions of unskilled youth unemployable. If we get on to ‘Make in India’ we will have Made India…