Growing up, my short hair made me different: Kiran Bedi

"I was different. I was not aggressive, I was not fighting, I was different. I had short hair, because I wanted to play tennis. At that time, girls only had long hair."




Kiran Bedi, the Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry, held a virtual session on Facebook recently, wherein she read from the children’s book Kiran Bedi: Making of the Top Cop. She was joined by a bunch of kids, and it made for an interesting watch.

During the session, Bedi introduced the kids and viewers to her school in Amritsar. The pages of the book — that have a pictorial re-telling of her life — appeared on the screen, and she read some of the chapters from her unconventional childhood. At one point, Bedi said that while her family could afford it, her paternal grandfather was not really in favour of good education for girls. He was of the opinion that only boys deserved to go to good schools. This was the reason why Bedi had to cut a sorry face many a time, when there would be a delay in the payment of her fees. Until one day, when her father decided that he would not let his father decide what is best for his daughter.

During the question-answer session, when a little girl asked her if, growing up, people thought of her as a rebel, Bedi responded, “I was different. And people would say that I am different. ‘Rebel’ is taking you towards adult aggression. I was not aggressive, I was not fighting, I was different. I had short hair, because I wanted to play tennis. At that time, girls only had long hair. The world ‘rebellion’ goes with aggression.”

When another girl from Kerala asked her how the powers of the police can be used efficiently, especially amid the ongoing pandemic, Bedi said, “The answer is good governance. Individuals can make mistakes, but systems have to run by themselves.”

Bedi mentions in her book that once when travelling by train, she lost a slipper, she threw the other one, too. When a little girl asked her about it, Bedi said she realised later that even Mahatma Gandhi had done something similar. “It was a crowded train. I was being pushed out, because they thought I was a boy. And while they were pushing me, my chappal fell off. In that moment, I threw my second one also, because I thought what is the point? Whoever now picks up one chappal, will get the second chappal, too,” she said.

Bedi said in conclusion that children need to think about their careers when they are in school and college, because then they would know what subjects they love and want to pursue.

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