You march on, girl

On May 8, a photograph of IPS officer, Charu Nigam, in tears after an altercation in Gorakhpur with the local BJP MLA, made news. She need not have cried.

Written by Meeran Chadha Borwankar | Published: May 16, 2017 12:02 am
Charu Nigam, BJP MLA, charu BJP, gorakhpur altercation, Radha Mohan Agarwal, MLA Radha Mohan Agarwal, VVIP culture, gorakhpur superintendent of police, political influence, woman power, what is charu nigam case, who is charu nigam, gorakhpur charu nigam, indian express news, india news, indian express opinion You are listening to them and are not busy pandering to the whims and fancies of VVIPs. So, march on, girl. India needs you. Illustration by C R Sasikumar

You had tears in your eyes. So what? You stood your ground. You have changed India and you are still changing it. You, in your uniform, are still a rarity — an officer whom people come to look at and look up to. Because they see in you and in your uniform an authority that is sincere, hard-working and committed to justice for the common man — and woman. And they do so because you are living up to their expectations. You are listening to them and are not busy pandering to the whims and fancies of VVIPs. So, march on, girl. India needs you.

Remember the time when you took over as the district superintendent of police? Women in your area greeted you with open arms, admiration writ large over their faces. They saw in you what many of them had missed out on in their lives. They saw in you what they want for their daughters and sisters today. You have made their dream a reality. They see their future in you. And so, march on, fearlessly. Women and girls are with you.

By being more accessible to the poor and downtrodden, you have shaken and disturbed well-entrenched powers, who thought they were invincible. You listen — a rare feat for those in authority as they are accustomed to listening only to their own voices or to those of their sycophants. You have challenged the traditions of power, changed its equations. You have acted on your belief, of equality before the law and of the rule of law. So, they will shout, of course. But don’t you let that daunt you. Simply march on. The weak and the poor are
with you.

You took on a powerful male bastion. You forced them to sit up and take note of your fearless fight against illegal activities, be it the adulteration of petroleum or milk, the sand mafia or the deep roots of violent organised crime. You have the law on your side — they have only their nuisance value. Ignore them, young lady, as the all-important law of the land stands by you.

Your parents were far-sighted; they encouraged you to dream and achieve. Looking at you, many more parents are dreaming for their girls, citing your example now. Your shoulders are young but they have already proved their might. On those shoulders rests the responsibility also of inspiring generations. Do not let them down. March on, girl, many ambitious parents are watching you.

Remember the lady with the torn sari and the bruises on her body that told the tale of her husband’s daily lashes brutally rained down on her? When she approached you, she saw in you a saviour. Characteristically, you went beyond the call of duty to help her. Think of the long queue of visitors outside your office, waiting patiently because they nurture the hope that you will give them justice. That queue has both women and men in it for both have seen your actions and appreciated your steadfast help to the poor and needy. They want you in this position. For their sake, march on, dear woman. They are with you.

And what about your own staff? After a long time, they have a fearless, honest leader who works with sincerity and sensitivity, with them and for them. A leader who leads from the front and is yet a complete team player. An officer who takes decisions and does not sit on files. Who understands that the buck stops at her table. They want such a leader and in fact, many more like you. So, march on, girl, your police department needs you.

If citizens want you, the community appreciates you, your own team needs and applauds you, why should you care about those screeching just to grab attention? They are crying only about their loss of power. Pity them, ignore them — they are losers. They have already lost and they understand that the people are with you. They make public scenes as their last-ditch effort to cling to some power. Ignore them and their impotent anger. Carry on with your honest work, girl. Carry on.

Just one request, one word of caution as you go about your onerous task — do not let the system kill you. Do not let it dampen your selfless energy or dilute your devotion to the cause. Because it can happen. As it has to many before you. Guard against that with all your might and zeal. Because all of us see the future of India in you. So, march on, my good officer. The whole country is with you.

The writer is director general, Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D), Delhi

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