Kiran Bedi is truly an icon of heroism. She was the first Indian woman to join the Indian Police Services.
Kiran Bedi was born in Amritsar, Punjab, India. She is the second of the four daughters of Prakash Lal Peshawaria and Prem Lata Peshawaria. Her father was a landlord.
She attended the Sacred Heart Convent School, Amritsar, where she joined the National Cadet Corps (NCC). She took up tennis, a passion she inherited from her father. She won the inter-University women's team title and bagged the national title as well as the Asian title in tennis at the age of 22. Bedi says the game taught her the value of hard work, the importance of staying fit and built in her the qualities of fair play, team work, concentration, and the ability to give in that extra bit under stress.
Later, she obtained her B.A. in English (Hons.) (1964–68) from the Government College for Women, Amritsar. She then earned a Master’s degree (1968–70) in Political Science from Punjab University, Chandigarh, reaching the top of her class.
She began her career as a Lecturer in Political Science (1970–72) at Khalsa College for Women, Amritsar. In July 1972, she joined the Indian Police Service.
She met Brij Bedi at the Amritsar tennis courts who shared same interests, beliefs and goals. He was nine years elder to her. They married in 1972 in the most unique marriage ceremony of the yesteryears. Neither of them believed in religious ceremonies, or an expensive marriage ritual. Therefore they went to the Shiva temple and prayed, going around the temple seven times. Then they organized a joint reception paid from their combined earnings. They have 4 daughters.
Kiran Bedi was the first woman police officer of the Indian Police Service. Spectators at the 1973 Republic Day Parade were amazed to see a lady at the head of the Police Contingent. The then Prime Minister, Mrs. lndira Gandhi was so impressed that she invited Kiran for breakfast with her the very next day.
While in service in the IPS, she pursed her educational goals, and obtained a Law degree (LLB) in 1988 from Delhi University, Delhi. In 1993, she obtained a Ph.D. in Social Sciences from the Department of Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi. The topic of her thesis was 'Drug Abuse and Domestic Violence'.
All the way through her career as IPS officer, she has taken up a
number of challenging assignments. She has served as the Traffic Commissioner of
New Delhi, Deputy Inspector General of Police in the insurgency prone area of
Kiran Bedi influenced several decisions of the Indian Police Service, particularly in the areas of narcotics control, traffic management, and VIP security. During her stint as the Inspector General of Prisons, in Tihar Jail (Delhi) (1993–1995), she instituted a number of reforms in the management of the prison, she introduced many classes and programs for the inmates including those on basic education, meditation, yoga besides functions like mushairas, kavi sammelans, dramas and games, which involved the jail inmates. For her effort to humanize the Tihar jail she was honored with the 1994 Ramon Magsaysay Award.
She was last appointed as Director General of India's Bureau of Police Research and Development.
In May 2005, she was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Law in recognition of her “humanitarian approach to prison reforms and policing”.
She retired from the IPS in December, 2007, after taking voluntary retirement.
Kiran Bedi laid the foundation for the establishment of two voluntary organizations, namely, Navajyoti (1988) & India Vision Foundation (1994). These organizations were primarily set up with the aim of improving the living conditions of the drug addicts and the underprivileged people. The effort of Kiran Bedi has paid and brought her worldwide recognition. Her works have always earned appreciation. For drug abuse prevention, her organization was presented with the Serge Soitiroff Memorial Award by the United Nations
Kiran Bedi also launched a new website, www.saferindia.com on January 3, 2007. The motto of this website is to help people whose complaints are not accepted by the local police.
She has written her autobiography, 'I Dare. It's Always Possible', which was released in 1998
"Yes Madam, Sir", an award-winning, critically acclaimed film of Kiran Bedi's life, directed by Australian director, Megan Doneman, premiered as an official selection at the Toronto International Film Festival
Kiran Bedi remains one of the most inspiring Indian public figures.