Delhi needs leaders at the ground level: Kiran Bedi


New Delhi : India’s first woman Indian Police Service officer and social crusader Kiran Bedi, who is often described as a national role model, says the capital has fallen back on visible leadership at the ground level.

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“The capital needs visible leadership on ground. We have given up on certain problems, resulting in frequent violations of law,” Bedi told IANS here.

“We have to deploy more resources, better technology with a certain amount of innovation for better enforcement of law and regulation,” she added.

The 61-year-old retired officer is promoting civic sense and etiquette through a manual, “Broom Groom”, that she has co-authored with writer Pavan Choudary, who hosts reality show “Hum Aise Kyon Hain” on Doordarshan.

The book, published by Wisdom Village (publication division), was unveiled by the former top cop and Choudary in the capital Wednesday.

The book is a mirror of self-reflection, Bedi said.

“It is a behavioural compass which could improve community living and enhance India’s social acceptance globally. The country, despite its rich heritage, is still branded dirty by western nations because of its poor civic sense,” she said.

The manual, dedicated to the “right to civility” has a foreword by former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. “Civic sense is an important factor in everyone’s life. Every citizen of the nation from all walks of life needs to have a disciplined life,” he writes.

Bedi said the “timing of her book is significant”. “The Commonwealth Games 2010 is barely 40 days away. India needs to put on its best manners and shun habits that offend the eye,” she said.

“What we have done in the book is to flag off our own mistakes and explore our sensibilities.”

The illustrated book, with accompanying capsules, lists Indian malapropisms and instructs readers how to shun “oddities like spitting, scratching genitals in public, using mobile phones in company of friends and in prohibited zones, quarrelling with spouses in the presence of house guests and desisting from frivolous speech in the company of erudite men”, Bedi said.

“The book is an ongoing process. It will become participatory in the next level. We have created a blog space for readers and citizens to share their experiences and contribute suggestions on how to conduct with dignity in life. The suggestions will be included in the subsequent edition of the book,” she said.

For example, what should one do with a house guest when one goes to work? “Should you ask him to go away and return in the evening?”

“Assess your guests’ needs and plan out his itinerary together so that it is mutually convenient. If the guest is more comfortable staying at home by himself, give him access to his room, kitchen and the common areas,” Bedi recommended.

Reverting to the issue of leadership, Bedi, also a television presenter, said: “Even a constable can be an effective leader on the ground to ensure uninterrupted flow of traffic and better policing.”

“Begin with a leadership that is functional, accessible and meaningful at the grassroots. I am not speaking about the top of the hierarchy. People have to be brought back to the centre-stage so that they become more responsible,” she said.

“Governance should be a partnership between the political dispensation and the people. Delhi is full of youth, but where is youth participation in leadership? We require a wholesale attitudinal change,” she added.