Sunday, 29 May 2011


Letika Saran is the current Director General of Police, Tamil Nadu, India. Earlier she served as the 36th Commissioner of Police in Chennai. She is the only woman to head a metropolitan police organisation in India. Before that she was an Additional Director-General of Police (ADGP)
Saran was born on March 31, 1952 at Idukki district in Kerala. She belongs to the 1976 batch of the Indian Police Service. Her earlier postings include ADGP; Training and Project Director, Tamil Nadu Police Academy; Inspector-General of Police, Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC). On 20 April 2006, she became the Commissioner of Police, Greater Chennai. On 8 January 2010, she was appointed as Director General of Police, Tamil Nadu. She is only the second female DGP of a state in India and the first for Tamil Nadu. In October, the Madras High Court has struck down upon its appointment of Letika Saran.


G. Thilakavathi or G. Thilagavathi, is a police officer and a Tamil writer from Tamil Nadu, India.


Thilakavathi was born in and did her schooling in Dharmapuri district. She is an alumnus of Auxilium College, Katpadi and Stella Maris College, Chennai. In 1976, she became the first woman from Tamil Nadu to become an Indian Police Service (IPS) officer. In 1987, her first short story was published in Dinakaran. Her first short story collection to be published in book form was 'Theyumo sooriyan'. She is a prolific writer who has written more than 300 short stories and a number of novels and poems. Her short stories Theiyumo Sooriyan (Will the Sun Wane) and Arasigal aluvathillai (Queens don’t rule) won the Government of Tamil Nadu's best short story prize for 1988-89. Her novel Pathini Penn (1983) was made into a film. Some of her works including Vaarthai thavari vittai, Arasigal aluvathillai and Muppathu kodi mugangal have been adapted for television. She is also a translator for Sahitya Akademi and has translated Nizhal Kodugal, Uthirum Ilaigalin Oosai, Govarthan Ram and 50 short stories into Tamil. In 2005, she was awarded the Sahitya Akademi Award for Tamil for her novel Kalmaram (lit. The Stone Tree). In 2007, she became Additional Director General of Police. In her police career, she has been the Director of Vigilance and the Inspector General of police-Headquarters. She has been promoted to Director General of Police and is currently the chairperson of the Uniformed Services Recruitment board.


At a young age, Archana Ramasundaram made an uncommon career decision and joined the Indian Police Service. Today, more than two decades later, she is the Joint Director of the Central Bureau of Investigation. She is also a committed activist determined to ending discrimination against women in her country.
"This is a land of sharp contrasts: on the one hand, we have had distinguished women leaders like former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and also Dr Vijay Laksmi Pandit, who was the President of the UN General Assembly," says Ms Ramasundaram. "But they were exceptions. The majority of women in India suffer due to poverty, poor health, rigid traditions, deprivation and discrimination, and the most unfortunate among them become the victims of violence."
As a female police officer, Ms Ramasundaram has made it her mission to improve the way in which the force handles violence against women. "Fundamental changes are needed in concept, attitude, training and, above all, motivation to bridge the wide gap between enactment of laws and their implementation," she says. "The responsibility of police officials is the most crucial, as they are the first to intervene, and any imperfection in their performance is bound to affect the later stages of an investigation."
Indian women were granted important constitutional and legal rights following independence. The Constitution of India adopted a landmark step in this direction by guaranteeing full equality and liberty to women and prohibiting trafficking. There are several schemes for welfare and growth of women. Moreover, the Constitutional Amendment in India in 1993 ushered in a new era of affirmative action by reserving one-third of seats in local government bodies for women. Nearly one million women are members and chairpersons of these bodies. Another revolutionary bill, reserving 33.3 per cent of parliamentary and state assembly seats for women, is pending before Parliament.
However, many Indian women continue to face the harsh realities of rape, bride burning, torture, feticide and trafficking. The Indian government has reported that an estimated 6,000 women a year die as a result of dowry abuse. Many more are maimed and injured. These figures may only be the tip of the iceberg. Others have placed the number of dowry-related deaths closer to 25,000 a year. Poverty and illiteracy, coupled with cultural taboos and the caste system are the main factors preventing women's empowerment. According to Human Rights Watch, women in India face daunting obstacles in prosecuting rape cases, beginning with lodging reports with the local police to confronting judges' insensitivity to their plight. If an Indian woman is poor, belongs to a lower caste, or lives in a rural area, it is even more difficult for her to access the justice system.
"Laws and development schemes have obviously not made the desired impact on the level of violence against women," says Ms Ramasundaram. "Due to the traditional mindset in India, gender issues still do not command the attention they deserve. There is an unfortunate lack of desired focus, and the police are often not able to accord priority to such cases in view of their huge workload. In addition, the police force is male-dominated, and the gender-bias shows in their attitude towards violence against women."
With that in mind, Ms. Ramasundaram works to bring a women's rights perspective to the law enforcement in her country by establishing new police approaches to assist victims of gender violence and arrest the perpetrators.
"The essence of my career as a policewoman for the last twenty-two years has been all about caring and controlling�� caring for women and controlling those who harm them," says Ramasundaram. "My work has not been easy; dealing with violence against women has so far not been a high-enough priority for the Indian police. But the relief on the faces of the women I have helped has convinced me that I am on the right track."
Archana Ramasundaram was a speaker at UNIFEM's event "Not a Minute More" to commemorate 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
Archana Ramasundaram, Additional Director General of Police, Crime Branch CID



Tejdeep, who serves as Additional DG, Sports, recently concluded the State Police Duty Meet, an annual event at which department heads meet and competitions are held in the professional field. She also organised the Andhra Pradesh state police band's recent performance at the Laserium, its first major show in 12 years. She seems pleased at show's success and the audience's response, but she is most delighted about the band's enthusiasm.
“We succeeded because of my boys' willingness. We had a great time during the day-and-night practice sessions. They played and sang with equal enthusiasm and on D-day we gave our best shot. All those sleepless nights and the long practice sessions paid off. We were going home at ungodly hours, sometimes the birds woke up earlier than we went home,” she laughs.
And those also happened to be the coldest December days in the city this year. “Lots of chai, osmania biscuits and khaana from a live tandoor kept us going,” says Tejdeep. “We had the doctor visit us to ensure no one fell ill.”
In the meantime, we request some photographs, but Tejdeep says she is not prepared. “Let's do it tomorrow,” she smiles. “I hardly get a chance to dress up so if we do it tomorrow I can dress for a while, at least before coming to work.”
Just then her homepage disappears and she requests one of her constables to bring it back while she gets busy with mehmaan nawazi. “Please cut some apples and offer them, aap log bhi khao. Wash them before cutting beta,” she instructs.
As we munch on the Shimla apples sent by her mamaji, she remembers, “This is the first time the Chief Minister and Governor attended the police band's performance.
I just couldn't help smiling seeing the excitement of the boys. They came in their best clothes, brought their family along and then we all went for a little Hyderabad tour.”
“No matter which department I am put in, I have to excel,” says this cop. “After coming to this department I formed the Women Police Shooting team. This has happened for the first time. They formed, they participated and were adjudged the best team in States category in 2010.”
How is it to head a department where most of your colleagues are men? “Find out for yourself,” she says and quickly passes the question to her colleagues. This includes her PAs, her clerk, her accountant, the shooting coach, rowing coach and several others.
The verdict: “She is like our mother. She scolds, is stern, a disciplinarian but very loving.”
What made the eldest daughter of a Punjabi family choose to join the police service? “My grandfather inspired me,” says Tejdeep. “I spent a few years with him but those few years were enough to leave an impression.”
Tejdeep says she might be a Punjabi but “I am also a Hyderabadi. Our grandparents were Partition refugees. After my dad married he shifted here, and since then Hyderabad is our home. We were three daughters and our dad was a struggling entrepreneur. I studied in St Ann's along with my sisters. To shine in a class of over 60 students, one had to be extraordinarily good. I had the zeal and enthusiasm and made sure I was a cut above the rest,” she says.
What about managing the hearth? Do you cook? Do you look after your home? That question is left unanswered.
Our chat spills into the next day's photo shoot. “Go ahead and see where you want me to pose,” she tells us. Tejdeep's home in Bowenpally is every woman's dream.
The sparkling brass artefacts, the well-polished wooden furniture show her insistence on tidiness. “So do you think I am a good homemaker?” she laughs. Over the perfectly soft and fluffy dahi wadas she has made, churwa from Pune and pineapple upside-down pastries, our conversation continues.
Tejdeep has published four poetry anthologies. “The little mandir on the first floor is my daughter's.
We lost her to cancer and that's when my grief took the form of poems. I loved words as a child and followed Wordsworth.”
For a few last shots, she poses on the sturdy wooden swing with brass accents, reminding us all of an ad we've been seeing everywhere in the city. Tejdeep laughs and says, “This photo should make Deepika Padukone lose her brand ambassador contract with the store.”