A Nightingale In Uniform
- Pallavi Priya
- Published on 7 Oct 2020, 2:40 pm IST
- 6 minutes read
Inside the tenacious and tough IPS officer D Roopa lies a heart that also beats for music and dance. Here she shares the story of her passions…
- IPS officer D Roopa during a recording for her song
She is a music aficionado, a classical dancer, playback singer in films and a beauty pageant winner with over 2.29 lakh followers on social media. No, she is not a Bollywood diva. She is D Roopa Moudgil, one of the toughest and most upright IPS officers in the country, presently posted as Home Secretary in Karnataka government.
Her tenacity and no nonsense approach is reflected in the fact that she has been transferred more than 40 times during her 20-years career in bureaucracy. She has never been afraid of standing up to the system – be it withdrawing additional escort vehicles of MPs and MLAs, or revealing irregularities in Parappana Agrahara central prison.
But, few are aware that beneath the demeanor of a tough cop lies an avid lover of arts and culture. And the reason lies in her upbringing, education and family atmosphere. D Roopa had a formal training in Hindustani music and classical dance. The 2000-batch IPS officer has also won several beauty pageant awards while pursuing her post-graduation from Bengaluru university besides the title of Miss Davangere .
Ms Roopa hails from a middle class family with both her parents working. While growing up, she spent most of her childhood in Davanagere. Talking to Indian Masterminds she says, “I was not very fond of dancing. My mother put me in a Bharatnatyam dance class when I was around five years. I developed interest in it gradually during training. But, it is quite some time now, probably decades, since I performed.”
There is a story why she had to stop going to her dancing classes. “I was just 11 or 12 years old when we had to shift to our grandparent’s house for a short period because of my parent’s job. I joined dance classes there too. My school was really far from our house. I used to go to the dance class after the school got over at 5 pm. From there I used to walk till my grandparent’s house. It was a long distance. One day while returning from the dance class, a weird man followed me all the way to my home. There were people on the street; still I got petrified of him. My father immediately decided that I should not carry on with the classes,” she says.
However, that was the end of her dancing. She participated in a workshop organised by a dance academy in Tirupati when she was studying in class XI. She also gave a performance in Tirupati after the workshop was over. That was her last stage performances, she says.
Learnt music after joining IPS
Ms. Roopa says that she was passionate about music since childhood. She used to sing in various cultural programs held in the school and had won several awards for singing in district level competition also without training. Even though she hails from Karnataka, she was more fond of Hindustani Classical than the Carnatic music. “Most of my childhood went to learn dancing. But, I always wanted to take formal training of music. During my first posting as a SP in Yadgir, I got that chance. I learnt for one year and also appeared in an exam conducted by the metric board. I was really happy when I got the certificate with distinction. Still I never really performed or talked about my passion for singing till ‘Bayalaatada Bheemanna’ happened.” Ms Roopa sang the opening song about nature in this Kannada film starring Ravichandran.
She also released a music video on International women’s day, 2018. The video features her singing ‘Tora Man Darpan Kehlaye’, a popular song from the 1965-Meena Kumari and Dharmendra starrer ‘Kaajal.’ The music composer of this music video is Alen who has done music for many Kannada films.
“The video is a collage of still photos, news videos and visuals featuring me. The audio recording was done in half an hour and video shooting in four hours. This was done for a cause and free of cost,” she said.
She says she chose this song because it speaks about the power of mind and it always inspires her. “Your mind is like the mirror. It is all in the mind – happiness, sadness, success, failure. If you can think you can, you surely will … Tora Man Darpan Kehlaye,” she said.
Is a cop not supposed to sing or dance?
This is probably the first time that she spoke freely about her love for music and dance. “When I was chosen for IPS, it was still a male dominant field of work. I stopped myself from talking about my interest in arts because I was afraid that people won’t take me seriously as a cop. Nothing much have changed since then and I am talking now only when I am asked.”
Loved Khaki from childhood
Ms Roopa cracked UPSC in 2000 and secured 43th rank. She could have chosen administrative service but she opted for IPS. “I was always attracted towards Khaki. This was the reason I joined NCC. When I was in class 9th I was chosen to represent in Republic Day Parade parade in Delhi. Ms. Kiran Bedi addressed us there. Her words were very inspiring and I decided to join police service then and there”, she says.
Besides Bedi, story of second female IPS officer Kanchan Chaudhury Bhattacharya also had a great influence on her. During her childhood she loved to watch a TV show – Udaan, based on Ms Bhattacharya’s story. “I used to get goose bumps when the female lead would come on screen, all decked up in Khaki uniform,” she says.
Marriage by choice
The officer has completed two decades in the service and is married to a fellow IAS officer Munish Moudgil in 2003. She also shared her marriage story with us. “ He was two years senior than me. I knew that he was a pass out from IIT Mumbai so I thought he must be very intelligent. This was the reason I got married to him, she says while laughing.
Asked about her retirement plan she again laughs and says, “Astrologers often tell me that I don’t have a long life. So I don’t really plan for the future.”
END OF THE ARTICLE
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