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The Roller Coaster Journey of IPS officer Dr. Arti Singh

IPS officer Dr. Arti Singh is not only the first woman police commissioner of India but also the first female police officer to have received postings in sensitive areas such as Gadchiroli and Malegaon, Maharashtra. Her fearless persona and her dedication to the service are what made her reach such pinnacles of success.

But how did she reach here crossing all the obstacles in her way, and most importantly what prompted her to leave her lifelong dream of becoming a doctor for civil services?

In an exclusive conversation with Indian Masterminds, the IPS officer shared details about her life and fight for women’s equality in the nation.

FROM A DOCTOR TO AN IPS

It was Dr. Singh’s childhood dream to become a doctor and provide her services for the betterment of the people. While she was graduating from the Institute of Medical Sciences at BHU, one particular thing bothered her every single time when she interned in the gynecology department and labor wards.

It was the bizarre question that new mothers asked right after delivering their babies. Instead of enquiring about the child’s health, the first question was “Is it a male or a female?”. If it was a male child, a wave of happiness used to spread across the mother’s face but exactly the opposite happened, if the baby was a female.

“If the baby was a girl, the mother used to start crying and curse their luck. Instead of happiness, there was melancholy, sometimes to the extent, that the family members used to desert the new mother or the baby girl. This became an everyday scenario in the hospital,” says Ms. Singh.

Incidents like these made the officer wonder as to why a girl child is so unwelcome. She understood the social evils that a family has to go through such as security of the child, dowry concerns, etc., which is why families refrained from raising a girl child. Ms. Singh used to console the bewildered new mothers but she knew that wasn’t enough.

That’s when Dr. Singh made up her mind to change the societal mindset of the people and become a role model for the girls in the country. She wanted to make them feel secure in their nation, which is why she decided to become an officer in the field and cracked the UPSC CSE in 2006 and became an IPS officer.

FIGHTING GENDER DISCRIMINATION

Fortunately, for the officer, despite being raised in the rural setting of Uttar Pradesh’s Mirzapur, she was never subjected to gender discrimination by her family. Her parents supported her in every decision that she made and stood by her like a pillar.

However, it was after she joined the civil services that she understood what gender discrimination felt like. During cadre allotment, on her very first day of service, she was given the most difficult posting, in the Naxal-affected region of Gadchiroli, Maharashtra, a posting that even male officers refused to go to. But Dr. Singh wasn’t afraid of anything and anyone. She grabbed the opportunity and was ready to break another notion.

“My own staff used to advise me to apply for a transfer since ‘ladies’ don’t take posting here. But I shunned down all the thoughts, and within a matter of a few months, the mindset of the same people changed and they realized that I won’t just survive in the place but also deliver and do my best for the people,” she told Indian Masterminds.

GADCHIROLI TENURE

The first thing that the officer wished for the citizens of Gadchiroli was to bring them into the mainstream. They were hardly aware of anything that happened in mainstream society, so she gathered all the villagers and raised awareness about different government schemes, exclusive for tribal and Naxal-infested regions through which they could receive benefits and not be led astray.

Dr. Singh’s timing of posting in Gadchiroli made things a tad bit difficult for her as state and central elections were at the head and the Naxals had already killed 17 cops by the time she arrived. Whether it was her subordinates or seniors, everyone was shocked to see her in the Red Corridor, an area where police-Naxal encounters are common.

But the officer didn’t budge and took the challenge head-on. She not only ensured smooth execution of the elections but also recovered arms and ammunition and broke the glass ceiling once again.

For her exemplary work in Gadchiroli, she was also awarded several medals and awards by the Government. She made a mark in her very first posting. She knew the ride won’t be smooth and easy but she was ready to face come what may.

Dr. Arti hopes to wipe out gender discrimination in the time to come and wishes to bring everyone on an equal pedestal. Indian Masterminds salutes her and wishes her the best of luck in all her future endeavors.

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