As Kiran Bedi sees it...
There are no full stops in Kiran Bedi's life. The super cop has grabbed headlines once more with "As I See", a book she has penned with passion. RANA A. SIDDIQUI speaks to the author concerned about wrong projection of India by foreign media... .
Kiran Bedi at the release of "As I See", in New Delhi earlier this week. Photo: S. Arneja.
"AN INDIAN can be bought with just a few dollars," this was a remark an American taxi driver made before Kiran Bedi, the first woman in Indian Police Service when she was travelling in New York recently.
And his views reflect that of an average American about an Indian. The reason being the U.S. media that highlights India's many negative shades. "It is trishul, Mulayam-Mayawati fight, corruption in the polity, or a little bit of entertainment," says Kiran Bedi about the media coverage.
"There everything is talked on a globally focussed level. Their vision is too broad, they are sensitive but India does not find a respectable place in their media. Only ugly side of India as in poverty, population, corruption, terrorism and border disputes is highlighted. There is no developmental side of the country that is even mentioned there."
That is what pinched her the most. And that is what gave her constant, restless, two-day watching of CNN and BBC to look for her country in media. And ironically, this Indian is world's first policewoman to be selected to the UN as Civilian Police Advisor in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations. She is currently on deputation to UN for the same. "To keep myself updated about what is happening in India, I look at Indian news websites. I can't live without reading news," she says.
There is this and much more that Kiran, back home on a two-day-break from New York, would like to share. Thee and other similar incidents that she observed here in India, in the U.S. and "outpoured" in "As I See", her latest book which was released by former Finance Minister Manmohan Singh at New Delhi's India Habitat Centre this week. Singh called this book "provocative" with lot of food for thought and reflection for society.
"These are the incidents that shock me, amaze me, move me and question me, why? Why do we need an arrest of a DDA official to reach the crux of a problem, why when everything is known to all, does it take so long to take action? Who is responsible for this all? Why does CNN show for days, seven American soldiers who died in Afghanistan, where are 700 soldiers who died in Kargil? Who is responsible for this poor Indian projection in foreign media? Why not people who go abroad and see the media does not raise these issues in millennium meetings back home? Who will do it," asks Kiran Bedi, talking about her book spread across 68 chapters.
Is it a wake up call?
"No, I am just raising issues, not directing, telling or guiding anyone. It is an outpouring of my observation, thought and emotions."
Does she reach any solution; does she view a change in people's attitude after her outpour?
"Yes, I get lot of mails of people who think and feel."
Does it help her?
"Yes. I sleep fine after that."
Yes, she has one more reason too. The serial `Galati Kiski', based on her book, which is being aired every Wednesday on DD National channel for the last two months, is the youngest serial to be in the list of top 10.
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