Kiran Bedi led students of GRD School of Commerce and International Business on the theme of role models

It was a face-to-face, no doubt. But there was a reversal of roles, with the dignitary asking the questions and the audience answering them, at an interaction between Kiran Bedi and students of the GRD School of Commerce and International Business (SCIB), Dr. G.R. Damodaran College of Science, here on Wednesday.

There were others too, like school students, and a few hundreds who got to watch the former IPS officer – through live streaming in India and abroad – lead the students on the theme of role models.

Though Ms. Bedi is a regular ‘face-to-face’ personality at the GRD SCIB, she almost always brought in a novel and fresh perspective to every interaction. And, this time too, she scored.

She not only made the students come out with names of their role models, but also made them justify the reason for having chosen that personality.

Virtues such as courage, tenacity, determination, hard work, perseverance and simplicity were discussed with reference to personalities like Mahatma Gandhi, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Viswanathan Anand, and Kiran Bedi. The very first student came up with Ms. Bedi’s name as her role model because “she stood out for her courage and tenacity”.

Ms. Bedi said courage and tenacity stemmed from self-respect and self-esteem. She urged youth to lead courageous lives.

“Live to die and not die to live. Dying every day of fear is not living. You should have the courage of conviction, courage to speak up, and the courage to be visible. Youth have nothing to lose about being courageous. However, we elders have something to lose,” she said.

Even as they came up with great names, there were a few students who came up with lesser known faces from their personal lives, but who were still no less significant in worth for them.

While, for one it was her father, for another it was her aunt, and for a third it was his teacher – all role models who they valued, and whose virtues they sought to emulate in life. For Ms. Bedi, she looked up to her mother and father as her role models.

There was 12-year-old Vishal, studying in Standard VII, who looked up to Vishwanathan Anand as a role model for his “capacity to handle pressure”.

Ms. Bedi said that though all of them were different personalities, if they had to be ranked or graded for their qualities, they would all score the same marks.

She urged the students to learn these qualities from their role models, teachers, elders and books. She exhorted them not to treat their textbooks as mere means to pass examinations, but as a storehouse of knowledge.

“Winners stay on, while losers retract and disappear. My career as a police officer is the role that I cherish the most,” she said.

On the same note, she told Arvind Sundar, a professional from Chicago, via video conferencing, that the single greatest achievement in her life was giving a human face to policing – transforming it from a power of arrest to a power of correction.

Even while sharing some lighter moments with the students answering rapid fire questions, she said she valued “Kiran Bedi the IPS officer” more than “Kiran Bedi the social activist”.

The last of the rapid fire questions was about a single word that described her.

Her answer was – “Kiran Bedi is my name. No other word is necessary”.

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