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When the reel mirrors the real

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Jija Hari Singh
Jija Hari Singh

Swathi Shivanand

‘All the drama and mystery about police officials and their lives are absolutely true’

BANGALORE: A burkha-clad woman is walking with a young man in the alleys. The air reeks of alcohol and cigarettes. At every corner, men huddled together gamble away, violating laws. The woman is an undercover police officer, on a mission to put an end to rampant gambling in her jurisdiction and the young man is someone she barely knows. He could signal to someone and she could even be grievously harmed. But yet she soldiers on and two hours later raids the area.

Plot from an action-packed cop movie, you think? Wrong. The woman is Jija Hari Singh, Director-General of Police, Home Guards, and the story is from her time as Superintendent of Police in Chitradurga.“All the drama and mystery in movies about police officials and their lives are absolutely true. It is filled with action,” said Ms. Singh, who was tipped to be the city’s first woman police commissioner.

At an interaction by a private company on Wednesday between her and actor Vinaya Prasad, who plays a police officer in a serial, Ms. Singh responded with interesting perspectives to predictable questions.

“I have always treated work as a part of my life, not as my entire life. I have managed to keep my own identity separate from that of my job as a police officer. This has helped me be my own person,” she said in response to dealing with work stress.

About her transition from an English lecturer at a women’s college in Kerala to that of a police officer, Ms. Singh said: “When I cleared my civil services and jokingly told my family I wanted to join the police force, they reacted with such vehemence telling me not to take it up, I was taken aback. That set me thinking and I realised that I wanted to do something that most women do not take up as a career option.” On her impressive career graph, she said: “I always alternated between posts that demanded a lot of time and one that did not. At one point when I was DCP (Traffic) I did not have time for anybody. Then I was shifted to another post that allowed me so much time with my family that my children got satiated with me and asked me to take up another position.”

On dowry, Ms. Singh asked women to change perspectives and believe that the men who marry them are the lucky ones. “Instead, some women accept dowry as a given and are ready to pay a lot of money. Even if 30 per cent of women stand up and say they will not give dowry, they will have all the men and their parents on their knees,” she said.

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