Sometimes it becomes very difficult to choose between the confines of a societal position that promises safety, security, and stability and a powerful, honourable, yet unpredictable life, which might not be as rosy as expected. For years, women have struggled to make this choice. Some have chosen the conformist approach to ensure a conventional and happy life without any unprecedented challenges or unpleasant surprises, and some have decided to elevate themselves from the apparent harmony of stereotypical beliefs and societal expectations.
These remarkable women have taken up the baton of transforming society as well as the patriarchal perspective towards women while battling the byproducts of narrow-mindedness in the form of gender bias, discrimination, and shaming. The best examples of these powerful ladies are the women IPS officers of India, who have shattered the glass ceiling and the predetermined mold of the male-dominated society only to emerge as fierce warriors who never shied away from putting their own lives at stake for their duty.
Here is a list of some famous women IPS officers of India:
Being the first in something is always a tough challenge that very few have the heart to take. However, it was the unwavering focus on breaking the traditional general roles and taking off on an extraordinary journey that motivated Kiran to join IPS. Hailing from an NCC background, Kiran was the sole female candidate in the batch of 80 men during her police training. Among her noteworthy achievements are launching the concept of a traffic circle for free flowing of vehicles on the road, prison reforms for the convicts in Tihar, especially through vocational training, education, initiatives for their rehabilitation, and so on.
Kanchan Chaudhary Bhattacharya
Belonging to a very humble background in Amritsar, Punjab, Kanchan’s life has always been a war against gender bias and it was her courage and will to fight for what she believed to be right that helped her shine as one of the most inspiring women IPS officers in India. Kanchan was the second female IPS officer of India who got an opportunity to represent India at the Interpol meeting that took place in Cancun, Mexico, in 2004. During her tenure as the Assistant Superintendent of Police posted at Malihabad in Uttar Pradesh, Kanchan had been at the thick of investigations of white-collar crimes and had also reportedly caught 13 dacoits within the span of 12 months.
Having worked as an IPS officer for 36 years in her life, Meera has recently indulged in her passion for writing and went on to publish her book, Madam Commissioner: The Extraordinary Life of an Indian Police Chief. Starting her career as an IPS officer posted as the Deputy Commissioner of Police in Mumbai, Meera was soon promoted to head of the Crime Branch Department in 2001.
Being the first woman to hold such a reputed position, Meera served the post sincerely by bringing closure to multiple notorious cases like the Iqbal Mirchi case and the Abu Salem extradition, all of which inspired the filmmaker Pradeep Sarkar to develop a narrative based on her life and make it into the movie Mardaani.
A graduate of Indraprastha College of Delhi and a student of political science, Sanjukta Parashar is the Police Superintendent of Sonitpur District and the leader of a group of CRPF jawans who heroically handled the Bodo militants with her inimitable leadership and unconquerable spirit. At such a young age, Sanjukta is like a nightmare for the terrorists and this reputation continues to increase with her every victorious operation.
She has been a formidable character for the militants in Assam ever since she arrested 64 of them and eliminated many of them within a time span of 15 months. Ever since her career started with the Meghalaya Assam cadre, as an IPS officer from the 2006 batch, Sanjukta has always believed in leading from the front, no matter who the opponent is.
In spite of being a terror for the militants, Sanjukta is a humanitarian and actively engages in philanthropy. Receiving numerous death threats every day for her direct conflict with the militants has never dissuaded her from extending her humility and compassion for mankind.
It is not an easy task to delegate the task of supervising the security of the Chief Minister of a state. Especially when the Chief Minister is from a state that has multiple law and order issues like smuggling, communal strife, counterinsurgency, and many more like that. Subhashini Shankaran is the first woman IPS officer to date who is in charge of guarding the Chief Minister of Assam, Sarbananda Sonowal.
With zero scope for any negligence or error in duty, the whole prospect can be extremely stressful for any officer. However, for Subhashini, it is just a matter of change in the perspective that is usually accustomed to having male police officers guide these high-profile individuals.
One of the youngest supercops in India, Merin Joseph has always cherished the dream of devoting herself to the cause of protecting the vulnerable and seeking justice, which encouraged her to join the IPS. Her career was kicked off due to her exceptional performance in the UPSC exam and her participation as a leader of the Y20 Summit for the Indian delegation. Crimes against children and women drove her to take up the case of a child rape where the accused had supposedly fled to Saudi Arabia. Merin took up the challenging task of making sure that the criminal paid for his heinous actions.
All these women IPS officers of India have not only made the country proud of their achievements but also emphasised the need to feel the call of Motherland and answer it, regardless of what societal and gender-related barriers do or try to shackle them back. With their competence, valour, and merit, these powerful ladies have set the trail for the young women of India to follow.
In addition to that, they have shown how the traditional narrative of a woman’s future does not always have to be shaped by patriarchal society but by their own strength and courage, which can fling open all the doors to success for them to pursue.