Lady Shri Ram College recently hosted Kiran Bedi, India’s first woman IPS Officer and an iconic leader to many. Dr. Bedi was invited to speak on Women Safety and Security. The event, which was organized by the National Service Scheme (NSS) Society of the college, had an overwhelming response owing to the popularity of the speaker and saw a packed auditorium.
Dr. Bedi began her talk by giving the audience an idea of how she looked at security; she said that security is not only physical but also mental and emotional. Similarly, we also respond to threats to our security in different ways, because the strength to fight security threats is not only physical, but can also be spiritual.
Caution was something that she stressed on throughout the talk with her advice to the gathering being that ‘caution is strength’. She also insisted that having wisdom meant being careful, that if one was going out, circumspection was important; one had to be alert and discreet. On dangerous hotspots, Dr. Bedi’s advice was that they first be reported, and at best, avoided. Going unprotected should also be avoided. She insisted that doing the right thing at the time was crucial. One important food for thought that she left the gathering with was, ‘Is ignorance wisdom or is ignorance strength?’
Dr. Bedi also shared her mantra with the audience, that of STRESS- Strength, Traffic, Redesign, Erase, Share and Surrender. Strength here stands for different types of strength- mental, physical, emotional, traffic refers to the traffic of thoughts- both good and bad, to redesign is to redesign oneself from within, to erase is to erase bad memories and thoughts, sharing means sharing with everyone and to surrender means to surrender after you have done your bit, as written in the Bhagwad Gita. She also insisted that pushing the bad memories and negative thoughts was very important.
She elaborated on being careful though hypothetical examples and what she looked at as practical solutions. To be self-reliant in protecting oneself was the undertone of the examples. One such example was dressing in a way that would neither attract nor distract. Dr. Bedi also had reservations about wearing jewellery and high-heeled shoes.
When the floor was thrown open to questions, one question that came up was about dressing up to not attract or distract versus exercising one’s individuality and choice. To this Dr. Bedi replied using winter and appropriate clothes as an analogy. Another question that was asked was about what one should do in a situation where men sit on seats reserved for women in public transport, the suggestion for this was to take a photo and circulate it on social network so as to warn others who might do the same thing.
All in all, it was a well-attended session and whether or not the students agreed with her, like most other talks, it left them with much to think about.
Image credits: Mugdha for DU Beat