Going by the placid course of life, she would have been walking along the corridors of an education institution, lecturing or researching, at best. What else would a young woman with an MA in Economics and UGC Net do? Teach and engage in research, of course.
That’s where our logical conclusion goes for a toss. The lady in question, Aswathi Dorje, did neither. She quietly left academics only to march proudly into the police force where she today graces the post of additional commissioner in the Mumbai Armed Force. She took her civil services exams, got her IPS posting and is here to stay.
There’s quite another interesting fact to draw us closer to her. Aswathy is Adoor Gopalakrishnan’s daughter.
Talking of women in the police force, Kerala is quite proud of R.Sreelekha, the first woman to be DGP of the state. With more young women turning to the force, it’s time for a bit of introspection as well as information on what it takes to be an IPS officer. Aswathi opens up on the subject.
How wise is it for a woman to make IPS a career choice?
The cardinal rule to go by while making a career choice is to follow what one truly loves. When it comes to women in the police force, there’s this usual talk fraught with doubts aplenty. Won’t they have to do nights? Won’t the call of duty force them to be up and about at unearthly hours?
This is how I would counter such doubts. How about doctors? Are they untouched by the call of duty? Don’t they also report for duty at the oddest of hours? The commitments are the same in all professions. The police force is no different.
Are there preconceived notions about women officers? How do you react to such impressions?
I’ve never had to face any discrimination. Nobody has seen me as a “woman” officer. I had my education in Kerala and moved up to Maharashtra for work. My lack of familiarity with the place, people and language was a bit of a problem initially. But wherever you are, you can bust all preconceived notions and set ideas with your performance.
What’s been your biggest challenge? Law and order, investigation or administration?
I’ve had quite some experience in all the three domains. When it comes to administration, the best course would be to resort to law in all matters. You must evolve a work culture of your own. As for law and order, the presence of mind, quick thinking and action are what you need. Talking of investigation, you may come under tremendous pressure. But such cases give you the relief of time. Every sphere has its challenge. The ideal move would be to train yourself in all three courses and be updated with the latest technology.
How do you balance a 24x7 job with the call of duty at home?
Your partner must be open-minded and truly understanding. He or she should be familiar with the nature of your job, its calling and its demands. You have to be totally committed to your work in the initial stages of your career. Never shy away from hard work. Perhaps that could also be the time when you have other commitments like marriage, pregnancy and childbirth. That’s when you need your partner by your side … always, in everything.