The years spent at Tihar Jail were the most fruitful years of Kiran Bedi’s life. At first, she was taken aback by the filth and darkness of the prison. She then decided that she would bring about a change in this hell on earth.
With a group of trusted officials, she worked on improving the hygiene and general condition of the prison. For the prisoners, she designed programs that kept them engaged in useful activities. To break the barriers of religion, she gathered all of them to take part in various religious festivals.
The prisoners had opportunities to study and were taught to practice meditation. By the end of her stay at Tihar jail, she had transformed the prison into an Ashram.
Dr Kiran Bedi was the first woman officer to join the Indian Police Service in 1972. She pioneered humanitarian policing by transforming prisons and boldly reducing corruption. She received the prestigious Magsaysay Award in 1994. She has also founded two NGOs in India: Navjyoti for welfare and preventive policing in 1987 and the India Vision Foundation for prison reformation, drug abuse prevention and child welfare in 1994.
Adapted for BookBox by Ananya Parthibhan.