Sitting leisurely on the carpeted floor of her beautiful house in Hyderabad Aruna Bahuguna can be seen playing with Layla and Mazimus her two Irish setters. It seems that after 38 years of challenging service in the police force she finally has the time to breathe.
The first woman director of the Sardar Vallabhai Patel National Police Academy says ‘ when I joined the service my first DGP was so surprised he said jovially oh so you’re a lady. What do we do with you? I laughed and said train me just like how you would train a man “ she say describing how different things used to be. ‘ I used to carry a lathi and we would go around in jeeps without gunmen. If there was a murder that we were investigating we’d have to camp under a tree at the crime site because there were no guest houses”.
For what she is today she thanks her grandmother who brought her up while her parents were posted in districts. “ My grandmother was married and widowed twice at a very young age. Back then there was a lot of stigma around widows people wouldn’t like to see her face early in the morning. So lived remotely but worked and supported her son Rabindranath Tagore visited her and brought her story to the notice of the Nizam at Hyderabad who was trying to promote women’s education at the time. She went on to become the principal of a women’s college in Mysore.
Aruna too has faced many challenges in her personal life. We met with an accident in 1989 when my husband passed away on the spot and I was clinically dead until they revived me. It was pretty hard to cope with the trauma and handle the job but people were very supportive. I also had to bring up my sons by myself but wives of my colleagues would offer to look after them while I was away. She says and adds my sons were quite naughty and got themselves into trouble sometimes. Because of my position there was a lot of attention from the media and a senior official even said this is what happens if women start working . With the uniform came a lot of responsibilities and I felt pressurized that I had to be right always. I was a wild child in college and my friends were surprised that I got into the services. Although I wasn’t there with my children always they’ve seen me keep teenagers who have run away from home in my house and council them…. They are rich in experiences like these. My younger son got married recently and I am so proud of the way he treats his wife. At 50 Aruna got married again to IPS S. Jayaraman who passed away in 2014. People talked but I did what I had to do. My grandmother brought us up to never bothere about fitting in she says.
Now that she is retired Aruna plans to indulge in travelling and arts. I’m visiting many art shows and on Tuesday I am off to Sivakasi Yercaud Salem. I love travelling but never had the time before she says.
Aruna is friends with Doley Barman and says that the latter is perfect for the role. She has tremendous experience and is known for being a strict cop she says.