Wisdom Stories Ep.3: Ms.  Meeran Chadha Borwankar


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Cultural expectations surrounding the elderly are being challenged today, and with good reason!

While it was the norm to slow down and retreat into a quieter life post-retirement, more men and women are finding purpose and joy in doing the opposite.

WisdomCircle honours such men and women by shining light on their journey through an inspiring series called “Wisdom Stories”. These people have successfully smashed stereotypes, and their stories remind us that life should be lived to the fullest, no matter what age or stage.

“I served as an officer of the Indian Police Service (IPS) in the Maharashtra Police cadre from 1981 till 2017. However, this wasn’t how I had started my career. In my first attempt at civil services, I opted for ‘Indian Audits & Account Service ( IA&AS). Realising that I was a misfit there, I later chose IPS, which became a game changer for me. I feel that I was meant to be in uniform and to walk in my father’s footsteps.

Leadership is gender neutral

Success did not come easy. Early in my career, I had to convince my superiors to give me the role of an independent District Police Chief. Once I got that opportunity (in both Aurangabad and Satara), I got the confidence to lead and prove that women police officers are competent & professional. It was a win-win in 1991. Today, women IPS officers are routinely given the roles of District Police Chiefs.

In 2012, I asked for a Pune posting after being the Commissioner of Police at Pune from 2010-2012, and many thought this was a bad decision. I did it to be with family and have no regrets. Shortly after, Ajmal Kasab and Yakub Memon’s executions were entrusted to me, and I consider both to be the most challenging assignments of my career.

Receiving President of India Police Medal for Distinguished Services in 2006

Balancing between delegation and leading from the front during emergencies helped me negotiate my career in a totally male-dominated profession. The concept of situational leadership is very powerful for me. I am by nature a hard-working person but not getting obsessed with my profession enabled me to keep issues in proper perspective and not to go overboard or get overwhelmed by diverse responsibilities.

My sister Anita impacted me deeply for the way she balanced her personal life and a successful professional career. My mother’s realistic approach to life and my father’s positive outlook shaped me. When my father was asked at his retirement (from Punjab Police and BSF) why he did not build a house, he replied that he was busy building four, alluding to the lives of his four children.

At a book signing event for books authored by Meeran

I feel bored very fast and have to keep myself busy. I have taken to writing and published two books – ‘Leaves of Life’ which is based on my journey and ‘Inspector Chougule’ – a collection of simple police stories. My third book ‘Madam Commissioner’ is currently under publication. I am also associated with the Advisory Group on Criminal Justice System Reforms’, Union Bank of India, National Aluminium Company Ltd (NALCO) and Delhi Public School Society (DPS).

My message to the wisdom generation is “Keep yourself busy; be financially independent; exercise regularly and be responsible for your health and happiness. Don’t get into any blame game. Choose the life you want and make it happen”

Meeran Chadha Borwankar, Recipient of President of India Police Medal

Interview Credits: Saonli Sen Choudhury of WisdomCircle

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