By Shadan Muneer
S. Jahnavi is a 2008 batch Karnataka State Police Service Officer who had earlier worked in Bengaluru, Kalaburagi and Kolar and in special units such as Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL), Crime Investigation Department (CID) and Internal Security Division (ISD). A resident of Bengaluru, Jahnavi completed her M.Sc in Psychology from Bangalore University. With a flair for reading, she also enjoys listening to music.
Star of Mysore (SOM): UPSC is one of the toughest exams. Tell us about the motivation and preparation which has carried you to this top position.
Jahnavi: Right from my childhood days I wanted to clear the UPSC exam which was my main motivation. Throughout my career, I have worked in various departments and special units and attained an overall understanding and experience of working with the public. Psychology M.Sc also helped as it has a bearing on how we interact with public. My parents have been my biggest motivators and backbone for everything that I have achieved.
SOM: Have you encountered any negativity because of your gender?
Jahnavi: Not at all. It is your performance as a public servant that matters and gains you respect and gender has no bearing. Times have changed and the roles have shifted. Women have entered and accomplished every unexplored bastion.
SOM: What are the pros and cons of being a woman top cop?
Jahnavi: There are a lot of pros because we are both sensible and sensitive. We have a holistic approach with a humane touch to deal with problems and I think women are good administrators and have a better understanding. We are tolerant and we are receptive which is the biggest positive factor. I don’t think there are any cons attached to it.
SOM: Measures taken to manage traffic and instil road sense to ensure safety.
Jahnavi: We are trying to have a scientific approach to reduce accidents, loss of life and injuries. We also work together with other departments like PWD, NHAI to implement changes including scientific and structural. We conduct road safety committee meetings and discuss structural changes like putting speed-breakers, traffic signals and zebra crossings.
SOM: Has imposing penalties helped curb traffic violations?
Jahnavi: Imposing penalties are only for violators. It is also a kind of awareness so that they don’t repeat. By side-stepping these rules, they invite problems for themselves and risk other lives. They must understand that following traffic rules is not to show the Police but for their own safety.
SOM: Would you encourage women, especially housewives, to learn driving?
Jahnavi: We will definitely take this as a suggestion and think of something where we can actually do it. Our priority has always been concentrating on avoiding accidents and regulating traffic. By learning to ride and drive, women can empower themselves and run their chores without having to rely on men.
SOM: Your message to the public about riding and driving.
Jahnavi: Today, roads have become congested because of the increase in vehicles. You have to drive carefully, obey traffic rules, concentrate at all times, maintain a safe speed, give correct signals and buckle up or wear a helmet. I also urge people to use public transport as much as possible as this can de-congest roads.
SOM: What do you have to say about woman empowerment?
Jahnavi: It has to start from the beginning. Parents have to instil confidence and belief in girls that anything and everything is achievable. Both of us having this conversation itself is proof that women are marching progressively towards empowerment. Everyone is special and is biologically and naturally empowered but need to be encouraged so that they can achieve their goals fearlessly.