By Rishabh Naudiyal Last Updated:
In 1972, Kiran Bedi became the first woman in Indian history to join the officer ranks in the Indian Police Service (IPS). After she had ended the male supremacy in the IPS, many woman officers were seen getting into the officer ranks, all thanks to Kiran Bedi's inspirational journey. Other than this, she had also served as the 24th Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry for some years in her career. After serving the nation for 35 years, Kiran Bedi had taken voluntary retirement in 2007 and had left her then-position of Director General, Bureau of Police Research and Development.
Even after retiring from service, Kiran Bedi still continues to serve society, as she keeps on spreading awareness about various social problems through the help of campaigns and her events. For instance, in June 2022, on the occasion of World Environment Day, Kiran Bedi had visited the Dibrugarh University campus to talk about the importance of sustainable development and had also urged students to plant trees. The first woman IPS officer also planted a sapling and had shared the message loud and clear. Even at the age of 72, Kiran Bedi's powerful actions clearly speak volumes about her work for the betterment of society.
While on the professional front, Kiran Bedi had served the nation with all her heart and soul. However, in the process, she had sacrificed a lot of things in her life. Sadly, her marriage was one of them, as it was reported that because of not being able to spend much time with her husband, late Brij Bedi, differences had started creeping in between them. And it had resulted in separation in the end. However, Kiran and Brij had never divorced each other, and neither was involved romantically with someone else.
Even after their separation, a thread was still there that had connected them together. For the unversed, Kiran Bedi's estranged husband, Brij Bedi, was a social activist, who had found a school in Amritsar that had provided education to almost 600 children. However, sadly on January 31, 2016, Brij Bedi had passed away due to cardiac arrest. Once in an interview with a news portal, Brij Bedi had opened up about his married life with Kiran Bedi, and it will move you to tears, as it's nothing but a story of a doting husband, who did it all for the sake of his love.
In an interview with Dr. Uma Arara for Punjab Monitor, Brij Bedi was asked to recall his first meeting with his wife, Kiran Bedi. Answering the same, Brij Bedi had taken a trip down back in 1971, when he was studying at Khalsa College, Amritsar, he had developed an instant interest in photography and lawn tennis. One fine day, while he was inside the tennis club and was playing the game with his friends, he had met Kiran Peshawaria there for the first time in his life. The two had clicked instantly and had become friends. Indeed it was tennis that had played Cupid between the then-future lovers. In his words:
"lt was in 1971. When I was in Khalsa College, Amritsar, I met a friend who taught me photography and lawn tennis. The game interested me so much that even on the examination day I was playing tennis and naturally failed. In 1971 Kiran had returned from Chandigarh. She was a very good tennis player, in fact her father was very keen to make her an outstanding tennis player, and she went on to become the Asian Champion. We met in the club, played tennis together and became good friends."
Going further in the interview, Brij Bedi had shared an interesting anecdote about his love story with Kiran Bedi, as he had shared that when he had met her for the first time in his life, he was already engaged. You may call it destiny, magic or coincidence, but soon his engagement was broken over personal differences. When Brij Bedi had told his future in-laws that he was not ready for a big fat Indian wedding as he had always wanted an intimate ceremony, the girl's parents had broken their engagement. He had recalled:
"That happened later. At that time I was engaged with a girl from Delhi. Being an idealist l wanted just a simple marriage but the girl's parents refused. So we broke the engagement."
Further in the conversation, Brij Bedi had disclosed that even before his engagement was broken, Kiran Peshawaria had told him that if his future in-laws were not ready to accept his demands, she would love to marry him. Although he had also admitted that soon after his engagement was called-off, he had started feeling something for Kiran. For Brij Bedi, it was Kiran's witty nature and intelligence that had made him fall in love with her and was also the foundation of their friendship. He had explained:
"Meanwhile, I had begun to like Kiran for her intelligence and quick wit. She had told me that if this engagement did not work, she would marry me as she wanted to have a husband with similar ideals."
It was in 1972 when Kiran Peshawaria and Brij Bedi had got married in an intimate wedding ceremony. Despite having an age gap of 10 years, Kiran and Brij were convinced that they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together. Moving forward in his heart-to-heart conversation, Brij Bedi had shared how his wife had started the police training at the National Academy of Administration, Mussoorie, soon after their wedding. Reflecting on how he was very well versed about his wife's aspirations and the kind of marriage they would be sharing, he had shared:
"Yes and no. We had ten years difference in our age but our thinking level was the same. If I had my ideals she had her own conditions. Although she had taken up a job in Khalsa college it was decided that she would become- an l.A.S. officer failing which she would go to Canada for her Ph.D. She was so intelligent I did not think of stopping her or controlling her just because she was to be my wife. If she had the ability and the will power to pursue the goals, why should I or anyone stop her. Instead I agreed with her and encouraged her. We were madly in love at that time and such things seemed very superficial."
Brij Bedi was always supportive of his wife, Kiran Bedi's aspirations and dreams. Recalling the same, he had shared that there was a time when he had polished his wife's shoes and used to cook for her. The doting husband had admitted that he never had any male ego and was instead he was proud of his wife's hard work and talent. He had also stressed the thought that he would have never married Kiran if she was thinking of becoming a housebound person after their marriage. Brij Bedi had explained how he was his wife's permanent supporter. He had said:
"Where there is love there is no ego. I used to cook and even polish her shoes. Sometimes when she would be tired I pressed her legs also. I never felt anything wrong in that. I would never have married such a homebound person. Since it was already decided in our case that she would be posted outside I was mentally prepared to be a visiting husband."
Going further in the interview, Brij Bedi had shared that cracks had started appearing in his marriage with Kiran Bedi soon after his wife was posted to Delhi. Brij Bedi had shared that Kiran's parents and her siblings had shifted to his wife's house, which was a 2BHK, and it had become quite suffocating for their marriage. Moreover, Brij had shared how his in-laws had started interfering in between his and Kiran's married life. Talking about the same, he had explained:
"After the training she was posted at Delhi and I used to visit her on the weekends. Her parents had already shifted to Delhi with her and then her sisters also joined and completed the family coterie around her. ln a two room house it used to become really overcrowded and I felt highly suffocated, Gradually I began to feel very uncomfortable there as her parents would interfere in our personal relationship and we began to drift apart."
After some years of their marriage, Brij Bedi and Kiran Bedi had welcomed a baby girl in their lives and had lovingly named her Saina Bedi. When the doting father was asked about how he had managed to meet his daughter after their separation, Brij gave an emotional answer. He had shared that he used to visit her on weekends. However, he had admitted that his daughter, Saina had paid the price of his and Kiran's divorce. He had added that she had never received the love of a mother and a father. Revealing the reasons behind it, Brij Bedi had shared:
"I go to visit her now. That is the biggest tragedy of our marriage. She neither got love of her mother nor the affection of a father. Kiran was naturally very busy and could spare only a few hurried moments from her busy schedule. I used to go on weekends which was fine but since past eight years I have stopped going to Delhi and the girl is really deprived of parental care."
At the end of the interview, Brij Bedi was asked why he had not given divorce to his wife, Kiran Bedi. Answering this, the social activist had shared that the only reason behind his decision not to go ahead with the option of divorce from his wife was their daughter, Saina Bedi. He had explained:
"They (Kiran's parents) wanted a divorce. Even Kiran mentioned it once but I refused saying our achievement is mine. She was my dream. There was a time when she had called me 'her god' in one such interviews. But then things became really bad between us. For our daughter's sake I never thought of a divorce. My' parents too used to insist sometimes but I did not want to get married again."
It was on January 31, 2016, when Brij Bedi had passed away in a hospital in Gurugram due to cardiac arrest. As per multiple reports, he had bladder cancer for some years and eventually, cancer had reportedly spread across his kidneys and had damaged them. After the news of Brij Bedi's demise had circulated in the media, Kiran Bedi had taken to her Twitter handle and had tweeted a few lines in his memory. The former IPS officer had praised him for his immense contribution to the people of Amritsar. Her tweet can be read as:
"City of Amritsar lost a man who loved his city the most. One who gave all his life to the cause of the needy. We will carry fwd his service."
It's incredible the way Kiran Bedi and Brij Bedi had led their married life. Despite having so many things in common at the beginning to not having enough love for each other in the later stages of their lives, they remained true to their responsibility as a parent. What are your thoughts on their love story? Let us know!