“I am a Dalit in Khairlanji. A Pandit in the Kashmir valley. A Sikh in 1984. I am from the North East of India when I am in Munirka. I am a Muslim in Gujarat; a Christian in Kandhamal. A Bihari in Maharashtra. A Delhi-wallah in Chennai. A woman in North India. A Hindi-speaker in Assam. A Tamilian in MP. A villager in a big city. A confused man in an indifferent world. We’re all minorities.We all suffer; we all face discrimination. It is only us resisting this parochialism when in the position of majoritarian power that makes us human. I hope that one day, I can just be an Indian in India – only then can I be me.” – Sami Ahmad Khan
Kashmir ‘the crown of India, ’ has been in the news for wrong reasons in past two decades or so. Militants, Infiltrations, deaths are everyday news that often emerges from this valley state. The youth of this valley who are contributing to the national growth get defocused in the race to cover Militancy problems of this state. But here is an inspiring story from the valley by Dr. Ruveda Salaam, who despite all odds qualified as a Doctor and not contented with medical degree went on to take up Union Public Service-(UPSC) exams and cleared it in the first attempt to become an IPS officer. Importantly she is the first ever Women from Kashmir to achieve this feat. The story should inspire more and more girls of the nation to aim high and break away from stereotypic professions they are often branded with.
Ruveda Salaam hails from Kupwara district of Kashmir. Since her childhood, her father had reinforced within her the importance of taking up competitive exams like IAS. The motivation brought in by her father got deeply rooted in this girl. Though initially she got an opportunity to pursue MBBS and qualified as a doctor from Govt. Medical College, Kashmir. Her inner self-triggered her not to take up post graduation in medicine instead try UPSC exams. She is the first women from Kashmir to crack UPSC and that too in the first attempt in the year 2013. Her academic record has been exemplary with MBBS and Kashmir Administrative Service qualifications in her kitty.
Service as Assistant Commissioner of Police-ACP
On qualifying UPSC exams, she got an opportunity to be IPS-Indian Police Service officer. Received training at Hyderabad for Indian Police services which were strenuous and later posted to Tamil Nadu capital Chennai as ACP. She has been enjoying the duty of police officer and makes it a point that she delivers the goods in picture-perfect manner. Her duties and responsibilities make her work until midnight. She patrols the city thrice a week in nights. Her daily routine starts at 7 am in the morning, and as part of the responsibilities, she has to report to senior officials and collect reports from subordinates and also does traffic monitoring. As a lady officer, she is entrusted with receiving petitions from women. In between as part of ACP roles, she has cleared many departmental exams. Especially for summits like G-20 Nations meet and Youth-20 summit meets she has to undergo rigorous training. In spite of hectic schedule, she takes out time to give motivational speeches to girls to take up IPS/IAS exams. She conducts workshops in Chennai and Hyderabad the cities from where her journey as IPS officer begun. She recalls that most of the girls aspire to take up IPS, but some express apprehension about their parents support for the same. In a nutshell, according to her ACP role is challenging and feels lucky that she started her career from Tamil Nadu where police derive a lot of respect from the public.
Chennai Vs Kashmir Lifestyle
Having born in Kashmir, the Switzerland of India which it was renowned for tourism during her childhood days, she finds climate as the major difference between coastal city Chennai and mountainous region of Kashmir 17 degree centigrade. She found it difficult to adjust to humid conditions of Chennai 33 degree centigrade. But at the same time, she agrees that she is in the city which is considered to be second best food city by National Geographic.
Though for the past two years she is not residing in Kashmir, she gets an update about the state from her family members. According to her separatists are losing support from the local people and people wants development. She strongly opines Development can bring in peace in the valley. She also admits that Kashmiri origin youth are looked down by the rest of the country as Ant-Nationalists. Her solution to this is to disprove this theory of ‘all Kashmiris’ are militants’ through contribution to society in various fields.
Hobbies & Interests
She reads a lot of poems and also pens many poems. Robert Frost and William Wordsworth are two literary giants whom she admires a lot. She is a foodie and explores new restaurants in the city. To keep herself fit does jogging every day. She also wants to pursue Social work seriously as it helps individuals to be associated with society. In her past 8-9 months of experience as a police officer, she has understood that ‘serving the humanity’ is the key to a police officer and is least bothered about where she gets posted. Her further career aim is to get training for next UPSC exams and obtain a better rank to get into collector post.