The silver stars on her shoulders glittered with pride as I entered the office of the newly appointed Superintendent of Police. Dr. Pritpal Kaur Batra, IPS, a woman who walks the talk, has won many hearts as Tuensang’s Sub-Division Police Officer. She has rendered her service diligently to the people in so numerous ways ~ and even spent her salary on educating disadvantaged young people.
In an exclusive interview with Nagaland Page, Dr. Batra, the first woman Superintendent of Police of Noklak expressed her love for the community and Naga youths in particular.
When asked how she feels about being the first SP of Noklak, she ebulliently smiled and replied, “I am very excited! The best thing is that I’m getting an opportunity where I can start from scratch, and it will be a pioneering moment for me. Whatever opportunity God is giving me, I’ll make the best of it. I am very happy! Tuensang is very close to my heart, and the fact that I’ll be going to a place not far from this Town makes me even happier.”
As she gets ready to venture out on a new chapter of her service, her expectation from Noklak is that people should be able to understand the purpose of her Department. She hopes that they can work together as one. The best thing for her would be when the people of Noklak collaborate with her in the smooth functioning of her Department. And, she confidently says, “I expect only cooperation from the public, nothing else.”
The SP, being a doctor herself, plans on prioritizing three things. First, a thorough check on drugs and alcohol abuse among the youths. Second, Noklak having international borders is a sensitive district. Therefore, law and order must be efficiently maintained. Third, target youths with regard to education. She aspires to change the education system so that people gets quality education and becomes intellectually empowered.
“In any way, if I can help the youth, it will be a blessing for me,” expressed Dr. Batra.
Dr. Pritpal Kaur Batra focuses on the fact that Noklak is a very young district but with old issues such as international borders and insurgency nevertheless she endeavours to maintain peace.
Also, since her unit is new, some of the developmental activities that she would need to undertake will be establishing a unit quarter and the SP’s residence, “My first priority will be my security Jawans. They work 24×7 tirelessly for the people at Thonoknyu, Pathso and Noklak.”
She also ardently believes that Noklak’s youths should be empowered through education. She is keen on undertaking activities related to the education sector.
She also wants to help those in need. She is confident that the Department can work hand-in-hand with the administration for the betterment of society.
“The notion of backwardness in our area has to be changed. It’s only in the mind and I want to work for progress until people stops tagging us as “backwards,” she said adding, “There are many talents around us in music, sports, agriculture, etc. There isn’t a thing that they cannot do, it’s just that they don’t get the platform, or are lazy.”
The question that every concerned citizen of Noklak would like to ask is undoubtedly what her Department can do to control supply and consumption of drugs and IFML ~ since substance abuse is increasing, the need to check it is dire. According to the SP, the two problems that contribute to substance abuse are “supply and demand.”
On being asked how it can be tackled she responded, “We will replicate the ideas and activities we employed in Tuensang. We make sure that drug and alcohol raids are continuously undertaken. We may not curtail everyone but we will not stop trying. With regard to demands, it’s my youth. We will do everything to stop the supply and if that cannot be completely eliminated, we have an OST centre that hasn’t started working. I’ll make sure that it starts functioning so that rehabilitation can begin soon. The youth is the leg of the society, they are the future. So we’ll try to make sure that everyone involved in it are rescued.”
Relationship building is also one component important for any authority to exist in harmony with the people. Dr.Batra, who is extremely approachable, has already started building her relationship with the people of Noklak. “As their SP, whenever people knock at my door, I’ll never say no. They’ll always be welcome. We’re family now. I’m 3000 kms away from my family. So now, Noklak becomes my family.”
For a doctor, who chose to join the Police, Dr. Batra must have envisioned something exceptional. She says, “When I was a dentist, the people who came as my patients were very rich. Coming from a Sikh family, my parents always taught me to help the poor. Then I realized that no matter how much I earn, if I cannot help someone, what is the purpose of my life? After joining the Police, when I first came to Nagaland, I never imagined I would come to this corner of India but when I came here, I was so happy. This is the place where I was required to be!”
As a role model and a person to look up to as a leader, Dr. Batra upholds the truth that all human beings ~ men or women ~ are equal. “I don’t want to prove that I am superior to men. I only want to prove that I am as equal as men. Sometimes in my uniform, I even forget that I’m a woman!” she laughs as she continued with a broad smile, “I have the spirit of a Punjabi woman imbibed in me, our energy is robust and potent.”
Appointed as the first SP of Noklak, Dr. Batra has not wavered in her intentions. She asserts, “There is no one there in Noklak right now. People might ask why I would want to go to a remote District like Noklak. My answer is simple ~ if not me, who? I should go.”
Dr. Batra is married for eight years and life couldn’t be easy living far away from home and family. But she takes it in her stride and says, “It is difficult but I’m blessed with a family and husband who understands and respects the duties I’m called to serve.”
“See! I’m a good wife. I’m sending food stuff to my husband from here!” she laughs vivaciously as she’s writing down an address on a white parcel with Naga produce like “kholar” in it. She admires her husband and states, “My husband has always supported me in everything through thick and thin. I’m very blessed to have found a good husband like him.”
Her last message for Tuensang as their SDPO is, “Tuensang is the only district in Nagaland that has a record in the Constitution of India. Take pride in it and never let it diminish. As long as I served here, I’ve always done my best to uplift the people. I believe I have planted the seeds on a fertile soil. Now it’s up to you to water them and bloom accordingly. Someday when I hear that you have succeeded in any way because of me ~ that will be my best achievement. That’s the only thing I want in return.” Her first message for Noklak as their Superintendent of Police is, “Change is never bad. We can change for modernity without altering our cultures. They should accept change for the uplift of their own people. The best way towards advancement is education. So, if not them, who? If not now, when? Young people are my happiness and inspiration. I don’t want any of them to get lost in the chaos of the world. If they lose their lives, I lose my happiness. So I want to work for them. In the same manner, I expect them to walk with me and work along.”