1. What inspired you to pursue a career in public service?
    I love my profession and politics. When comparing a medical doctor and a politician’s contribution to the nation, more doctors are serving without a doubt. However, being a strong advocate of social justice, raised in a political family, and observing Tamil Nadu’s political landscape for over half a century, I desired a more active role in public life. Even as a doctor, my interactions with patients and their positive feedback fueled my inclination towards politics. With my capacity, I entered politics, successfully contested elections, and became a political leader. My intention has always been to serve the country, believing in my leadership capabilities, especially as a woman in a field with fewer female leaders.
  2. Could you share the unique challenges and opportunities you’ve encountered as the first woman governor of Telangana from Tamil Nadu?
    Telangana welcomed me warmly, and the connection with my birthday coinciding with Telangana’s added a divine touch. Being affectionately called ‘Akka’ (sister), I emphasize being Tamil Nadu’s daughter and Telangana’s sister. The reception has been positive, and the people appreciate my adherence to traditions reflected in my attire. As the first governor of Telangana, I’ve initiated various activities, including adopting tribal villages and conducting ‘Prajadarbar’ at Raj Bhavan. The people identify with me, appreciating my commitment to traditions and the community.
  3. As Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry, what unique challenges and opportunities do you see for women’s empowerment in the Union Territory compared to Telangana?
    The roles of Governor and Lieutenant Governor differ significantly. In Puducherry, our focus on day-to-day administration sets us apart, making our responsibilities more hands-on. We’ve implemented various initiatives, such as ‘No Bag Day,’ introduced a water bell, and prioritized millet snacks for children. Women’s empowerment is evident with specific policies, like Friday relaxation for women and ‘Grievance Day’ every 15th. Consistency and dedication have driven positive changes in education, health, and administration. We also underlined the commendable efforts in Puducherry, including the groundbreaking 10% reservation for government school children based on NEET marks.
  4. Looking ahead, what are your key priorities for promoting women’s entrepreneurship and participation in leadership roles within Telangana?
    Telangana has a strong cultural foundation that respects women. Festivals like ‘Bathukamma’ and ‘Bonalu’ highlight women’s roles in preserving traditions. Key officials, including the Chief Secretary and Health Secretary, are women. My focus is on nurturing women’s empowerment, encouraging entrepreneurship, and fostering leadership. Telangana’s commitment to women’s causes is evident, and I aim to build on this foundation.
  5. What message do you have for young girls and women aspiring to break barriers and contribute to society in their chosen fields?
    Desire, dedication, and moving forward with commitment are essential. Immediate results may not always come, but patience and consistency are crucial. Women should not see their pursuits as burdens but as desires that bring happiness. Consistency, commitment, desire and dedication, the 2Ds and 2Cs, along with commitment and enjoying the journey, are key. Recognise the challenges women face, work 100 times harder, and maintain the fire within to overcome hurdles.
  6. What has been your contribution to Tribal Women’s welfare?
    We adopted six tribal villages in Telangana, addressing health and economic issues. Through collaborations with institutions like the National Institute of Nutrition, ESIC hospital, and Raj Bhavan, we improved haemoglobin levels with ‘Mahua laddu’ distribution. We provided two-wheeler ambulances, Rajeshwari chicks, and supported education. Eco-friendly plate-making training empowered women economically, showcasing a holistic approach to tribal welfare.
  7. How do you spare time with your family and friends in your busy schedule?
    Physically spending time is limited, but I maintain constant communication. I connect with family over the phone, discussing daily challenges with my daughter and son. While physical presence is minimal, staying connected emotionally remains a priority.
  8. As we celebrate Women’s Day, what is your vision for the future of women in your state and your message to women?
    Women should prioritise happiness, facing challenges with resilience. Life is precious and problems are temporary. Embrace challenges, innovate, rejuvenate, and maintain physical activity. Balancing family, personal life, and profession is crucial for overall happiness and success.
  9. Any future plans to enter the Tamil Nadu politics?
    Will see; it depends on God’s desire.