Tmt. S. Rajeswari, IPS, Deputy Inspector General of Police, Salem is a living example of a woman of substance. She was recently promoted and posted as member secretary/ inspector general of police. The successful IPS, DIG of Police, has been an IPS Officer with over two decades of dedicated service with the Tamil Nadu Police. She has wide experience in the field of investigation, traffic enforcement and in the field of crime against women. Her effective contribution in reducing the number of fatal accidents in her zone has been commended by the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu.

She was SP, CB-CID (the premier investigating agency of the state) from 2009 to 2013 and from 2016 to 2019 wherein she had outshone on all fronts. She was exceptionally outstanding in the field of investigation of sensational cases. Her contribution in investigation field was recognised by the Chief Minister by awarding her a letter of commendation in 2011 and ‘Chief Ministers Medal for Excellence in Investigation’ for 2012.

Her professional competence and devotion to duty was recognised by the Government by awarding her ‘The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister’s ANNA Medal for Outstanding Devotion to Duty’ in 2017. Her outstanding services were recognised by the Central Government and was awarded with the prestigious ‘President Medal for the Meritorious Service’ in 2020.

She has also received a Commendation Letter from the present Hon’ble CM for her contribution in the conduct Chess Olympiad. She has represented Tamil Nadu Police in All India Police Badminton Championship from the year 2003 to 2018 and has won gold medal in doubles and mixed doubles. No wonder then that she is considered as an asset to the department by her senior officers for the dedication and hard work she has rendered till date to the Department of Tamilnadu Police.

  1. What was your dream career in your growing up days?
    I didn’t have any such dream career, but always wanted to get into some profession which is not easy for women. I studied in KV, Port Blair, Andaman & Nicobar Island. After completing my M.Sc (Agriculture) in Coimbatore, I started preparing for various exams and one such exam was Group-I of Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission.
  2. When you began your career many years ago, did you ever imagine that you would have a leadership role in this profession? What were the challenges and how did you overcome them?Yes, I did. All my efforts was only to ensure that I need to play the role of a leader in this challenging profession and I wanted to be recognised for the efforts and my capabilities as a leader who could lead a carrier which is tough and said to be that of a male dominating profession.
  3. What is your current role? What are the steps you’re taking to address the issues at hand?
    As on date, I am Inspector General of Police / Member Secretary, Tamil Nadu Uniformed Services Recruitment Board. This is the only unit wherein we provide human resources not only to the Police Department but also for the Prisons and Fire Service. I am presently sensitising the youngsters to get into Uniform Service and to plan their future and mould them physically for the same.
  4. Do women in your profession have a hard time getting ahead in their career? Who inspired you and how?
    We have no problem with regard to our promotions. However, challenging assignments are provided to women officers who are really outstanding and perform either better than men in all field of policing. I was inspired by my mother as she, being the daughter of Ex-Home Minister and Freedom Fighter Thiru P. Kakkan wanted her daughter to join any service which would do good to the public and underprivileged society.
  5. As a female leader, what has been the most significant barrier in your career? What have been the biggest highpoints and some of the most cherished moments in your journey so far?
    A significant barrier was the time I was not able to spend with my family, especially with my son. There was always a feel of guilt for not providing him the required attention like other mothers of his class. I tried my best to spend quality time and to be very honest; it was my son who overcame this challenge. The biggest highpoint was receiving President Medal for the Meritorious Service in the year 2020 and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister’s Medal for Excellence in Investigation for the year 2012 and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister’s Anna Medal for Outstanding Devotion to Duty for the year 2017. The most cherished moment in my journey was my tenure in CBCID wherein I detected long pending sensitive murder cases and my effort was recognised when I was awarded a Letter of Commendation from the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and a medal for Excellence in Investigation.
  6. How good are you at planning your time? What are the social causes you have been working towards?
    It is very difficult to plan your schedule in this profession. I accept life as it comes.
    With regard to other life responsibilities, I provide the basic support which may include financial, moral and at times emotional support too. With regards to my passion, I have clubbed it with my responsibilities and work. I spend most of my time with the underprivileged children and provide moral and financial support to them. Therefore, I was nominated as a Nodal Officer for the Police Girls and Boys Club which was formed with an objective to wean away slum children/underprivileged children from anti-social activities, to protect children from anti-social elements by providing them a safe and secure environment, where they can properly utilise their leisure time to develop their interests, and to rehabilitate and reform these children in conflict with law. I can boldly say that my contribution has resulted in revitalisation and revival of 112 Police Girls and Boys clubs in Chennai and 41 Police Girls and Boys Clubs in Salem Range.
  7. What advice would you give to the next generation of female leaders who want to be successful?
    My only advice for the female leaders is to think big and to ensure the feminine qualities which include empathy, love and affection is not lost in the process of winning the leadership race. Successful women should be clear about their ambitions and aspirations and need to put their assignment before any other assignments.
  8. Some of the important initiatives you have implemented or advocated and are working towards? Also, what are some of the valuable lessons you have learned about staying resilient and strong?
    I was nominated as a Nodal Officer for 112 Police Girls & Boys Club (PGBC) and assigned with the onerous task of rejuvenating these clubs. Also, on my transfer as DIG, Salem Range reviewed 41 PGBCs. The assignments carried out and activities were undertaken by me paved the way to reduce juvenile delinquency, drug abuse among children and improved their health. My service towards underprivileged children was appreciated by the general public, media and others. I am still in the process of learning. Every day you learn something new, different and interesting in the field of policing. At times if it is beyond our zone, we still try to convince the petitioners, especially when it is a family issue. They seem to find comfort from our conversations; perhaps they believe women in Khaki.
  9. Have you ever been so discouraged you wanted to quit?
    I have not thought of quitting, but I did take rest when things were difficult to handle and took my own time, but fought back and won few battles.
  10. What are some of the ways you stay grounded and take care of yourself? A powerful message for everyone out there for Women’s Day / Women’s Month?
    I do spend time for myself as I believe in being fit. I play badminton and have won many medals for the department for nearly 10 years. I believe and advise people to groom themselves, as you need to be confident and also appear confident. When one leads a force or organisation, one should be presentable, smart and needs to be good at communication with not just your team, but the rest of the organisation. My only advice is that everyone has certain inborn qualities as women; never lose that by imitating men. We are known for our kindness that we bestow and the patience and the empathy that we exhibit. We should not lose it.