Apart from serving as frontline warriors across the country, police officers are going above and beyond their duty's call to make sure the citizens feel protected and less-stressed amid this devastating pandemic. In what can be called a thoughtful and selfless act, Constable Kamla Chauhan, posted in the Champawat district of Uttarakhand, is contributing her bit by educating the children of migrant labourers, who’ve been accommodated at a relief camp. “Corona harega, Desh jeetega” is what the corona warrior said when we asked her what she expects in the coming months.
Chauhan is one of the many Women Of Kumaon who are bringing about a change and inspiring thousands of young girls and women in the region. In a candid conversation, with SheThePeople.TV Constable Kamla Chauhan shares the COVID-19 situation in her area, her initiative to educate kids at the relief camp, how she ranks the nation above her family, and why she believes women have the ability to bring about massive changes.
“Away from their homes, and now in relief camps, there’s always stress and insecurity. My only aim is to keep the children occupied and cheerful with activities as they don’t deserve to stay depressed or dispirited.”
Constable Chauhan, who grew up dreaming of becoming a police officer, worked exceedingly hard to fulfil her dream and finally entered the police force in 2007. Serving the citizens and keeping them away from any kind of instability is what she considers her duty.
"Every person, who is left stranded or is stuck away from their home due to the lockdown is enduring panic and stress. During my duty, I observed that migrant labourers and their children, who put up at the relief camp, set up at the inter-college, were feeling dejected. It’s evident that this situation generates fear, but I also realised there was something meaningful I can do for the kids by diverting their mind and engaging them in reading and learning. You know, it’s like a chain reaction, children stay occupied with studies and activities I do with them and by looking at them I feel relieved, if only to some extent,” she shares.
On Putting Extra Duty Hours
Chauhan has not only put extra duty hours but has also been providing the kids with the necessary stationery like notebooks, books, pencils, pens, etc, all at her expense. “It’s no big deal, look at these children’s faces, they get super excited when I bring the stationery. Small children are always excited about new things. And here, we’re talking about children of migrant labourers who are deprived of such joys and are not privileged,” she says.
“COVID-19 has disrupted so much in such a little time. I’m serving for about 12-14 hours per day, all of us in the police force are. It’s, however, a huge challenge even now to manage people. While most citizens are cooperating, there are some who still need to understand rules.”
Awareness About COVID-19
Chauhan expresses how it’s still a task to make people understand that this is a pandemic, and even if they’re getting relaxation for a few hours to go out and purchase essential items, they’re supposed to follow the social distancing norms and not step out in groups. “Initially, people were pouncing on shops at the market like anything, we’re there on duty explaining them but some don’t understand. Thankfully, people are becoming more aware now. And then, post duty, we go back to our home and it’s not easy, especially with children around. It’s scary and difficult to manage so much panic altogether, but we have to get through it.”
“I’m seeing the women police officers in this region serving day and night, and we do know that they have households to go back to, children and family to look after. But that’s what women have done, always, managed everything. They were not given credit or coverage for it earlier. They are now, to a large extent.”
On Gender Bias
Chauhan reflects on how people would differentiate in capabilities between men and women. “I don’t see the difference. See, when we’re on duty, we’re police officers, all of us. Pandemic happened, and we’re coming together and serving the nation.”
She adds, the difference arose from the fact that the women, for years and years, have been invisible. "The fact that now there’s so much coverage and visibility, people are starting to understand that really is no difference, the only difference was in their patriarchal minds."
“I want to tell young girls and women out there to never underestimate themselves, ever.”
Giving a reference of Baby Rani Maurya, the Governor of Uttarakhand, whom she respects tremendously, Chauhan says that women have the potential to become great leaders and, from her experience, she can say that women are recognised in her home state to some extent.
"I want to tell the girls, especially in small towns like ours, that never think that you’re born to stay within the four walls of a house. You’re more than that, you just need to believe in yourself and work hard in realising your potential.”
For Fellow Corona Warriors
Chauhan stresses how citizens must follow every rule that has been laid down by the authorities as this is what will ease the situation to a huge extent. “Please stay at home, we’re here to protect you. You asked me how citizens can contribute in making our job easy, this is how. Just stay in and safe, and we’ll know that you’re grateful. That’ll be our reward.”
“I can vouch that every police officer is going above and beyond duty to serve the nation. That’s the only priority in our minds, before our families, before our interests, before anything.”
Chauhan also adds a message for her fellow corona warriors saying, “I know how difficult it gets to manage a household full of children alongside serving for endless hours on duty. I just want to say that let’s continue doing it diligently and putting in the extra effort because this is for the nation. This is why we entered the police force. And sooner or later, Corona will lose and the country will win,” she concludes.