Nepali Times Asian Paints
Nation
Kathmandu's finest



DAMBER K SHRESTHA
One late morning last month, sub-inspector Premprasad Regmi and head-constable Parbati Upadhya headed off from their station in Lalitpur to investigate a robbery in their precinct.

On the way there, the two passed a group of young men at Kanibahal, who looked like trouble. On seeing the constables, one of them produced a gun, shooting Premprasad on the chest and Parbati on her arm.

Parbati's instinct and training took over. Seeing that she could handle only one person, she rushed to the one with the gun, wrestled him to the ground and pinned him down until backup arrived. "If I had to die, I would die bringing him down," she recalled thinking.

Parbati's courage got her promoted immediately to assistant sub-inspector. While she's glad about how it turned out, she is happier that she lived up to her duty and hopefully will be an inspiration for other policewomen in the force. Premprasad survived and is recuperating.

What makes Parbati's courage even more remarkable is that she was seven months pregnant in June when, bleeding from a bullet wound, she tackled and brought down the assailant.

With characteristic modesty, Parbati downplays her achievement. "There are so many other police men and women who've faced challenges like me," she says, "and I am sure anyone else in that situation would have done what I did."

Not sure about that. The smile on Parbati's face fades when she describes the lack of cooperation from onlookers. Even when she begged passersby to call the police station, no one helped. In fact, a shopkeeper rolled down his shutters.

"It's disappointing", she says sadly, "but I haven't lost hope or my sense of duty towards the people."

At 30, Parbati has been in the Nepali Police for the past ten years. She was the second woman from Kapilbastu to join the force and admits she always dreamed of being a policewoman.

"It was the uniform that first attracted me," she smiles, "and I wanted to serve my country".

Back home, she'd worked shoulder to shoulder with the men. With most of her siblings in India, Parbati took over supporting the family even though she is the youngest. She is an ardent athlete and won the nationals in running.
Parbati says both sides of her family have fully supported her career, and the fact that her husband is also a police officer helps.

"This is a 24-hour job," she says, "you can't say I'm off duty, you have to be where you are needed no matter what the time or situation."

Parbati thinks Nepali women shouldn't doubt their capabilities, and they shouldn't let anyone undermine their self-esteem. She says with confidence: "There is nothing we can't do."

Roma Aryal



LATEST ISSUE
638
(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)


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