Brij Bedi passes away: Amritsar loses a social activist

  • Usmeet Kaur, Hindustan Times, Amritsar
  • Updated: Jan 31, 2016 23:48 IST
Brij Bedi.

A pall of gloom descended on the holy city as the news of death of Brij Bedi, a social activist and husband of India’s first IPS officer Kiran Bedi, reached Amritsar on Sunday morning. Bedi was unwell since about a month and breathed his last in a private hospital in Gurgaon.

Not as high profile as his wife, Brij Bedi was quite a known face in Amritsar, as he had been serving the society in his own unpretentious way in the holy city.

Bedi’s social activism in city

Bedi was on a social mission under which he motivated the residents of Maqboolpura, which is one of the worst drug-affected localities, to shun drugs. He along with Ajit Singh, a teacher, had started a school -- ‘Citizen Forum Vidya Mandir’ - in 1999, which was meant for children of families affected by drugs in the state.

Having started with 20 students, today the school has more than 600 students. The mission of this school was to transform the lives of these children and save the next generation from the menace of drugs.

Brij Bedi, in one of his interviews with HT, had said, “When an English daily from Punjab did a series on severity of drug menace in the state and the locality in particular, followed by a survey done by the then senior superintendent of police, Gurdev Singh Sahotra, who was known for his crackdown on drug peddlers, it was then that I decided to work amongst the children of drug-affected families by imparting education to them. This colony needed a lot of attention, as few students had lost their bread earners to drugs, while parents of few children are drug addicts, while many are from the underprivileged section.”

Bedi back then had also shared his happiness, saying that when his wife Kiran Bedi visited the school, she had said no one in the country had ever taken an initiative like this. “It was quite an encouragement,” he had said.

Brij Bedi had also made a difference in the city through social activism, paying scholarships to underprivileged students, tidying up the city, monitoring traffic, supporting athletes, campaigning against obscene posters, and preserving rare paintings in the Golden Temple.

A crusader

This crusader was often spotted on the city roads, keeping a check on the traffic and traffic violators. He was once also appointed as the chief traffic warden of the city. He was a regular caller on 1073 and as a responsible citizen of the city used to inform the police about anything which he thought was causing incontinence to the people on the roads. He was also quite bold in pointing at the authorities when they were negligent in their duties.

Wife Kiran Bedi

It is usually said behind every successful man there is a woman, but in Brij and Kiran’s case, it was the other way round. Brij had once shared with HT that he did anything and everything for her. “I kept myself in the background so that she could be a successful IPS officer and attain great heights in her career. I have always been proud to be her husband,” he had said.

Brij also talked about Kiran’s role in his life and the projects he took up. “She is a known face in the country. Even if I don’t tell anyone that I am Kiran’s husband, everyone knows the connection. Even if we both talked very less and aren’t even living together since decades, we both are serving the society in our own ways.”

Brij also shared that it was Kiran who taught him good governance and administration and in his path of social activism, he always used to feel that if Kiran could make a change, why couldn’t the local administrators.

Brij had done masters in history from Panjab University, Chandigarh and had many career choices, including army, executive job in a firm, modelling and glamour industry etc. However, he chose farming after he fell in love with Kiran, when both met on the tennis courts.

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