One of the first female police officers in the country, Nitu Bhattacharya, CRPF DIG, has recently written a book on the conflict between India and Pakistan and the women at the helm of it. At JLF 2017, she released her book, which is a collection of seven short stories on real women from the conflict areas of Kashmir.
Being at the centre of action for many years, Nitu gathered first-hand experience which she wanted to share through this book. She tells SheThePeople.TV about her book and why it is important to know about women from both sides of the conflict.
Starting with what motivated her to write ‘Half Life’, she says, “These are real life situations that we see every day all around us. May be in some point in time, it becomes such a great part of our lives that we don’t realise that it is even happening all around us. It is important to pay a tribute to all the families who put with so much just so a soldier can perform his duties at the border.”
‘Half Life’ is the time taken for anything to come to half and then, from that half, it reduces again to half and so on and so forth, not distinguishing completely ever. Therefore, the book also talks about the fact that despite any of the conflicts that we may see in any part of the country, finally there is something that remains, which is hope, says Nitu about why she named the book Half Life.
“In any conflict situation, there are women on the side of the forces and then there are women on the other side. And this book suggests that life becomes complete when we see both perspectives of the same kind,” explains Nitu.
“It is this hope, it is this humanity that will again build up life,” the police officer believes
Nitu has served in various roles, providing a rare insight into the lives of women on both sides of the conflict and the sacrifices of the families of those serving in the forces. So she thinks that whatever be the conflict in the country, women are the ones to lose, but they are the only ones to bring everything together.
“Conflicts across the world can survive only as long as women support it and it ends when women understand that they no longer want to support it.”
Since she was one of the first police officers and now when women are taking up combat roles as a career option, Nitu talks about the transformation. “It has progressed in a number of ways. We started with taking women in specific roles and then we went ahead with mainstreaming them. But what has happened is that it is easier to be able to cross the divide.”
She added, “It is easier to reach out to people because they are always the first responders, so it is easier to get people back into the manifold. And it is easier to trust people because women bring that kind of soft skills with them.”
Coming back to ‘Half Life’, Nitu urges women to understand that it is they who have the strength to be able to complete life.