Arya: From dream of becoming an IPS officer to a mayor

Arya Rajendran: From the dream of becoming an IPS officer to a mayor

A young girl who dreamt of becoming an IPS officer has now become the youngest mayor of the country and the biggest question that she is now facing is whether a 21-year old girl, who is just doing a second-year degree course, is capable enough to be the mayor of a city. But Arya Rajendran, who was sworn in as mayor of Kerala capital Thiruvananthapuram told DH that she doesn't want to give any reply to such criticisms through words but through her deeds.

Excerpts of an interview with Arya

Q. The big question doing the rounds about your elevation to mayor post is whether a 21-year old girl is capable of holding a mayor post. What do you say?

A. A person's capability should not be weighed by age alone. I do not want to reply to such criticisms through words, but through my work as mayor. Being active in organisational activities through SFI and 'Balasangam', a CPM-backed children's outfit, I am quite confident that I will be able to effectively discharge my duties as mayor by understanding the needs and priorities of people. Moreover being mayor does not mean that I alone would be taking all decisions. I will have the support and advice of senior and well-experienced colleagues and supporters. Above all, the minimum age for contesting elections is  21 and hence anyone who wins elections can hold the mayor post too.

Q. Your childhood dream was to become an IPS officer and now you became a mayor. We have seen many bureaucrats later entering politics. Do you have any desire to be a politician-turned IPS officer?

A. It was mainly the attraction towards the uniformed service that triggered a desire of becoming an IPS officer while I was in school. But now I entered politics and I wish to be in politics in the future also.

Q. What is your political ambition?

A. I don't see politics as a job but as a service to society. Hence I am not ambitious to reach any specific posts in politics but to be a good political worker working for the welfare of people and keeping people together. As mayor, I will ensure that there were no sorts of discrimination towards any wards irrespective of the political lenience of the councillor of the ward.

Q Apart from you, another 21-year old CPM worker was made a panchayat president. Do you feel that the prominence being given by CPM to youngsters will help the party in the coming Assembly elections?

A. Rather than age factors, good governance decides people's mandate. Even now the CPM-led Left Democratic Front got a spectacular victory in the local body elections despite the massive misleading campaigns against the ruling left-front government in Kerala. It means that the people have rejected the lie campaigns and voted for the development and welfare initiatives of the government.  

Q. As mayor, do you have any priorities apart from the overall development of the city?

A. Being a woman, I wish to make the city women-friendly, especially during the night. Women should be able to move around fearlessly at night also. I will try to initiate steps in this direction. The immediate priority would be to ensure the hygiene of schools and colleges as schools and colleges are reopening after a long time from January. Water tanks of schools need to be cleaned with priority. Garbage treatment is a major crisis being faced by all cities and I think creating awareness among the people about the proper disposal of waste could address the issue to a large extent as even well-educated people could be seen discarding waste unscientifically.