She is zealous and young, wife of a senior Police officer just transferred to Nagpur from Amaraoti, mother of a cute 6 month old daughter but instead of being busy attending Welcome parties she yearns to get back to her Social work activities.
When Covid was at its climax in Amraoti, at the time flagged the reddest district of the state in terms of numbers of afflicted and dying, Manjeet still stepped out to help people. It didn’t matter that she was pregnant with her first child and therefore considered high risk for Corona…she wouldn’t be contained at home.
Charity begins at Home they say. Manjeet could not help noticing that the constables and juniors working under her husband had unhappy married lives. Many of them seemed heading towards divorce. ( Many policemen were doing 6 months duties in forest Naxal affected areas where they couldn’t take their families with them. The wives were lonely and bored which often led to marital strife).
” How can we help you live happier lives in these circumstances?” Manjeet asked them. ” Give us work, give us some training so we are occupied” they replied.
So the NGO People’s Peace Foundation set up by Manjeet in Nanded became active in Amraoti also. They trained hundreds of women in tailoring and allied activities, but what next? How could their skills earn them money? Manjeet approached the ADG’s wife in Pune who readily organized donations worth 15 lakhs to purchase new sewing machines for the ladies. Fares were organized to display and sell goods produced and it paid off handsomely. Not one police family headed for divorce and the women are happy and thriving.
What’s more important, even after the Matanis were transferred to Nagpur, activities begun by PPF continue unabated, whether it is Nanded, Ramtek or Amraoti.
She has blazed the trail everywhere her husband was transferred. Doing different activities as were the needs of those areas. In Ramtek, for instance, they facilitated mass weddings for tribals. Employment to youth by organizing Placement camps in cooperation with local Corporates and Companies is another project that has paid off helping many become gainfully employed.
” My husband DCP Matani not only encourages me but helps me actively in all my endeavors ” Manjeet says proudly. ” He doesn’t want me to lead a life devoted to just Home and Babies. In fact he pushes me to go out and help people … we both feel that a Public Servant’s wife also has a debt towards society!”
The two met some years ago in Delhi where they were both attending IAS training Center. She was Manjeet Kaur Cheeni Cheeni of Jabalpur and he was from Rajasthan. Covid struck and the two got hitched as as soon as Officer Matani got his first posting in Maharashtra.
Manjeet is keen on giving another try to cracking the UPSC exams but not waiting for it to do her work. Fulfilling her obligations keeps her happy and fulfilled as much as motherhood does.
They have plans for Nagpur as well. The first plan is to study the Ganga Jamuna Red light area situation which falls under DCP Matani’s jurisdiction and re institute the women in more gainful and honest employment. Ensure their kids have a better future and are not snared or trapped into following in their mothers’ footsteps.
Manjeet Kaur Matani in conversation with Sunita Mudaliar Executive Editor and Farhan Special correspondent.