Training female bodyguards in India
By Sunanda Parmeshwar Mumbai, March 10 (IANS) One of the last glass ceilings for women is about to shatter. Smart yet tough Indian women are all set to become bodyguards for jet-setters and corporate honchos. A Mumbai-based private detective and security consultant, Raj Talele, is the latest to fulfil the increasing demand for women bodyguards. He has announced specially designed workshops for women, training them physically and mentally to work as bodyguards. “In Mumbai, there is a growing demand for bodyguards for VIPs and celebrities in different fields. However, in the absence of trained womanpower, all vacancies are filled up by men,” Talele told IANS. He has hired professionals to teach women martial arts like karate and judo, yoga and swimming in the workshop that starts March 15. Though Talele’s workshop has attracted nearly 60 women applicants, he will select 25 females with the best all-round potential for the first batch. The participants should be between 17 and 30 years of age, he said. The intensive physical and mental training sessions will be held at Worli, south central Mumbai, for two hours daily for a period of two months. “Along with martial arts, the girls will also be taught on how to improve their communication skills and their self-confidence,” Talele said. In many cases, men guard women celebrities too, even though the latter are often uncomfortable with the arrangement, but there is little choice. Talele hopes to fill this void with his workshop. Mumbai’s Joint Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) K.L. Prasad said: “The Mumbai police force does not have any female bodyguards. Actually, even the number of women police constables is very low.” The official said that when a woman VIP visits the city, a regular woman constable is provided to the dignitary. “These lady constables are well-trained in the use of small weapons like pistols but are not trained to carry out the functions of a bodyguard,” Prasad said. Though the training will be given free of cost, some amount of money will be reduced from their first salary, Talele explained. “I have linked up with some companies that are on the look-out for women bodyguards. After the training, the girls will be given placements in those firms,” he said. Since the response has been overwhelming, Talele plans to start the second batch from April 1. The city does have a few security agencies that employ women guards. One of them is the Tops Group security agency, which has nearly 200 women guards for various public events and private clients. “We are the pioneer in training women as bodyguards. They are trained in martial arts and crisis management for three weeks before they are deployed in the field,” said Deepak Monga, senior corporate manager of the firm. They are deployed at functions or events attended by women celebrities and even child artistes who specifically ask for female security personnel as they feel more at ease with them, Monga added. Property Guards, another security agency, also employs women to guard city malls and family members of celebrity clients. Its chairman, Vikash Verma, said the firm has nearly 100 women security guards who have undergone three months’ training.