While detective and private investigator stories are a dime a dozen, you rarely hear about them, at least in India, in real life. That's not the case for Rajani Pandit however, who, along with her team of around 20 people, has solved almost 75,000 cases since 1991.
Rajani Pandit is actually known as the first female investigator in India, and she's been actively running Rajani Pandit Detective Services for the last 25 years.
Rajani's father was a CID inspector in police, and he'd even worked on the Mahatma Gandhi murder case. Since she was a child, she was naturally inclined to ask about some of the cases her father was working on, and why some of the people couldn't get justice directly through the police.
While speaking to Times of India, she said, "When I was in college, I used to see a girl in my class who would go out with the wrong kind of boys and indulge in smoking and drinking and I decided to take it to her parents. I needed to find out her address and so I went to the college clerk and told him that I was her friend and needed to send her a gift and so he gave me her address. I showed the father what his daughter was doing. He asked me, 'Aap jasoos ho?" This planted the idea in her head.
That may not sound like the most illustrious of origin stories, and honestly, it isn't. In fact, it sounds like the work of an overzealous nosy neighbour. Regardless, it did send her down the path of detective work, something that seems to have helped a large number of people. In fact, according to The Better India, she gained her first taste of popularity after solving a case for a friend who happened to be the editor of a Marathi daily, and received an interview in the same. Born and brought up in Mumbai, Rajani has solved a whole host of cases.
During one case, she pretended to be a maid in a house for 6 months in order to catch a murderer. Another time, she busted a woman who had kidnapped her own son after he caught her having an affair.
Pandit has been the recipient of the Hirkani award from Doordarshan, and has also received accolades for her books. Her firm handles domestic problems, company espionage, missing people and murders throughout India and abroad, sometimes even using disguises like wigs and the like. In fact, in an interview with Outlook India, she said, "I've played a maidservant, a blind woman, pregnant woman, dumb woman—fear is not a word in my dictionary."
Rajani Pandit sounds like the kind of woman you wouldn't want to mess with, and also deserves respect for successfully continuing in a field dominated almost totally by men, at least in India.