gfiles magazine

April 9, 2012

I decided to serve but not be servile to political masters

‘I decided to serve but not be servile to political masters’
Ex-policeman, topper of 1965 batch (UP cadre), speaks about tackling various law and order situations, from militancy and rioting to overseeing PM’s security

I joined the Indian Police Service (IPS) in 1965 and have no regrets about it. It gave me an opportunity to meet, know, and learn from a vast cross-section of people. It gave me the chance to travel widely and to interact with a wide variety of people, from saints to sinners, from men of letters, artists, musicians to hardened criminals and crooks.
In 1963, after completing my graduation from Patna University, I decided to take the civil services exam and got selected in the IPS. I was given the Uttar Pradesh cadre, although Bihar, my home state, was my first choice. UP is a vast and highly fascinating state. I was sent for training to Moradabad. At that time, Sucheta Kripalani was the Chief Minister and Shanti Prasad was Inspector General of Police. The State was then considered to be one of the best governed states. However, this stability was short lived.   
Very early in my career I decided to serve but not be servile to any political master. This decision was driven more by pragmatism than idealism. In 1966, a new phase of politics spearheaded by Dr Ram Manohar Lohia had begun, replacing the old pattern of politics; not just in UP but in the whole country. The emergence of Sanyukt Vidhayak Dal and its coalition politics changed the very foundation of political and administrative structure, and unleashed a phase of political instability. I took this as a boon and decided that I would stick to the rule of law and ignore political personalities. In those days, one could do without political patronage if one was professionally competent.
By God’s grace, I got two exceptionally good trainers. One of them was Mr A N Kaul, then SP Aligarh, and the other Mr K D Sharma. While the former was mild-mannered, gentle and patient, and sought to resolve issues through discussion, Mr Sharma was very strict, hardworking and feared by police officers. These two became my role models and I learnt a lot from them. Then, there was one Inspector Mohammad Ahmad in Hathras, from whom I learnt the practical skills of police work. On my first day at the thana, he advised me to sit on the floor in a pyjama behind a munshi’s (clerk’s) desk and read the thana records. It took me 10 days to do so and by the end I knew which police case was in which record.......READMORE :

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