Pransu Raj Kaushik
A few days back while on my way to office, I saw a traffic constable standing in the open traffic podium, directing vehicles. The temperature outside was on the higher side of the scale, with very few pedestrians seen moving with shades. It really caught a raw emotiol nerve in me to see that person in uniform performing his duties, oblivious to the extreme heat and grime. The job of a police man is a pretty thankless one, with constant public and media glare keeping them on their toes at all times. Added to it is the amount of stress that they have to bear as regards the unearthly working hours in some of the most inhospitable and clogged environs. It has become a rather fashioble trend nowadays to opiniote and pronounce judgment about them sitting in the comfort of one’s drawing room. But have we ever tried to place ourselves in their boots and tried to experience the amount of physical and psychological stress that they have to undergo day in and day out without any complaint? It is easier for the neo-socialites and candlelight activists to browbeat them on television shows in primetime hours to have a slice of the jingoistic fame, but, reality is somewhat different.
In the year 2010 and 2011 I was privileged enough to have been invited, rather permitted, to conduct a session on motivatiol techniques and stress magement by the Dibrugarh district police department as part of a broader capsule training module that they organize each year. The then Additiol Superintendent of Police, Debasish Sharma had taken the initiative with the permission of the then district Superintendent of Police (I regret not being able to remember his me). I was a bit apprehensive initially as to planning for the session as I too was afflicted with the general and adverse opinion about the police department and so, had my myopic doubts. If I could remember correctly, there were 15-20 officers including one lady officer in attendance.
Overcoming my initial nervousness, I began the session in right earnest and was able to hold my usual track after a few moments. As I was blurting out my limited knowledge about self hypnotism, controlled body language and communication techniques, I found that one of the officers was barely able to keep awake. He seemed to be a man in his late forties and had a tough out-bearing. I saw an opportunity in this to delve into his and in turn, the persol lives of the other officers so as to understand them better and know what the man or woman behind that police cloak really was. The said officer told me that he had come to attend the session after a night long field duty, which was the reason for him falling asleep. Many others opened up soon after and I had a thorough and eye opening interactive session whereby, the cobwebs of preconceived notions about a uniformed person got cleared immediately.
One question that almost all of them seemed to have was why their profession was allegedly the most hated and scrutinized profession when in reality they were the ones who risked and sacrificed their lives for the safety of the civilian citizens. To this, I told them to regard themselves as a ‘Sachin Tendulkar’ among a team of varied professiols. Sachin was the one person who always had to face the brickbats for any loss that the team suffered even-though there were ten other individual team members as well. His was the most scrutinized performance because he was the best in the team of eleven. Likewise, I further said that being a policeman was also the most ‘visible’ and ‘public related’ profession and whether one accepts it or not, a person who everyone expects to remain above the usual negativity that is prevalent in the social strata. Therefore, they are the ones who are most minutely scrutinized and critiqued.
What I mean to say here is that we need to understand them better, and for that to happen, the usual negativity that one associates with the force needs to be removed. The general public cannot be expected to take the first step towards knowing and understanding them. The initiative should be undertaken by the police department itself through community interactive sessions. The concept of PPP- Police Public Partnership should be initiated whereby a gradual process of ‘liberalization’ or loosening of orthodox mentality, changing of domint behavioral tendency that one generally associates with a policeman, enhancement of communication skill and training in scientific crime prevention and control should be practiced. There is no denying that there are some ‘black sheep’ in the police department, as in all other professions, but, being the most visible professiol in this era of general aware, the policeman should also be motivated to be more presentable and approachable and in turn be more interactive as well. The police are a stressed lot no doubt, and there are professiol restrictions in the amount of interactive mingling that they can do with the general populace, but, the brighter side to that can be compensated by the overwhelming support that they would be able to garner in crime prevention, leading to a lesser stressful life.
There are many things more to pen, but am tied down by word restrictions. So, I would like to sum up with a scene from a hit Bollywood flick whereby a lawyer played by Amitabh Bachchan asks as to who would a person want to see in front of his residence with a loaded gun- a man in uniform or some unknown goon? The same is my question to you all as well, readers.