By Maxwell Pereira
seems like yesterday! And yet it is nigh 35 years since North
India beckoned me from the air-conditioned garden city of Bangalore,
to become, of all things, a policeman in Delhi!
this weekend, on the last day of October, I hang my brown 'oxfords'
up on the wall, and put away my uniforms - never to be worn again,
and permanently consign the ceremonial medal strip that decorates
my chest to the showcase, to keep company with other mementos
that bring back memories of a chequered career.
of memories, the vision is stark of how I survived Maharaja Ranjit
Singh's Fort at Phillaur then known only as the 'torture chamber'
- to emerge from it with a sobriquet that described it all. Why
they called me 'Qila ka Damad' is another story which propriety
demands I confine only to own memory and not share. But apart
from reducing my 99kg 'Sonny Liston' frame to a mere 74, the Punjabis
also mutilated my name, referred to me with every permutation
or combination they could contrive, ultimately settling down to
making me just plain and simple Pyara Singh!
landing in Delhi from 'training' started my romance with the city,
thanks to the bosses to whom I was 'attached' - for grooming and
honing, to grow into a field police officer. Officers who saw
potential in me enough to hand pick me when it mattered, tolerate
my nonsense and what in police parlance could be termed as downright
impertinence bordering on, some may even say, insubordination
and basked in my successes and achievements
- the Kaushals, the Shinghals, the Rajgopals, the Bhagats, the
Kumars - the list can go on and on.
my own words back at me when I tried to shy away from SDPO-ship
for my very first posting after field training, it was IGP Rajgopal
who put the shits in me with his "
Yes, I know!
weren't born a policeman, you know no Hindi nor Punjabi;"
.and waving his baton at me in his chamber at the Kashmiri
Gate Police Headquarters he had continued, "
man, I know you will go and take charge, work diligently and honestly,
or else you have me to contend with!" Oh boy! That was it.
There was no looking back. Famous last words - I wish he were
alive today, to see what he made of me!
this was that many years ago. Reminiscing through it all, one
recalls the occasions to witness in these past years of policing
Delhi, the black-outs and other civil defence war time needs of
1971, followed by the agitational years of the likes of the railway
strike and the kissan rallies
.the promulgation and the
rout of the Emergency era and the connected rampage be it to arrest
national leaders from their beds
..or for sterilising, if
not for pseudo disciplining of the masses. And then midst the
rewarding of sycophants in the bounce-back - even as the hydra
headed militancy and Punjab based terrorism reared its self in
Delhi with Bhindranwale's gun-toting supporters on bus-rooftops
invading the city with impunity
ultimately culminating with
the assassination of Indira Gandhi leading to the '84 November
riots - Delhi police's only real hour of shame like never before
nor thereafter - not without a few bright sparks and sparkles
though of exemplary deeds of a few even in these trying times!
the times when Delhi Police needed to measure up to meet the challenges
of narcotics control, control of gangsterism, supari killings
and kidnappings for ransom
and against forays by organized
crime syndicates; not forgetting the cyber crimes of the recent
times too. And most importantly, to thwart the constant challenges
of an open enemy through its ISI to infiltrate and strike at will
in the heart of the Capital and elsewhere.
of crime though, there has never been an occasion when Delhi Police
has been found wanting, or unable to rise to the occasion. Be
it in solving its murders, bomb blasts or kidnappings for ransom.
The match-fixing cricket scam of course, catapulted Delhi police
as a force par excellence to contend with, in the international
took me out of Delhi too - as the first SP for Sikkim when it
merged with our country, for four glorious years in that Shangrila
'midst the Himalayan Mountains. To Mizoram, to experience first
hand the legendary Laldenga, following Rajiv Gandhi's historic
accord with the Mizo National Front. And as Police Chief to Pondicherry,
that erstwhile hamlet with a hangover still of a rich French fragrance.
it has been a delight to serve. While remembering those who made
me a policeman, I take this opportunity to thank them all - the
bosses, the peers and colleagues lower and upper, the media friends,
the bureaucrats, the politicians, friends and well-wishers, and
members of the public - for suffering my idiosyncrasies down the
years. For what the service afforded me, to acquire the greatest
of all treasures and assets - the opportunities to help the needy.
I believe no other profession gives you as many.
this count, it is with a heart full of satisfaction I bid adieu
to policing. With the fervent hope though that those in need will
still not stop giving me this pleasure to serve even when out
words: 26.10.2004: Copy Right © Maxwell Pereira: 3725 Sec-23,
Gurgaon-122002. You can interact with the author at http://
www.maxwellperira.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
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