Curious Case of Panda-Radha
By Maxwell Pereira
indeed! From out of the blue recently, we were confronted with
this spectacle of a serving senior police officer in Uttar Pradesh
(UP), claiming himself to be a reincarnation of Radha - the divine
consort or Lord Krishna! Talking to brother police officers elsewhere
and here in Delhi - some retired, and others still serving, I
tried to understand and fathom the import and the impact of this.
For many, like me, it was a bolt from the blue not easily explainable,
or pardonable! For some others, it was just a manifestation of
a screw gone lose somewhere
a period of right treatment
and things should be alright; may be back to what is considered
normal. And for some it was a non-issue, since this officer under
immense media glare and threatened departmental action in any
case had put in his papers seeking voluntary retirement. Admittedly,
good riddance of bad wood - amazingly managed without much ado!
what was all the furor over? UP's Inspector General of Police
(Rules and Manuals) Devendra Kumar Panda - a man entrusted with
duties in the elite Indian Police Service into which he was recruited
in 1973 for the task of maintaining law and order, has instead
and since 1991 donned the role of Radha - beloved of Lord Krishna
- plunging himself into a pool of Krishna Bhakti. Dressed in female
attire and sporting a Mangtika (jewellery adorning the female
head), a nose ring, besides wearing the vermillion (Sindoor),
Panda reportedly spent time dancing and singing bhajans supposed
to have been sung by Radha for her beloved.
on the intriguing plaque on Panda's official residence in 5/2
IPS Colony Vibhuti Khand in Gomti Nagar of Lucknow - reading "Doosri
Radha" instead of D.K. Panda (IPS), the national and international
media lapped up Panda's claim that in 1991 he got the divine glimpse
of Lord Krishna, who told the cop he was in reality his beloved
Radha. Since then Panda has played the romantic character of Radha,
much to the dismay of his own estranged wife Veena - who went
to court and secured a judicial separation with maintenance; which
we learn was arbitrated further in her favour recently by the
All India Women's Council's intervention.
actually came to a head when Panda turned up in court to face
his wife's petition, in a yellow dress and dark red lipstick!
TV news channels flocked to record this 'strange behaviour' on
the part of a senior police officer, and then to his home to film
him worshipping Lord Krishna in the form of the peepal (holy fig)
tree in his garden, chanting mantras to his beloved Lord - for
whom he had reserved his private bedroom "only for Krishna
to enter" kept totally sacred and secret!
there is nothing unusual in a Hindu ascetic getting up early and
quoting from scriptures as Panda does, nor is it uncommon for
Hindu sects to worship deities as lovers, or for men to live like
women devotees - Panda's position as a senior police officer naturally
and invariably got viewed as a tricky one, raising eyebrows and
more! In the past month we have witnessed a considerable lot of
tongue in cheek coverage on the issue - on television and in the
written media, even an editorial in a leading national daily -
all of which I believe has not enhanced the IPS image.
officer's wife even while going to court on the one hand, had
voiced apprehension over any action against her husband, for fear
of him losing his job - which in turn would affect her maintenance.
A comment in one of the newspapers I read, further mused that
under the IPS Rules nothing can be done to penalise the officer
for his 'strange behaviour' since restrictions in the Rules on
wearing jewellery or other embellishments were specific to female
officers alone, while being silent in respect of male officers.
there was this disclosure that his colleagues kept his penchant
for ladies' clothes a secret for years, but must now decide what
to do with a man who has become a figure of ridicule. More specifically
was the reaction of the State DGP Yashpal Singh, who while finding
his officer's appearance and behaviour quite strange and attributed
it to "maybe he is suffering from some mental problem",
was wary of any disciplinary action which "may precipitate
is my own response to all this! To begin with, it is not a non-issue!
Then there is such a thing called All India Services Conduct Rules
which behoves an officer of the related service to refrain from
conduct unbecoming of a member of the service. If this was not
conduct unbecoming of a senior police officer, then what is, I
ask!! It is essential for an official holding government office
to conduct himself/ herself in a manner that does not invite public
ridicule and in turn thereby sully the government's own image
and credibility in the common man's eye.
scene on the telly last week while watching Barka Dutt's "We
The People" on the gender issue of a "person trapped
in a different body" sums it all up. When asked for her reaction
to the Panda-Radha episode, senior columnist and editor Renuka
Narayanan minced no words: If ever the worthy came in her presence,
she said, she wouldn't hesitate to "jootha maro" the
individual. I salute Renuka for the explicit portrayal of her
sentiment, which I totally endorse!
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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