February 8, 2004
Kotwals of Delhi
The last Kotwal of Delhi was Ganga Dhar Nehru, the grandfather
of India’s first Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru. Appointed
just before the 1857 mutiny erupted, with Ganga Dhar it can be
said that the Kotwal system came to an end. This and other little
known facts in its chequered history, lend the Delhi Police a
rich, fascinating, and interestingly picturesque canvas down its
Delhi remained the seat of many Empires; and various policing
systems were developed to protect the citadel of power. It was
however, during the evolution of ‘control’ and ‘lack
of control’ experienced alternately vis a vis the stability
of the time and its ruler, that the institution of the Kotwal
emerged in the 13th century, which is the first evidence of the
origins of an organised policing system in Delhi.
Faqruddin, born to a personal attendant of Sultan Balban, is said
to have become the first Kotwal of Delhi at the age of 40 in 1237
AD. Malik-ala-ul Mulk, appointed by Allauddin Khilji in 1297 AD
is another Kotwal of Delhi who finds mention in history books.
a brief spell soon after the mutiny of 1857, Delhi enjoyed a commissionerate.
It remained, through, a unit of the Punjab Police, even after
Delhi became the capital of India in 1912. In the same year, the
first Chief Commissioner of Delhi was appointed and vested with
the powers and functions of the Inspector General of Police.
the wake of partition in 1947 and the resultant influx of refugee
population and corresponding sharp increase in crime, the need
for an independent set-up for policing in Delhi was felt. On February
16, 1948 the first Inspector General of Police of Delhi was appointed.
Initially there were eight Superintendents of Police to assist
the IG, but then a post of DIG was created in 1956. 1966 saw the
constitution of the Delhi Police Commission to go into the problems
of Delhi Police. It was the Delhi Police Commission that recommended
the introduction of the Police Commissioner system, eventually
adopted in 1978.
the first Commissioner of Police — J.N. Chaturvedi, goes
the credit for having laid the foundations of a new order. The
IPS officers of Delhi's own cadre deserve special mention for
this transition period because of their contribution in developing,
perfecting, and changing the face of the force, to meet new challenges.
Later, P.S. Bhinder, Bajrang Lal and Subhash Tandon steered the
Marwah, the first cadre officer to head the force, understood
the malaise and brought about the much awaited reforms and improvements.
Raja Vijay Karan heralded a new dimension by giving the force
a humane face and pride in its heritage. Arun Bhagat, who succeeded
him, kept this up, Mukund Kaushal introduced the concept of community
policing and Nikhil Kumar battled the issues of human rights violations
and allegations of corruption.
emphasis on free and fair registration of crime started during
Nikhil’s period was not lost sight of by successors Tilak
Raj Kakkar and V.N. Singh. Considered the liberal phase when straightforward
policing and accountability was strived for, the strength of his
tenure was held against him, to make V.N. Singh a scapegoat. Unappreciative
‘powers that be’ cowered behind statistics rather
than the quality of policing services the community enjoyed. So
‘crime control’ became the war cry to rope in the
services of ‘outsider’ Ajai Raj Sharma from UP Cadre
— a thoroughbred field professional who took the reins not
to clean up, but battle crime with the gun. The political support
wielded to advantage by Ajai Raj, was the forte of his successor
R.S. Gupta who wrested the seat back for the cadre, and on superannuation
successfully handed over the reins to K.K. Paul his number two,
at the recent ‘change of guard’ on January 31.
the pages of history, Delhi Police has also earned the dubious
distinction of being dubbed ‘the graveyard’ for its
chiefs! Many an illustrious Head was sent packing ignominiously,
at times replaced unceremoniously and overnight, and even called
from the football field and asked to hand over charge to a successor.
And yet, suffice it to record that there are Chiefs who also have
left the seat with dignity notwithstanding the machinations at
play behind the scene.
16th February observed each year as its Raising Day, Delhi Police
reaffirms its commitment to strive towards improving performance,
and to be of service to the people of Delhi; and truly be “with
you, for you, always.”
author is Joint Commissioner of Police, Delh)
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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