19 March, 2010

Hang Your Uniforms!

Left, right, left, right, left… the crackling of their boots to the beats of the drums had fascinated the child in me. So did their discipline, punctuality and dutifulness. I wanted to become a Police Officer when I would grow. How happy I am I didn't.

"Served in Gujarat during 2002" is one entry that most police officers of Gujarat would do well to erase from their biodata. Serve, they did not. Oh, yes, they did. Themselves they served.

In business, profession and service most of us face challenges everyday. Some kind of political or other interference and pressures always work. What is so unusual about this in our society? But those of us who have guts manage to stand up to the call of duty.

Most of us work primarily for our salaries and perks. But we do not barter our conscience or abandon our duty in wholesale as these august gentlemen did during the recent Gujarat carnage.

Consider that the force is there to enforce the law, protect the lives and property of people, nab the law-reakers. This is their job. They are trained and armed precisely for this. And they are paid their hefty pays and perks from our taxes for ensuring that we live in peace. What else is their productivity, their usefulness to the society?

"The police force was inadequate" is an oft-repeated argument. Lame excuse, asserts Ribero, former DGP of Gujarat. Were there not those sterling instances, on this very soil, when a conscientious bunch of cops were able to ward off a huge mob. "Part of society" laments Ahmedabad's Police Commissioner. Very well, good-bye democracy! Welcome mobocracy!

The truth of the matter is that there aren't any more noticeable numbers of conscientious officers around, officers with a spine, with a vision and an ideal. Most of them constitute a bunch of nincompoops, by and large, ready to do the licking and bidding for the crumbs. It is because of their insignificant numbers that the political class gets away with its unconstitutional manner. The glaring distinction between labour and profession has not registered on these gentlemen.

Factually all it required was just two or three officers, at the top, say an IGP, a Commissioner.. to stand up firmly. Even in utter helplessness nobody prevented them from putting in their papers, hanging their uniform. Even that would have made a big difference. Either they willed to be a party to the goings on, or they are incapable of reemployment.

The force has turned out worse than the fanatics, because the latter sacrifice, suffer and take risks for their cause. These men, on the other hand, benefit by doing nothing. And this costs us our life, our property, our peace. What a fall from grace! What an insult to the fine uniform they wear!

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