Thursday, February 22, 2007

Our police need lessons on policing.

Last year's new year celebrations were marred a bit by two tragic(depends upon individual perceptions) incidents which happened at the fag end of 2006. One was the hanging of saddam hussain and the other one was the nithari killings. The former one is deemed inevitable but the latter one was surely something which could have been nipped in the bud itself. But, but, the indian stereotypes caught up with our policemen too. When a father of a 15 yr old girl goes and ask the SI to file an FIR on the missing of his daughter, he says that "your daughter must have eloped". Couple of months later, this same girl's bones have been retrieved from the back of pandher's palatial bungalow. I guess even the act of necrophilia committed by surendra koli would not arise these policemen's conscience. Just imagine, a 3 yr old girl is beheaded, her liver is removed and koli tried to eat that. Still the police has remained stolid until mulayam intervened. If such a visceral act cannot move these hardened people, what would ??

The SI is surely justified, in his own way, when he refused to file an FIR. A few weeks back, tamil nadu's chief minister karunanidhi was miffed with the police system of TN. Why ?? They were filing lots of FIR's and that gives a spike to the crime curve of TN. His logic is that the other states do not file as many as FIR's as in TN. That's why, he thinks that TN is being regarded as the state with the most number of crimes being committed. This is the sorry state(no pun intended) of affairs. In these situations, no wonder the private security agencies are thriving and if estimates are to be believed this is going to be a 200 crore industry. And why not, when the terrorists are getting equipped with the latest warfare, the khakee laden police still wields a lathi or else a revolver relegated to antiquity. How can we believe in the policemen to save us when they themselves are ill-equipped to save their repsective lives. A case in point is the nandigram violence where their helmets are soo fragile that a stone pierced through them.

A very pertinent point is made by sartaj singh in the enormous beast of a novel, "Sacred games". He says that "Our salary will not be enough to nab the criminals". I guess that's true. With hardly any money allocated for the fuel and there is no provision whatsoever to pay to the "informers". Is there a solution ? The answer is a resounding YES.Currently, we are allocating 1,10,000 crores for military warfare. For a country which prides upon itself to be a harbinger of bonhomie this fact contradicts its intentions. Even if atleast a twenty percent is allocated for the police system , i believe the people are safe. Or else, thepolice will be more interested in nabbing marlon samuels for fixing an inconsequential match rather than save an urchin from the dingy corners of dharavi. It surely bears testimony that the hoi polloi are neglected like hell by the police. How else, can one explain the alacrity with which anant, son of the CEO of adobe, was saved. Its useless to blame the police. They are a vital cog in the wheel of high and mighty.

These policemen's life is a perfect example of what we call the hobson's choice. If they do not pander to the whims and fancies of the madarins and bureaurcrats, they are sent to the places where their life is spent on saving the foliage because people would hardly be there. Thus, they become subservient and avowed minions of our netas. This would be keeping them in the good books of the politicians and their names would not be listed in the roster which every odd day appears in the newspaper with a title " List of commissioners transferred". The side effect of an inefficient and laggard police system is that the bajrangi dal youth, RSS karsevaks(who incidentally happen to wear khakee pants albeit half ones) take up the mantle on themselves to "cleanse" the system which is otherwise known as moral policing.

Those images are still vivid in our mind when the couples in meerut have been beat black and blue by the "responsible citizens" because they were holding each other's hand. Such disconcerting situations will only make a dent in an already depleted confidence of the "aam junta" on the police system. Nowadays, people hardly make an attempt to file cases against theft, sexual abuse and several such petty cases. Why ?? Because, the police are being perceived as no performers and this perception will only change if the police approach the people with a more humane attitude. Lock up deaths in the name of interrogations is a well known fact. Inserting sticks into the genitals, making the suspects eat a kg of jalebis with no water being provided, laying the bare body on ice and many such approaches are done on the hardcore criminals as well as on the weaklings. This surely goes against the principle emblazoned on a police officer's insignia "khal nigranaya sad rakshanaya"(the writer is not sure about the veracity of this sanskrit shloka)- it means killing the criminals and saving the innocents. Being humane is the key for the policeman to again redeem our confidence in him. I just hope that shashi tharoor is contradicted when he made the following statement " These are not good times to be a policeman". This piece of cynicism should inspire the entire police system to fervently try to cut the gordian knot.

Tailpiece: This writer thinks that jagdish raj and iftikhar make better policemen because they atleast have the time sense to reach the crime scene just after the act is perpetrated and in the process, may be, even nabe the criminals. Unlike our police system which takes out sketches and the chalks out the modus operandi. By then the criminals get holed up in a siberian pigeonhole where there is no extradition treaty with india.

Recommendation of the fortnight:

Black friday made me believe that hindi cinema is not deteriorating. Anurag kashyap made a film which would give your testosterone levels a fillip even without skin show. The scenewhere the restaurant's owner takes out his belongings with a beating scene as the background is sheer genius. The lesser known actors leave the desired impact. Indian ocean's background is such goose bumps stuff. I feel sad for anurag that his other film "paanch" has not yet got a theatrical release. Its not RDB which is an oscar material. Its black friday which needs to be shown at the kodak theatre.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Bangalore(sic) rocks-2

Dramatis personae:
The writer

Pervetdly moronic side: He eavesdrops on other people's conversation
Normal side: HE appreciates the pleasant side of bangalore

Lavanya sankaran dedicates her lackadaisical yet partly brilliantly written "the red carpet" to bangalore which she refers to as "my errant muse". It defied logic to me until recently. Because bombay is an enigma, new york has an underbelly which is as diverse as its gentry. But bangalore ?? Apart from housing 2500 IT companies this place hardly has anything to boast about, right ?? Wrong !! Its not for nothing that "bangalored" has found its way into oxford dictionary. However, the sobriquet given to it as "the garden city" is another boo boo. Consumerism has crept neck deep into this bustling place to such an extent that a drive from the airport would make you realise that pradip kishen would have dreaded this drive throughout his remaining life or maybe he is. Foliage would be a misnomer in this part of the world. However, this article takes forward my earlier write up on bangalore. I am not getting enough of this city and hence, the part 2.

Thanks to an mba college interview i had to come to bangalore(which i love doing ). Per capita income must surely be the highest in bangalore because the auto wallah dished out a nokia 6600. I went into a stupor for time immemorial. These must be the ways of bangalore assuaged my disquitedness. However, i could not anticipate what was to follow. One thing common to all metros in india is its long snarling traffic and bangalore is no different. A young couple were on the bike and suddenly they started smooching until the traffic cleared out. This was baffling for my neo liberal mindset. However, what was a kind of conundrum was that no one was minding what was happening. May be the "yeh kya hua kaise hua" moods ad is aired the most in bangalore and what corroborated this theory of mine was that this same brand of protection is available in the vending machines also.

Moving on, after getting bored of trawling the streets of mg road i thought of moving onto rex for the interminably long salaam-e-ishq. A one hour was left and by the most amazing coincidence a gaggle of girls was literally squatting on the portico where yours truly also was sitting. I would not have been interested in what they were discussing. But still the prospect of a bangalorean chat was a lip smacking prospect and i started eavesdropping and i am glad i did that. They were discussing the oeuvre of kieslowski, nitinsawhney's music and , oh my god, umberto eco's baudolino. I was yearning to be a part of that eclectic forum. Not that i would have contributed much though. This got me pretty exciting, even more than the scenes of naked midriffs with the pellucid fabric hardly sustaining and clean underarms(unlike the marwari girls of vizag). Why excited ?? They were talking sheer sense rather than balderdash about whether abhishek will be a ghar jamai or else drooling over da vinci code(for god's sake "in the name of rose" is hundred times better guys). What was the best thing about the gen x of bangalore was that the guys were not after beauty. They were looking for the x factor in a girl. And thats exactly the reason why the most good looking girls were fending off for themselves and a comparatively less pulchritudinous girl had a nice guy pamepring her. I felt good about that. Back home in vizag, guys just swoon,leer and drool over those cretinous comely girls(am so tempted to term them chicks). Ironically, this is the same bangalore where finds its provenance in.

U.Ananthamurthy has truly taken linguistic chauvinism to his heart, and ipso facto, the karnataka government too. Each MNC has the english version of it in the neon lights. However, the kannada version gets a place above the english version. An ashok puncture shop is misspelt as "ashok punchar shap"
but the kannada version is to the T. Few months back, a huge furore was raised over the issue of kannada education being made mandatory throughout the state and after logic taking the driver's state the bill was deferred till this summer. My query to these mandarins is that will they be sending their own children to the kannada medium schools. Without blinking an eye, i can say NO. Its a paradox, but its still intoxicating and you cant help getting addicted to it. Thats bangalore for you.

P.S: the writer did not intend to compare bangalore and vizag. You just cannot compare manhattan and cleveland. He apologises for the fleeting comparison in one of the paragraphs above. He is thankful to bangalore for letting him parzania which he feels is a must watch because it makes the viewer ask questions like "did godhra had to happen ?", "Should narendra modi have been left scot free ?".

Raves of the fortnight:

Its vintage gulzar in "just married". Listening to the lyrics of gudgudee would make the surroundings mirthful. Sample this:Socha tha tumse mili toh paav zameen pe padenge yeh kya pata thi ki phirse khwabon main udne lagenge." Bliss. Pure bliss.

Sacred games by vikram chandra: Forget jonathan yardley. Forget his censure of sacred games on washington post. This tome is a genuine genuine page turner. Vikram chandra is a master story teller. As it happens with all those engaging tomes sacred games is no different. As the pages on the right hand side keep dwindling the reader would just feel a bit sad. The tapestry is so complicately built up that the reader gets sucked into the cesspool. Read it. And trust me sanjay kumar from chabilapur is going to keep you in splits for long long time.

Watch friends with money. A feel good film with quite a lot of characters but still no caricatures. Watch it just for the scene when the supposedly "gay" husband says that he was with a male friend. Those raised eyebrows of the three women was the stand out scene and makes the film even more must watch. I never knew that a mise-en-scene of couches and tables would make the milieu fantastic.

Rant of the fortnight:
Deja vu: I cannot watch a movie with complete suspension of disbelief. Thats the very reason why i loathed at dhoom 2 and now at this denzel washington starrer.