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Ved Marwah

By Kirpal Dhillon
2005, pp. 619, Rs. 1095.00


The author, Kirpal Dhillon, a senior retired Indian Police Service Officer, has held important assignments during his illustrious service career. A 1953 batch officer of the Madhya Pradesh cadre, he was specially selected as the Director General of Police, on deputation to Punjab to head the state police during those troubled days when the state was in the grip of terrorism.  In addition to being an experienced police officer he is also an academic in his own right. For his academic achievements he was appointed as the Vice-Chancellor of the Bhopal University. This book is a sequel to his earlier work: Defenders of the Establishment, a history of the Indian police from ancient times to 1947. In this book the author has covered the period from 1947 to 2002.   No other wing of the government gets more space in the media than the police, and yet surprisingly there is so little interest in the subject in the academic circles. Hardly any serious study on the police in India has come out of the academia. It is left to police professionals cum-academics like Kirpal Dhillon to fill this gap. He makes many important points about the functioning of the police and police-politics relationship in India since independence. A lot has happened since independence, and the Indian police is not the same institution as the colonial rulers left it, even though on paper it is still being run according to the 1861 Police Act. But as the author points out the change from the colonial rulers to the post-independence so-called democratically elected rulers has made the situation for the common man even worse. According to the author, “it is no secret that the current generation of politicians see no harm, and feel no compunction, in freely and frequently utilizing state resources and instruments of governance to serve their own narrow and selfish interests”.   Dhillon comes to the troubling conclusion that the pre-independence rulers enjoyed much higher level of credibility than “our own home-spun governments in free India”. They have no incentive to reform the police because the status quo suits them. “The Indian political class merely stepped into the shoes of their colonial predecessors”. Indian Police continues to be a prisoner of mid-nineteenth century enactments and colonial mindsets. As a result it is bound down by the past and not loved by its citizens, which is one of the major handicaps it faces in discharging its role ...

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