By Sharvi Mewada:
“It’s a big, bad world out there”, my mother used to say when I was small. She made me memorize the number 100 in case of ANY emergencies. For those who don’t know, it is the Mumbai Police helpline. It is something every Mumbaikar relies on, assured that their complaint will be heeded.
The department’s motto is “Sadrakṣaṇāya Khalanigrahaṇāya” (“To protect the good and to punish the evil”). Custodians of your trust- its tagline. Considered one of the best police forces in the country, it is also considered to be very influenced by the politicians of the state. Honestly, Mumbaikars are really surprised at the quick result in the J. Dey murder case. With immense political as well as social pressure, Mumbai police is like mashed potatoes between the two loaves of bread.
When an opinion poll by The Times of India “Does the Mumbai Police deserve a pat after cracking journalist Dey’s murder?” was started, many response were negative stating it is a “corrupted” body, “it’s their duty” or “(It’s) an underworld body with a government stamp”. It’s not as bad as it is claimed to be. True, corruption exists, from the lowest to the top-most levels; work is done better if you provide them with chai-pani (bribes), however in a city like Mumbai where you can’t rely even in your neighbor, I’m sure Mumbai police will come to my aid. Who else will sacrifice themselves just to protect the city just for the sake of duty, as in the case of the Mumbai Terror Attacks?
And they have, all the time I needed them. I was stalked when I was returning from college two years back. When my friend tried to speak up, the guy, barely 13 or 14, got his punter log and gave us a life threat. The police surely helped us. Even though we couldn’t find that guy, they provided us with protection; the ACP even gave us his personal number to call anytime we needed assistance. Another instance is during the Mumbai deluge. Lakhs of people were stranded and away from home, the police assisted each one and took them to safer locations. I wouldn’t call that just doing their duty. If they can be corrupt, they can also refrain from doing the duty.
I’m not saying Mumbai police is the best. Every organization or institution has a dark side; there are always two sides of the coin. There have been events when saviors have become tyrants, but due to a few bad apples not all the apples are spoilt. I choose to look at the positive side, for me it is still a big, bad world, and I rely on the Mumbai Police to protect me. I know they will.