Rx, an officer and a doctor!
Dashing and young, Dr Devansh Yadav stepped out of his home state of Uttar Pradesh to heal people through his administrative skills. His initiatives have earned him accolades in just four years of his career. The IAS officer of the 2016 (AGMUT) batch believes in being humble in power.
To be a leader is to enable others to embrace a vision, initiative or assignment in a way that they feel a sense of purpose, ownership, personal engagement and common cause. Without initiative, leaders are simply workers in leadership positions. Very early into his long laid out career that he considers it as some sort of a pilgrimage, Dr Devansh Yadav IAS of the 2016 batch, has given a strong testimony that he is an honorable exception.
Drafted into the Civil Services in AGMUT (Arunachal, Goa, Mizoram and Union Territories) joint cadre, this dashing young officer is a promising and reassuring example of a good plan implemented today is better than a perfect plan implemented tomorrow. A strong believer in the precept that if your ship doesn’t come in, one must swim out to meet it, he is one officer who does today what he thinks about doing tomorrow.
Acclimatized to the relatively alien but picturesque climes of Arunachal Pradesh, the secret to Mr Devansh’s success in forging ahead is getting started, breaking complexes and taking on tasks with the clinical precision that he draws from being a doctor. Having graduated in Medicine (MBBS) from the prestigious All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, he also chose to walk the blind alley by doing Master’s in Public Management Skills. He explains what made him take to Civil Services when he could have crafted a lucrative career in Medicine.
“Opting for Civil Services was not a premeditated decision. In fact, there was hardly any intent. But early on in my life I realized I had distinctive traits in public dealing and general management. It seemed I had a proclivity for it. Besides, pursuing a career in Medicine would mean I would be required to spend more time in post graduation for a specialization. The internship and subsequent development would have taken time to crystallize. It is in me to diversify. So into my fourth year as a Medicine student, I gave myself the option of getting into the IAS. My parents were not initially enthused about it since they felt was Medicine was more remunerative, but they respected my decision on the premise that I was sensible and wise to take my own decisions. And when I cleared the exams, they were in complete consonance about the path I took,” he recalls.
Four years is not time enough to assess and evaluate the administrative skills of any officer given the serpentine road ahead but Mr Devansh already has his foot on the accelerator by evincing that he has his fingers on people’s pulse. Perception and Rationale are the stethoscopes that help him diagnose and cure the health problems of the constituency he handles. “During my posting as Assistant Commissioner in Pondicherry (earlier Puducherry), I adopted a poverty- stricken village. I could decide a future roadmap and draw up a socio-economic profile. I found the Self Help Groups (SHGs) were strong helping hands as against the government machinery in ameliorating the problems. I mobilized these groups to provide them with toilets under the Swachch Bharat Abhiyan. The project (report) was well appreciated and it won a Silver Award on its submission. As Assistant Secretary with the Department of Land Resources, I felt a sense of fulfillment after digitizing land records. We were able to take a leaf out of Karnataka and Maharashtra and apply this initiative,” he points out with justified pride.
Currently the Additional Deputy Commissioner, Changlang (Arunachal Pradesh), he is involved in beehive developmental activity pertaining to livelihood. Here took he used the SHGs and NGOs in providing sanitary pads to over 5 lakh girls in the state and elsewhere in the country. A tricky work he presided over was road construction which was tough given the difficult terrain of the area. He deployed plastic to ensure there was no water seepage that weakened the roads. In the thick of Covid, he exerted to avoid its spread and harnessed the help of NGOs in setting up online classes for educational institutions and training teachers. “It enabled students from 8th standard and above to complete their syllabus. The area is known for its Queen Pineapples but large quantities of this exotic fruit threatened to rot because there were no buyers during the pandemic. I facilitated their sale and over 90,000 pieces were sold.” Law & Order, Health, Education, elections and other matters were the other issues he tackled in coordination with public representatives & various stakeholders for implementation of government schemes, scrutiny of project works and governance reforms.
His finest initiative was started crowd funding to help bright students from the North-East of India. The appeal received an overwhelming response from all corners of the country. Within hours, help poured in as people started responding to the call to support education costs for these students. “We managed to collect Rs 3 lakh in the first week itself as help started pouring. The funds helped to arrange for a hostel stay in Delhi where all the students would study in a safe environment covering tuition fees, transportation and other living expenses of the students for the next three years. The transactions are being ledgered and would be made public to maintain transparency on social media.” During the Dengue outbreak crisis when conventional ideas failed, he reached out to communities through a Walkathon. The uniqueness of this walkathon was that all administrative departments involved in the fight against Dengue were brought on one common platform with local schools, colleges, NSS & NYK volunteers, NGOs and local community people.
Mr Yadav believes that social media handles can be effective in public campaigns as he experienced it during the crowd funding initiative and Dengue crisis.”The media covered these extensively. The social media can be utilized to showcase ideas and practices fruitful in public governance.” The Digital India Award in 2020, being short-listed for the PM Awards in Innovation and LBSNAA for Best Dissertation are feathers in his cap but he is grounded enough to be aware that he still has a long way to go.
Being young and free from needles attachments, he derives pleasure in work 24×7. “I live alone but my work schedules have taught me the importance of time management. I love field visits and enjoy writing research papers on Health and Education. I am open-minded and gel with the local people, their habits, culture and cuisines. Going to remote areas gives me first-hand understanding of the problems people face. There is so much diversity of work to relish. If you have the zeal, initiatives follow. I am an extrovert who enjoys movies, sports and gorge on non-fiction,” he avers.
Being a doctor is an abiding advantage. “I do prescribe medicines to my staff when they are indisposed. As Additional Deputy Collector, I even attended OPDs (Out Patient Department). Community health initiatives can bring outstanding results as I found out when I was involved with Anganwadi children,” he says with a learner’s attitude.
For a young man, Mr Yadav displays a refreshingly rare trait of being very grounded. “It is very essential not to have an ego, especially when one is in power. When you are hemmed in by your ego, you lose the ability to say sorry or apologize.” That selflessness is what makes him a free man, thinking less of himself rather than thinking of himself less.
Going beyond the call of duty
Om Prakash Kasera, an IAS officer of the 2012 batch is a dreamer and achiever but rather than dwelling and brooding on the future, he prefers to live by the moment and summons all his sensitivity and conscience into his work when required. The overwhelmingly humanitarian work he did to pull out 50,000 students stuck in Kota during the lockdown crisis was phenomenal by all standards
Going far beyond the call of duty, doing more than others expect is what excellence is all about and it comes from striving, maintaining the highest standards, looking after the minutest of details and going the extra mile. That yardstick makes Om Prakash Kasera, an IAS officer of the 2012 cadre from Rajasthan, not just a hero who orders his men into the battle but one who goes into the battle and fights it himself.
In a span of just 8 years, Mr Kasera has grossed the reputation of a hands-on officer who was once rejected for a call centre job but then he went on to ace the Chartered Accountant’s exam, was selected for IIM Calcutta and followed it up by cracking the mother of all exams – the Civil Services — without leaving his job and without any coaching. His life and journey are a clear example that failure is at best temporary and with dint of hard work, one can triumph his/her goalposts.
Down to earth but very seized of his responsibilities, Mr Kasera is one of whose officers whose good work far exceeds the official line. It is borne out by the manner in which he handled the tricky latitudes and laced them with magnanimity and compassion. His academic record speaks volumes — All India topper in CS Inter, All India topper in ICWA Inter, All India 2nd rank in CS Final, All India 2nd rank in CWA Final, All India 17th rank in CA Final, Gold Medalist in MBA and 1st rank in B.Com and many more — are ample testimony of a man for whom excellence was a watchword.
Although his core area of expertise has been Finance, Mr Kasera did not want to rest just on his earlier laurels and chose to chuck it for the IAS. Probably that has something to do with his resolve to put in his best foot forward in whatever he aims at. That sense of urgency was palpable as he reeled out his journey towards Civil Services and after. “Getting into the Civil Services was a long cherished dream. After completing my CA, I took up a job in ONGC. Even at that stage, IAS was a distant dream but I wasn’t the one to give up. The opportunity presented itself t the Dehradun ICS Academy. At the annual event where prominent academicians, IFS and IAS officers came together, I took part in the debate competition as representative of the ONGC. Looking at the halo around the top officers, gave me the much needed momentum and stimulation. That was the trigger.”
“It’s all written in the destiny like in Paulo Coelho says it in ‘The Alchemist’ that when you desire something from the bottom of the heart, the whole world conspires for you to achieve it. I came from a modest, rural background and had no access to good schooling, books, friends and mentors. There was no coaching, no mock tests. Until I had completed my graduation in Commerce, I hadn’t even heard of CA and MBA. Thanks to some friends who had enrolled for CAT and RMAT, who filled up my form for the latter, I got 4th rank and enter the best B-school in the state. Given my humble financial background, at very low cost! After doing CA, I was selected for the World Bank but had to leave in two months because of technical hitch with the CA institute. When I was preparing for the IAS Prelims, I was not even aware of the syllabus. Forget that, I did not have even pen and pencil to write the exam. My strong background in Commerce saw me through.”
Currently the Joint Secretary, Mines Department, Mr Kasera has had 8 postings so far, each one testing his skills o the fullest and him proving equal to them. As he put it across: “Whatever the posting, what matters in how as an officer you can make difference to the society.” The officer gave a sterling account of himself but he really rose to the occasion as the Collector of Kota district when he helped over 50,000 students reach home safely in the wake of nation-wide lockdown in March 2020. When the students were stranded, he was flooded with calls from concerned parents and teachers of the NEET and JEE aspirants.
Escorting over 50,000 students home safely was quite a daunting task that not only demanded proper planning and sensitivity but also logistics. “The parents were worried sick for their children. Back in Kota, the eateries had shut down with the pandemic looming large. The magnitude of the situation was enormous. Most of the students stuck were teenagers unable the gauge the gravity. My one thought was to ensure they were provided with food and keep them motivated. I took these initiatives simultaneously counseling them through videos. Into Lockdown 2, the breaking point was near. I needed to interact with the state and central governments. It was tremendously satisfying that no one was starved and all could be reached home without getting infected,” he pointed out.
Mr Kasera was bewildered and humbled when he was inundated with calls, SMSs and appreciated in the social media after that. “I was just doing my job but I was mighty relieved when the bus carrying the last of the students pulled out of the Kota bus station on 12th May, 2020. Each year Kota – “the coaching capital of India” – bursts at its seams to host the thousands of JEE and NEET aspirants who migrate to the city to prepare for their exams. Once the pandemic and the ensuing lockdown were declared, the situation became precarious for these kids who had come from across the country. “I was in a constant state of fear about these students. Loneliness, anxiety, and depression can do terrible things to these young minds and my prime focus was to ensure their safe departure from Kota,” explains Kasera. He made sure that the institutions had roped in psychologists to conduct sessions with these students to talk them out of the fears that they were experiencing. “For every 40 to 50 students we tried to get a counselor who could help them navigate and articulate their feelings,” he revealed.
The ticklishness of the situation was not just about the welfare of students. “There was a point when he had to face a barrage of calls from concerned parents, not to speak of the frantic calls from various state departments, says Mr Kasera and it took several rounds of discussion and dialogue with the central government that he managed to get the go-ahead to start sending these students back. That was the moment he breathed a sigh of relief.
For all the appreciation on the social media and messages of gratitude that he received in the aftermath of the incident, Mr Kasera is not much of a social media person. “For a while I was on Facebook but not very interactive. Apart from lack of time, I find that after a while it starts intruding your personal space. Yes, you have your fans and trolls but the negativity starts getting to you. The 50,000 tweets in a day-and-trending haven’t done anything to wean me. It’s a personal decision. It is for moments like these where one gets to serve the people that I entered this profession. I am happy I have these memories to look back on and cherish,” he clarifies.
He recalls fondly how as Director, Primary Education he was able to facilitate recruitments after court clearance, paving the way for employment of teachers. During the posting at Jaisalmer, in the time of elections, he made the life of teachers on poll duty by providing them with logistical help. “After the elections, I received an evocative letter signed by an unknown person on behalf of the entire fraternity, effusively praising the facilities provided. These are better than any material rewards that become your prized possessions.”
Content with work, Mr Kasera feels that when you choose to give work your best shot, recreation takes a backseat. “It’s all work and little play but God is kind. Being rotated in job gives me the exposure I enjoy and the opportunity to take newer challenges. At the end of the day, satisfaction matters the most. I was an avid reader once with a little music and gaming thrown in between. Squeezing time out for recreation is tough. I find relaxation in playing with my two kids. This is a good age to be with kids.”
As someone who has imbibed the wisdom and optimism of Coelho’s ‘The Alchemist’ and the profound philosophical system called Objectivism of Ayn Ran’s ‘Fountainhead’ and Atlas Shrugged, it is not far to seek what goes into the making of Om Prakash Kasera. By his own admission he is a happy-go-lucky person who takes each day as it comes. He dreams but does not plan too much and prefers to go by the flow. That to him is the definition of work-life balance.
Officer whose life is one lyrical symphony
Dr Hari Om, IAS of the 1997 UP cadre is much more than a competent officer. While striking the right notes in public welfare, he also enjoys a phenomenal equation with them through his poetry, music and song. His journey makes for a scintillating songfest. With hundreds of shows, many on-stage with reputed names, he is the humane face of administration.
Your talent determines what you can do. Your motivation determines how much you are willing to do. Your attitude determines how well you do it. If talent is a gift, character is a choice and if the protagonist is nothing without the gift, the gift is nothing without work. Dr Hari Om, a senior IAS officer of the 1997 UP cadre is a felicitous example who can be sententiously described as an “IAS officer by profession and musician-litterateur at heart”.
The officer who has struck a reputation of being ramrod-straight is otherwise a versatile Shayar, Story-writer and a Ghazal singer. The multi-splendored dimensions that he brings to his dynamic personality give him just the right equilibrium to strike a perfect balance between his professional and personal life. Hailing from the backward hamlet of Katari in Amethi district, his personality has been commodiously shaped by the education he pursued in Allahabad University and JNU. A brilliant student from his school days, he trekked on with his meritorious record to complete his PhD from HNB University, Garhwal, Uttarakhand and went abroad for his second Masters in Governance, Public Policy and Political Economy from The International Institute of Social Sciences, The Hague, NL.
A man of letters and words, a man of passion and creation, a man of intellect and wisdom, a man full of humility and sensitivity is perhaps the simplest way to define Dr Hari Om who has spent 23-plus years as Collector/District Magistrate in as many as 11 Districts of UP. Important field assignments apart he has the experience of working in the Ministry of Home Affairs, Agriculture, Cooperative, Sports and Water Resources Development and Social Welfare Department.
A man of mettle and strong moral fiber, Dr Hari Om unspools his journey to the stature he has reached today. “I angled for IAS as it was a dream I nursed in those days like many others. Pursuing higher education in Katari, a backward, rustic place was out of question. After my 12th, father advised me to move out to Delhi or Allahabad. My biggest advantage was being an outstanding student. The teachers on their part would always galvanize me and I didn’t let them down. The time I spent in the hostel at Allahabad University turned out to be an ideal platform in honing my skills. After graduation I opted for JNU where Civil Services still remained my prime intent. The entire crux of my thinking philosophy was not just about good life but the ardent desire to serve the country and society better.”
Music ran through his veins. As student he would sing film songs, his ideals being Mohammed Rafi and Talat Mehmood. “I wasn’t just a music aficionado; I knew I had a melodious throat. But what started as a means of entertainment was destined to be elevated several notches more. I had managed to get a Harmonium during my hostel days which managed to give me a break from the routine ennui. Until then, there was no thought in my head to become a professional singer. Very soon it dawned upon me that Music was making me humble, deferential and sensitive. It was as if it touched the raw nerves inside me. This artistic flavour also extended to my penchant for Literature. The love for Shayari, Ghazal and Writing were like sprigs of my emotional quotient,” he recalls.
The last five years were an exercise in rediscovery. Dr Hari Om found himself steeped into the aesthetics of the Ghazal and in quick time carved a niche for himself as a Ghazal exponent with mega hits like “Sikandar hun magar haara hua hun’ which is always on the lips of his admirers. Among the number of albums that have seen the light of the day are Rang Pairahan and Intisaab which are dedicated to the memory of the legendary Faiz. Roshani Ke Pankh and Rang Ka Dariya are his other albums where he has sung his own lyrics. Never playing to gallery, he writes his own Shayari, lyrics, composes them and sings them too. He recently made waves with a unique ghazal-kathak musical project ‘Khanakte Khwaab’ where he has written, composed and sung ghazals in such a manner that the kathak can be performed on it classically.
A dyed-in-the-wool admirer of Mehdi Hassan, Ahmed Hussain Mohammed Hussain, Ghulam Ali, Chandan Dass (with whom he shared the stage), and Jagjit Singh, he has to his credit hundreds of live concerts in India and abroad. Having shared the big stage with playback singers Kailash Kher and Shreya Ghoshal, he recently performed on India’s biggest dais Music and Literature ‘Jashn-e-Rekhta” . He particularly remembers how impressed with his performance Ahmed Hussain Mohammed Hussain egged him on to keep doing ‘riyaaz’ (practicing music) and it paid off in the longer run. At a poetry recital, there was a ‘fermaish’ for him to sing.
For the officer, the pen also turned out to be as mighty as his singing decibels. His books Dhoop Ka Parcham (2002), Amreeka Meri Jaan (2009), Kapas Ke Agle Mausam Me (poems 2011), Khwabo Ki Hansi (Ghazals 2016), Titliyon Ka Shor (stories 2018) and Mai Koi Ek Raasta Jaise (2020). A number of awards — Firaq Samman, Sahitya Shri Award, Rajbhasha Award, Tulsi Shri Awad, Awadh Gaurav Samman and International poetry Award in London – stand testimony to his literary credentials.
His work has set up a phenomenal equation with the common man whose travails troubled his sensitive heart. While he exerted as a District Collector to bring relief to people who thronged his office for redressal of their grievances, he brought their stories alive during the long lonely hours spent in remote Guest Houses through his writings. These stories are now compiled and their appeal lies in the realistic portrayal and the detailing which goes into evolution of characters that relate to all. Anyone seeking to know Dr. Hari Om must flip through these pages to comprehend the sensitivity which this unique officer has brought to his professional work.
The officer recalls his salad days of the rural life that offered him an interesting interface with nature and people around. His younger days were full of stories, characters, events, friends, emotions and unique situations. Freedom and fun with nature drove his sensitivity towards expressing through letters. This is what triggered the poet in him. It also drives him to unravel the mysteries of love and longing to his Muse. His renditions are a refuge for kindred souls
While the world gravitates in quest of material pursuits, Dr Hari Om lets creativity expand his mind and stretch it beyond human comprehension. Its manifestations are evident in his persona and work.
The link to Aankho me iqraar nahi hai (Jashn-e Rekhta)
The resemblance to Talat Mehmood in this “Jalte hain jis ke liye” Sujata songhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dH8_KUGOP8Q
Always logged in for your cyber security
Dr Balsing Rajput, IPS
Sky is the limit in cyber space but this great technological acceleration also serves as a platform for white collared criminals. With the wealth & esteem of institutions and individuals as also the precious research work of nations vulnerable to cyber attacks at all times, the job of officers like Dr Balsing Rajput is cut out. He and his team have, however, proved equal to the task.
Technology is a double-edged weapon, but in a nation that is getting increasingly deep-fried in communication advances, it is becoming appallingly obvious that technology is exceeding humanity. The real problem is not whether technology thinks but whether people who use it do. Human indiscretion has made people susceptible to be robbed, stalked, bullied and harassed. To add insult to injury, there is the social media which has become a veritable battleground where insults fly from the human quiver, damaging lives, destroying self-esteem and a person’s sense of self-worth. The Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime -Preventive), Dr Balsing Rajput has done commendable and path-breaking work in Prevention as the Men in Khaki grapple with burgeoning cyber crime cases. Alongside, he has been playing a stellar role in spreading Cyber Literacy.
That Dr Rajput has a Master’s in Technology, a Doctorate from the reputed TISS and synthesizes his investigative skills with effective articulation and research, gives him a distinct advantage in dealing what is considered as a white collar crime. Not only does he have strategic and technical expertise in Cyber Security, he has first-hand experience of building over 50 cyber labs and 40-plus cyber police stations in the Maharashtra. He has led the implementation of the Automatic Multimodal Biometric Identification System project. He was part of the Indian Cyber Security delegation to Israel in 2016 and Estonia in 2019. As the team leader of Maharashtra Cyber Digital Crime Unit, he developed anti-piracy solutions that won the “IP Champions Award “of the USA Chamber of Commerce besides being active on international for a.
The officer has led capacity-building efforts for Cyber Security and Cyber Crime investigation for Maharashtra police though long-term training programs and has worked extensively to prevent online exploitation of children and women in cyberspace through initiatives like Operation Blackface and Cyber Safe Woman campaign.
Underscoring the importance of Cyber Security with an incisive overview, Dr Rajput explains the scenario in Conversion Technology which on the flip side can also be disruptive.”Cyber Security assumes extraordinary importance as it has become a copious source of transactions be it Entertainment, Commerce, Shopping, Booking, Storage on devices like the computer and cell phone. The Internet is like a salt that serves utility in every food item. With the technology used across a wide spectrum of platforms, Cyber Security also becomes vital as industries, institutions, media depend on them for various transactions,” he points out.
Referring to how the Social Media has queered the pitch in rendering the situation turbid, Dr Rajput makes out a case how prevention becomes paramount. The police have to constantly update themselves. We are living in a world that is continuously driven by technological changes. In two decades from now, there will be better applications in all spheres and the earlier ones may become obsolete and redundant. To that extent it is also a disruptive process where old order maketh a way for the new. Being used by one and all, each one of us is vulnerable. Our findings show that from 2000 to 2016, over 60% of the cases were for illegal (read financial) gains. The other cases related to harassment of women and children and political abuse.”
The officer is at pains to illuminate the disconcerting fact that cyber frauds are swamping people’s lives with each passing day. “They are increasing in geometrical progression. Take the example of Cosmos Bank which was swindled out of Rs 94 crore through a malware attack in just a couple of days. These crimes are committed without causing any physical injury. Unfortunately, many of these crimes do not indicate the gravity of their commission because they have less visibility in public domain.”
The Technology Evangelist says the police employ both prevention and investigation to deal with these with primary focus on the earlier since only one in 100 gets caught. OTT platforms, YouTube, Twitter may be sources of entertainment because of the advantage proffered by High Speed Internet. The criminal mind, will, however, always find out ways to harass/abuse. Twenty years down the line, there will be more transformation with newer apps and possibly, the nature of frauds and scams would also be different. We have to be prepared to take these head on with our finger on the same technology.”
Referring to cyber attacks from foreign soils, Dr Rajput says they are mostly geospatial in nature. We have to understand the Safe Time continuum because a hacker or a trouble-maker is omnipresent. Cyber warfare mostly pertains to research work. In other cases, the Information Technology Act of 2008 and its provisions, especially Sections 67 and 68 are effective and exemplary. The old world is being revamped with newer protocols. For tracking criminals, there are other measures like having extradition treaties and keeping better international/diplomatic relations.”
The DCP points out that “Maharashtra records 4000-5000 cases of cyber crime annually, of which, a third happen in Mumbai alone being the country’s financial hub. We have instituted a regime where today over 600 police personnel — trained extensively in the last 20 years – have the expertise to investigate such crimes. On the flip side, people are regularly sensitized about is pitfalls.”
Inclined towards academics, Dr Rajput loves to dabble on philosophical Poetry, Writing and Research. He has authored a book “Cyber Economic Crime in India – An Integrated Model for Prevention and Investigation” which provides an overview of cyber economic crime in India, analyzing fifteen years of data and specific case studies from Mumbai to add to the limited research in cyber economic crime detection. A valuable resource for law enforcement and police working on the local, national, and global level in the detection and prevention of cybercrime, the volume is also of interest to researchers and practitioners working in financial crimes and white collar crime. Centering around an integrated victim-centered approach to investigating a global crime on the local level, the book examines the criminal justice system response to cyber economic crime and proposes new methods of detection and prevention. It considers the threat from a national security perspective, a cyber crime perspective, and as a technical threat to business and technology installations. Physical fitness is a given in the wake of his profession.
As cyber crimes sprout across not only the country but the length and breadth of world, officers like Dr Rajput emerge as beacons of hope in safeguarding people’s dignity, wealth and reputation. The task is enormous but then good officers never lower their guard, no matter the magnitude of the Law and Order situation.
An IPS officer with a humane face
The Additional SP of Gondia (Anti-Naxal Operations), hailing from the 2015 batch, is the classic example of competent officer who has initiated several confidence building measures to bridge the gap between the men in uniform and the public. Yoga and Meditation give him the much needed composure his job calls for.
No matter how you feel about law enforcement as a whole, police work is a dangerous, challenging, and often a thankless job. Every day they are thrust into difficult situations and expected to make decisions in quick time. They are never “off duty” and are sworn to protect people’s safety and peace, but there are exceptional officers like Atul Vikas Kulkarni, Additional Superintendent of Police, Gondia (Anti-Naxal Operations) whose call of duty goes far beyond the accepted brief of the Men in Uniform.
The Belagavi-born IPS officer of the 2015 batch completed a Bachelor’s in Computer Science and Master’s in Urban Policy and Governance from the TISS, has been associated with several welfare organizations — a clear indication that behind his tough exterior lurks a sensitive human being. That, if any, explains the string of initiatives he took in community policing and stitched a success story out of it. Before taking charge of the present incumbency, he was also instrumental in measures relating to women’s safety.
Of course, the road to success was fraught with several difficulties. From the rural roots of Kannada Karnataka to the cosmopolitan Maharashtra, adapting to English was one of them but he was never short on inspiration and motivation. The biggest was in-house from his mother. Over a period of time, they became a Mutual Admiration Club. It also played a pivotal role in his inclination towards the Indian Police Service. The turning point, however, came in 2008 when a personal tragedy brought about a change in his outlook. It occurred to him that he could serve the cause of the nation and disadvantaged sections.
The degree in engineering did pitch-form him into a software company but one year into it, he found the work mundane and his heart wasn’t into it. His restive mind yearned to do something challenging and where he could leave his stamp. A colleague who had won recognition despite suffering from Cerebral Palsy disabilities was an eye-opener. “If he can, why can’t I?” The stint also brought him in close contact with several environmental NGOs in Bengaluru where he pitched in as volunteer of his own volition.
At this juncture, Mr Kulkarni found himself at the crossroads. He faced the dilemma whether he should continue with his basic expertise in Software and find a lucrative job in US or even do MBA or higher studies. He decided to heed to the call of his conscience and did neither, In 2010, he took up the Urban Planning course in the TISS. “The journey in TISS was wonderful where I got the best of classroom and on-field experience. I saw the ground realities on my visit to slums, the Homeless, Water, Sanitation and allied issues. It strengthened my resolve to get into where my proclivities lay”. Being a social science student, he earnestly believed that creative and good initiatives could alter the lives of the weaker sections better.
Noting his journey and foray into IPS, he recalls how he could not get through the prelims but in the second attempt he glided – by his own admission — through the 4C formula of Clarity, Character, Consistency and Confidence. True to his benevolent nature, he has written a book that helps UPSC aspirants to crack the exam in the post-Independence era with regular updation. The book is sought-after and is available on Amazon. His record shows that he has applied his educational, social and official discipline to his work, which is demanding 24×7. His other two books relate to Philosophy and lakes in Bengaluru.
The IPS officer feels there is a palpable fear in the minds of people about the police. To remove any misgivings, he keeps meeting people as confidence building measure. Finding that women are perhaps the most oppressed sections, he set up a “Women/Bharosa Cell” to deal with grievances of women and juveniles apart from petty complaints, such as squabbles over parking or children’s play areas, family disputes and other issues related to women. The Cell sees an active counseling team that includes advocates, doctors, social workers and women police officers/senior police inspectors. It is a measure of the success of this initiative that an overwhelming 80% cases have been resolved. The main motto of the Cell is to reduce the gap between the police and public, to hear people out who are not able to approach the court for some reason and reduce the judiciary’s burden. The ‘Police Kaka’ (police uncle) is another such initiative. Personnel from the level of a Constable to the Senior Police Inspector and even the Deputy SP are assigned as ‘Police Kaka’ for one educational institution in their respective jurisdiction. Similarly, one female personnel is shortlisted to handle the task of ‘Police Didi’ for each of the schools and colleges to establish a friendly rapport with the girls.
Mr Kulkarni revels in serving people despite the challenges that he faces daily as a law-enforcing authority. “Mira-Bhayender was a tough and dangerous terrain with a dubious record in crime and you need to be constantly on guard,” says he but people look up to him given his humane approach to policing. His present posting in the Anti-Naxal Operations is even more challenging. On a personal front, he has his own ways of marginalizing the stress that accrues from his job. All the challenges are braved with Yoga and Meditation that he has been practicing religiously for 15 years. It is easy to take the stress in stride once you know that it is an integral part of the job. Reading books, scriptures and increasing knowledge are his antidotes to ward off the pulls and pressures.
Once a police officer, always a police officer but Mr Kulkarni takes time out from his demanding work constraints and loves to travel – so what is nearby places – explore wildlife and indulge in what he modestly calls as amateur photography. “Visiting new places is a veritable tonic that boosts my energy and enthusiasm. The love for Nature goes well with my spirit for adventure,” he says. His experiences are methodically penned down in the blogs he posts on his website.
Here is the link to obtain your copy:
A Diwali with tribal brothers https://youtu.be/AsRnqO2NzLI
Standing upright and tall: Mr Atul Kulkarni
During the campaign against drugs
During one of the field visits whilst with TISS
Receiving the Best Dissertation award from Montek Singh Ahluwalia
Propagating the Police Kaka concept
Pitching for e-governance & sensible urbanization
Mr. Nitin Sangwan, IAS
The Dy Municipal Commissioner of Ahmedabad Mr Nitin Sangwan, IAS walks the talk and practices what he preaches but beyond the professional calling he is a blogger, cartoonist, guitarist, author and loves kitchen gardening.
Kindness can become its own motive. One is made kind by being kind. A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees. Mr Nitin Sangwan, Deputy Municipal Commissioner and CEO Smart City Ahmedabad is not just an IAS topper. He has several shades to his multi-splendored personality and lives by the truism that “be kind whenever possible and it is always possible”. The 2016 batch officer has fine-tuned the art of interfusing minimalism and utilitarianism.
The Madras IIT alumnus has a degree in Mechanical Engineering and Masters in Business Administration but his journey to Civil Services explains the ethos that he so pre-eminently embosses in his personal and professional life. Before finding his steps into the quicksand of public service, he started his professional career in Mumbai – Mecca for those aiming for a lucrative career. He soon realized his heart was not into the job – it was repetitive and unstimulating to his senses. Stifled, he decided to move on preceding it with a short stint in Infosys.
An IAS was not on the radar until then but the Civil Services were in sync with his thought process. The seeds had been sown during the job with Infosys when he was posted in Chandigarh. Thus began a rigorous preparation for the UPSC exams and it was while solving the IAS prelims he realized that the pattern was what he had experienced while pursuing MBA. It also struck him that he could jot down points and notes that could help aspiring IAS candidates. His studious practice of reading and writing came in handy in this exercise. The bottom line of his thought was there is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self.
But for all those who believe that academic merit is indicative of the one’s performance in the exam, Mr Sangwan has a message: “Getting good marks is no doubt essential but if your score is less, it is not the end of the world. In my 12th exams, I got 24 marks in Chemistry – just 1 mark above passing marks. But that didn’t decide what I wanted from my life It makes little sense to bog down kids with scoring more marks. Life goes far beyond results Let results be an opportunity for introspection and not for criticism.”
Having already authored a book, another is on the anvil – hopefully expected to see the light of 2021.His love for writing also propelled him towards being a blogger but now given his fervid schedules, he regrets he cannot spare time. As the Deputy Municipal Commissioner his sights are firmly focused on Urbanization and e-governance where he has done yeoman’s work. Being familiar with the socio-economic conditions was an advantage. It also opened his vistas to Minimalism and Utilitarianism.
The phenomenon of Urbanization intrigued him and during his first posting as the SDM in Gujarat’s Veraval, he found that resources being in short supply, he could use technological tools for the benefit of the people. So he created a blog like website where he would post cases and judgments thereby eliminating the need for hard copies. Now, as the DyMC, he has taken a number of initiatives to automate many processes that enables citizens to get documents at the click of a mouse. From birth & death certificates and issuing NOCs to booking a ticket to get into a park, all services are available online pitch-forking the commercial city of Ahmedabad into a hi-tech city. It spares people of the trouble to trek all the way to office and get the documents they want.
Urbanization is an issue close to his heart. The officer explains that it is a growing phenomenon. By 2050, there will be more urban areas than rural areas and that will bring with it accruing problems like Pollution. That also underlines the importance of sustainable development and the need for sensible Recycling.”People need to be sensitized on minimalism. It can educate people about living with only those things that they need most. Excessive urbanization per se is harming the environment. The whole scenario is scary. Since charity begins at home, I must start with myself. So what matters most? Is it money, public support or the progress of institutions? My personal experience is more than money it is drawing people’s cooperation in such endeavours. Look at Bhutan where sustainable development is institutionalized by people themselves. I started a campaign of sorts by getting school and college students to underscore the importance of sustainable development.”
For the officer, actions speak louder than words. So every week he would take a team of kids paint walls with eloquent messages. Once it gets into the people to understand these things, you have won half the battle – small issues like parking, tree plantation and what have you. He is quite upbeat that the efforts are bearing fruit.
Reticent to a fault, Mr Sangwan is not just about only work. A man of varied interests once in a while he takes to the brush and gives shape to the vividness of his mind. A cartoonist by instinct, he explains how he would pounce on the copy of a newspaper to see R K Laxman’s cartoons and even started caricaturing but laments lack of time is an irritant. His passion in kitchen gardening is perfectly consistent with his ideas of sustainable living.”I dedicate my leisure time to it. In fact, I hardly needed to go out to buy vegetables since I grew them in my own backyard.” An occasional strumming of the guitar gives break from the routine.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed with the idea of doing more of the things that matter most to you, your calendar is overscheduled, or your physical space is filled with items that don’t serve you and your family, minimalism will help you make more space in your life. The frugal and simple thinking of Mr Sangwan should be an abject lesson.
Receiving a citation from former President Late Shri Pranab Mukherjee
Painting the wall along with his daughter
A lovely sketch from his accomplished skills as sketch artist
His abiding passion of kitchen gardening
A tribute to his favourite cartoonist R K Laxman
With Mr. Surendra Nath one of the most admired cartoonists of India
A bureaucrat who finds recreation in his work
Mr. Vijay Singhal, IAS
With a meritorious academic record behind him, Mr Vijay Singhal, an IAS of the 1997 batch, finds it gratifying to synthesize his technical skills and administrative skills. His mantra: A strong fitness regimen will lead to mental fitness
Charms strike the sight, but merit wins the soul. And merits are judged not just by one’s qualifications but in the manner one uses them. Going by that barometer, Erstwhile Thane Municipal Commissioner Mr Vijay Singhal should stand as its true leitmotif. The Agra-born, 1997 batch IAS officer has a glittering CV that has gold all over it – literally and figuratively.
A gold medalist civil engineer from the prestigious Roorkee IIT and M.Tech from IIT Delhi, he also has a Master’s in Public Service Policy & Management from the King’s College, London. Having served a series of stints in his capacity, he draws justified pride that he has been able to apply and blend his technical expertise with the administrative responsibilities his work entails.
Like some of his illustrious contemporaries, Mr Singhal has little regrets that he did not chose to go with spheres that seek out his basic qualifications as an engineer and makes out a logical case why he stood vindicated when he opted for civil services. “At the UPSC interview it is an expected question. Knowledge never goes waste. You can apply it anywhere. I speak the language of work. As an engineer, I have harnessed my technical proficiency and made it compatible with my administrative obligations. In my municipal tenures, I have handled issues relating to civil infrastructure, Storm Water Drainages, Bridges, and Roads etc. I ardently believe that being technically well-qualified enables you to offer best solutions because your grasp and tackling of such issues is quicker, efficient and better.”
His role as a competent and expert disaster manager came to the fore when he was the Collector at Jalgaon where he has successfully handled as many as seven natural disasters — ranging from drought, cyclone, hailstorm, floods, Chikungunya and Bird Flu – in a span of 10 months. Bird flu hit Jalgaon district four times in 2006, but Mr Singhal warded it off successfully each time.
While Mr Singhal has given a meritorious account of himself wherever he has served, he finds immense satisfaction in executing and taking to fruition the River Linking Project that won plaudits from then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The Prime Minister’s Award for Excellence in Public Administration and the words of appreciation from then President Mrs Pratibha Patil are like the piece de resistance in his career so far. “This is where your technological know-how is a distinctive advantage. A Collector would have handled the administrative part of the river linking project but being an engineer I could get the irrigation staff to understand its nuances and was better equipped to execute the technicalities. The successful completion of that project, probably the first of its kind, has spawned similar projects elsewhere. It was well received in New York where he gave a presentation on it.”
Mr Singhal spells out the cutting edge one derives by being a technical expert. “As an expert it is you who drives the project rather than being driven by consultants involved. You save on time, money and energy-consuming processes. That’s exactly what happened during the River Linking Project. That was time when there were floods in Nashik but barely 250 kms away in Jalgaon there was little water. The project conceptualized and executed by me ensured equitable distribution of water. It was idea whose time had come and I was happy to complete it in just two years.”
He recalls how his engineering knowledge stood him in good stead during his stints in the municipal bodies in Kolhapur and Mumbai — the Integrated Road Development Project in Kolhapur district and Solid Waste Management where the waste was brought down from 9000 tonnes to 7000 tonnes in just two and half months. It brought down government expenses by 25%. The e-governance took a quantum leap when online services that were just 12-14, went up by more than 70.
Mr Singhal is one of a kind in the sense that he finds leisure in work. “I relish my work. It gives me a high and when you enjoy your work, pastimes become secondary. Like everyone else, I am also a family man. Good music soothes me and holidays are rejuvenating. But I don’t really miss out on them as also things like reading or writing. When work is what you soak yourselves in, everything pales into insignificance. Having said that, I love all outdoor activities and sports, especially Tennis, Badminton et al. Gymming is a special passion, not to build body, but to be physically fit. A fit body is a forerunner for a fit mind and as a responsible officer, it’s my biggest pre-requisite since mental fitness means increased efficiency and reflexes.”
Mr Singhal is a staunch votary of Time Management. “You have just 24 hours in a day. They can’t be extended to 48. I do not agree with the thought that one has not enough time. If you wish, you can. Handling exigencies needs sensible time management and time is money. You can still squeeze time out from your work – howsoever voluminous — to follow your other instincts and passions. It is all about the way you respect time”
The test of merit is success. Mr Singhal has both and has many in the pipeline.
Honoured by then PM Manmohan Singh
Receiving one among the many accolades
An officer who serenades life with music
Dr Sanjay Mukherjee, IAS
Dr Sanjay Mukherjee, IAS and presently the Vice Chairman & MD of CIDCO is happy to be wedded to public service. He stir-fries his Spirit for Service motto with his love for KK and by belting out his songs. Little wonder, he has a huge fan base
The theory is that people are either left-brained or right brained, meaning that one side of their grey matter is dominant. If you are analytical and methodical in your thinking you are said to be left brained. If you tend to be more creative or artistic, you are thought to be right-brained. Dr Sanjay Mukherjee, IAS, recently appointed as the Vice Chairman and Managing Director of City and Industrial Development Corporation (CIDCO, Navi Mumbai, however, is a rare breed with an equally proficient right and left brain. The 1996 batch officer of the Maharashtra cadre who talks animatedly about Projects, Finance, Innovation, Strategy, Infrastructure, Utilities and Healthcare and is passionate about nation-building, serenades life with Kishore Kumar’s songs and Rabindra Sangeet.
Although he acquired the MBBS degree from Nagpur’s Government Medical College with meritorious grades, Dr Mukherjee’s heart was inexorably drawn towards public service since he earnestly believed that he wasn’t cut out for medical practice. As someone who was posted in the interiors of Vidarbha, he was kicked up about improving rural health infrastructure. He was pleasantly surprised when he was drafted as the Secretary of Medical Education, a sphere that opened new vistas to his Spirit for Service bent of mind. By his own admission, he was an administrator first.
At the forefront of activities like increasing seats for the under-graduate and post-graduate courses, fellowships and setting up protocols, he virtually became a messiah to students keen on pursuing Medicine. A course in Public Finance and Public Administration from reputed institutions with his medical background turned him into an adroit administrator – a craft that he demonstrated during the Covid crisis. The Operation Module compendium that he prepared is almost a Bible of guidelines to be followed in dealing with the pandemic. The 360-page compendium includes instructions to handle the corona crisis. Besides, the information shall also be useful for doctors who are fighting the virus across the states as it includes all the necessary steps on setting up isolation and quarantine wards.
A frontline and award-winning Covid Warrior, Dr Mukherjee conceptualized Project Platina, world’s largest convalescent plasma therapy trial-cum-project to treat Covid patients with severe symptoms. He harnessed the project with elaborate use of technology – another area where he evinces keen interest. Today, it is majorly because of him that Google spreadsheets and WhatsApp groups were strapped for data collection and group video calls for review meetings. The information is now available at the click of a mouse.
In the midst of a grueling work schedule punctuated by social distancing, using masks and sanitizers, Dr Mukherjee hasn’t lost his jovial instinct. The exacting standards that he has set for himself are carried forward in his musical instincts as well. A dyed-in-the-wool adherent of Kishore Kumar, he loves to sing his songs and post them on social media. The song from Blackmail (1973) “Sharrrbati teri aankho ki” has won him legion of admirers. Of late, he finds meditational succor in Rabindra Sangeet.
But why only Kishore Kumar among a host of other equally illustrious singers? Dr Mukherjee chuckles. “Who doesn’t like Kishore’s songs? There were many others but I could gel with him for more reasons than one. Maybe I am cut out for the boisterous and rambunctious style that he so lucidly evocates. Plus the fact that he was not a trained singer and it was all part of his pre-natural talent. Even Elvis Presley wasn’t a trained singer but he was a world rage. But now that you tell me, I shall also explore the other Kishore who touches the diametrically opposite timber and scale in songs like ‘Panthi hoon mai us path ka’ or ‘Khushi do ghadi ki’. For me, the pleasure is of singing the songs of a singer who people love to love. And of course, he was a great mimic, dancer and had the entire gamut of artistry in his repertoire.”
Dr Mukherjee is asked to sing at functions, family gatherings and sometimes even among the staff. He never disappoints because the pleasure of singing is more over-riding than any other thought. On such occasions, the rigorous officer in him gives way to a Kishore lover. The apps have taken his singing interests notches higher. Of late, he revels in the serenity of Rabindra Sangeet. He has posted two of Gurudev’s compositions “Akash Bhuro Surjo Tara” and “Shakhi Bhabona Kahare” explaining the finesse in those reverential words. If the music enchants, the words that adorn them tugs at his heart-strings. Everything, including Western Classical Music is a treat to the ears.
For one who can sauté and harmonize his office work with Kishore songs and the rich legacy of Rabindra Sangeet, life is one unending composition in rhapsody for the IAS officer who has duty on his mind and Kishore in his heart. It also explains his smooth transition from a task-master to a person who peppers his articulation with an infectious laughter. An avaricious reader, he never allows his onerous schedules to deter him from writing. The compendium he has written are love’s labour. Nothing can be wearisome when work with its unpredictability becomes an adventure. Kishore and Rabindra Sangeet make it a delightful voyage. And as the maxim goes, those who wish to sing, will always find a song.
The link to music from Blackmail!
Dr Sanjay Mukherjee in his office
Dr Sanjay Mukherjee regaling his audience with a Kishore Kumar song!
Seeking life’s gist thro meditation
Mr Sanjay Bhatia, Retd IAS officer and former chairman MbPT
Retired IAS officer Sanjay Bhatia recently appointed as Upa Lokayukta of Maharashtra brings out his quest for understanding the purpose of life and explains how Heartfulness Meditation provided succor in his personal and professional life
Meditation is the way to a life of serenity. More regularly and more deeply one meditates the sooner one finds oneself acting from a center of peace. That in nutshell should explain the glow of enlightenment that one sees on the demeanor and articulation of Mr Sanjay Bhatia, IAS, recently appointed the Upa Lokayukta of Maharashtra.
The retired civil services officer (1985 cadre), a mechanical engineer and Masters in Business Administration, has served in different capacities in State and Centre with 35 years of unimpeachable service. Mr Bhatia’s stints in holding different portfolios are well known in public domain but his transformation from a self-seeker to a liberated man free from worldly cravings brings to fore an astonishing story that only a select few are aware of.
In his close-knit circles, Mr Bhatia is fondly called a Yogi. However, what metamorphosed an unbending, workaholic IAS officer into a compulsive meditator is best expounded by Mr Bhatia himself in a very free-flowing audio-visual narrative that also highlights his efforts to propagate and underscore the importance of meditation in personal and professional life.
The Bhatias have been practicing meditation for almost 20 years now but the denouement has come through various stages after starting at the age of 39-40. Mrs Anuradha Bhatia is herself an IRS officer and now an acknowledged preceptor of Heartfulness Meditation
Mr Bhatia traces the times when their lives were overtaken with “personal egos, competition and aggressive pursuits. There was no thought for any meditation, let alone peace. It was as if there was an existential crisis where we seemed to have no clarity on the very purpose of life. The trigger came when we were shattered by the loss of two dear relatives. I began to wonder what the essence of life was. I started reading books on Regression Analysis and Life after Death. However, the 30-40 odd books that I read, didn’t address my concerns much.”
“After starting with Transcendental Meditation, I did a eleven-day course in Vipassana. It was a “feel good” experience so I not only continued, I introduced to my staffers at the electricity board in Maharashtra. Although it helped, I still had no clarity on the purpose of life. My pursuit took me to Yoga which I learnt and practiced but this too gave me only health. The search for the larger perspective I had set out for was still elusive so I took to Brahmvidya and Gyaanyog. Despite this course of experimentation, I was getting frustrated since what I was looking for remained incomprehensible.”
“It was during an election duty in Baghpat when I visited several ashrams and temples that I came to know from a young collector posted there about a meditation centre. He referred the superintendent of police Mr Mishra to me. The SP introduced me to some meditation sittings that involved yogic transmission. These were meant to cleanse your inner self. It was a rejuvenating experience that took me from spirit to spirituality. I realized my concentration and creativity had gone up several notches. But what was welcome was the wisdom and sense of intuition that came along. It changed my social life completely. From a seeker and a party person, I changed to a man who understood the sanctity of a giver.”
Mr Bhatia recalls how his wife was also energized into becoming a preceptor. “Even my children have caught on to the blessings of meditation – the need for Emotional Quotient (EQ) along with Intelligence Quotient (IQ). The atmosphere in the house changed dramatically and I started coming to grips with what life actually entails. I began to realize that my priorities should be Spirituality, Health, Relationships and Work in that sequence. While on a personal level this was a welcome enlightenment, there was also discernible change in organizational transformation.”
Making out a case for meditation as an effective tool in effecting organizational transformation, Mr Bhatia explains how the move to introduce it helped. “I saw the trust levels climb up in my interaction. During my CIDCO posting in 1997, when the government was falling short of land for the proposed airport in Navi Mumbai because the project-affected persons were not cooperating, I took the PAPs and CIDCO employees on the path of meditation. It worked like a miracle and the entire land acquisition process moved smoothly thereafter. The cultural and creative changes as also the development of trust happened because of meditation. Personally, I was a man transformed. My concentration levels had gone up considerably.”
A strong votary of Heartfulness Meditation, Mr Bhatia holds sessions to explain
in an autobiographical manner how his journey into the spiritual realm drove him to find the true purpose of life and brought about a change in the people around him. “Like most IAS officers, I was a highly competitive person with an A+ personality (wherein B is introvert, A is extrovert, and I was an extreme extrovert) with a lot of ego. To me, life at 40 meant work, party, again work and some sports. Unlike in other meditations, in this one, you do not concentrate on anything, and improved concentration is a result of this meditation. – Improved efficiency through intuition – Normally, we try to attain wisdom, which is a combination of knowledge and our years of experience. However, there is something even beyond and that is intuition. Once the intuition is sharpened, it results in tremendous improvement of work efficiency. “
The heart of human excellence often begins to beat when you discover a pursuit that absorbs you, frees you, challenges you, or gives you a sense of meaning, joy, or passion. Definiteness of purpose is the starting point of all achievement. That glow is evident on Mr Bhatia’s visage.
Mr Bhatia being greeted by Governor of Maharashtra Honorable, Mr Bhagat Singh Koshiyari after administering him an oath of office of Upa Lokayukta.
An IPS officer who wears confidence on his sleeve
Journey of Brave IPS officer Shri Vishwas Nangare Patil .Jt.CP. Law and Order. Mumbai Police.
Vishwas Nangre-Patil, the Jt Comissioner of Police, Mumbai, has had to toil by the sweat of his brow to reach where he is today and is a role model for all youngsters who want to join the force
Law enforcement is perhaps one of the most trickiest and thankless jobs in the world. Ask any police officer worth his salt who puts his life on the line with no superpowers, no X-ray vision, no super strength, no ability to fly, and above all, no invulnerability to bullets. For, he alone knows how challenging it is to protect the dignity of his uniform in the line of his duty as he gets thrown and sucked into dangerous situations and is expected to make decisions in quick time.
Vishwas Narayan Nangre-Patil, an IPS officer of the 1997 cadre and recently appointed as the Joint Commissioner of Police, Mumbai (Law & Order) exemplifies the face a quintessential, competent police officer who has not only endeared himself to the rank and file of his department but has also earned a reputation as an officer with a humane and sensitive mind.
Nangre-Patil carries with him an impeccable record that comes from a long saga of an undaunted struggle. Starting as an aspirant UPSC candidate in pursuit of a career in the police force to an officer having won the coveted President’s Police Medal for gallantry for his fearless role in the counter-terrorist operations during the 2008 Mumbai attacks, he is a ray of hope and role model for youngsters who want to carve out a name in the rough and tumble of life.
Nangre-Patil (47) is a self-made man. Self discipline, hard working, honest and faithful to his work have been his trusted lieutenants in his dogged march towards his goal posts. Regarded as an officer with acumen, he is by his own admission, open to continuous learning and evolving. He has what it takes to be a winner.
Having served in both the rural and urban areas of the state, the dashing police officer has left the stamp of his meritorious work in every capacity. Restless to a fault, he was among the first to rush to the Taj Hotel when it was besieged with terrorists and there was fear over the metropolis. Then, the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone 1), Mumbai he had rushed to the spot with ill-equipped and ill-prepared personnel and shot a terrorist during the encounter. It was an act of exceptional courage even by the standards of those days. The Ministry of Home Affairs Committee did not even need a discussion before adjudging Nangre Patil as the winner of the President’s Gallantry Medal.
Earlier, in 2007, as the Superintendent of Police (Rural), he and a team of 100 policemen raided a rave party being held in a private farm and arrested over 280 people, most in their 20s. In 2012 he raided a rave party in Juhu which was attended by influential people. To act without fear or favour probably has a lot to do with his tough yes-I-can mindset.
His book “Man Me Hai Vishwas” is a telling commentary on what goes into the making of this popular officer. The title says it all, especially the conviction he brings to his work ethos. The book is a gripping biography of a young man who was unstoppable even in the wake of many odds that could have deterred many others.
As a youngster — born in the rural climes of Kokrud in Shirala tehsil of Sangli district in Western Maharashtra – Nangre-Patil had decided the roadmap of his life very early in life. As he narrates in his book, his journey was no smooth. There were brakes and hurdles. At times he felt a kite without its string and drifting aimlessly. His only assets and support were his tenacity and perseverance. At the back of his mind, he knew that bigger the struggle, bigger the success. His reassurance stood him in good stead and showed he was on the right track. Little wonder, his biography has been so well and widely received by all those who believe in the credo that there is no substitute to hard work. It is a veritable treatise to all those “Eklavyas” who want to make it on their own with no mentor.
In his book, Nangre Patil gives simple but sincere tips to all youngsters with a sense of purpose in life. “Set your goals at 15 and follow Shivaji’s ideals. Life is a race and God is your Jockey. There will be trials and tribulations but don’t lose the sight of your goals. Identify your strengths and weaknesses. There is a time for everything and while pursuing your aims, do not be found wanting in your efforts. Believe in yourself and don’t be bogged down by failures nor allow success to go to your head. When everything fails what never leaves you is your confidence. Help, Support and Love should be your guiding religion.”
Nangre-Patil’s recipe for success has made him a youth icon. The conscientious and guilelessness in which he narrates his life story – and there are any number of clips on the net where he shares them – reveal that one doesn’t need urban polish to make it big. As a Marathi medium student, he was equal to the challenges while preparing for his UPSC examination. The experiences he relates are not merely motivational quotes but a practical guide to all those who nurse similar dreams.
As the Joint Commissioner of Police of a city that mirrors the aspirations of many dreamers, Nangre-Patil is a shining model. Mumbai needs more of his tribe.