By Dr. Fayaz Ahmad Bhat
The police and the police department in this corner of the world is often flashing in news headlines and coming into sight in journalistic analysis. Not for good reasons but for the issues which bring shame and embracement not to the people serving in the department even to their families and relatives. However, this time (in this write up) they are going to appear, appear for a good reason and novel cause.
The media trails and journalistic jingoism has a great role and part not what Noam Chomsky said “manufacturing consent” but manufacturing resent and that too against a particular group. The notable sociologist of Kashmir, B.A. Dabla who passed away recently highlighted the social stigma and harder ships faced by policemen in Kashmir. For the stigma and harder ships of the group rather would I say manufactured resent much can be attributed and credited to media?
The above statement is not outcome of subjectivity or emotional outburst but to a great extent sociological and scientific. It was not until my interaction with a police officer just few hours back that my a priori notions about the police were debunked and deconstructed. It was also not that I was not acquitted with the concept of a priori notions put forward by philosophies like Immanuel Kant and others. I have been reading from books, magazines, journals, news papers not only about the concept but also studied how dangerous and disastrous can it be especially for logical and scientific understanding of the things. However, still I had certain a priori notions about police and police department. May be due to manufactured resent? I never liked police or police department and like most of common men use to say “ pulse wool gov na kasi hund” ( A police man is sympathizer of none), “ khudaye gayes pulsue walin nish bachawun” ( May god protect everyone from the company of policemen) …. and so on. Whenever I was passing by a policeman especially a police station I was having a different kind of feeling and unconsciously praying “khudaya pulse wanan nish bachaaw” Oh! God save me from police and keep them away from me.
In past few days few events took place around me and I had to have interaction with policemen and visit police station. Most of the a priori notions of mine were debunked and deconstructed. The first event took place just a few days back when our locality has to visit police station Sumbal to seek the intervention of police to get their grievances redressed. The village had been in darkness since a month and the Power Works Department was not paying any heed to people of the village. It was only with the intervention of Sub Divisional Police Officer (SDPO) Sumbal the light was restored in the village after a month just within 24 hours. The way SDPO has dealt and behaved with the people has really impressed everyone. Everyone was compelled to praise him even in Hammams (steam room attached to Mosques in Kashmir) SDPO was a hot topic and celebrated like a hero.
The memories and celebrations were afresh in my mind, my a priori notion about police experienced a severe blow, a blow which deconstructed my notions and opened my eyes. Today I had to move police station Sumbal again to complain against a public officer for misusing his power and position, misleading people and abusing the law. When I reached the police station I did not observe or experience what I used to hear from people, no misbehavior, no Gali Galooch (bad names) or indecency but warmly welcome and to utter my surprise offered a seat. After going through my application the officer in charge very politely asked me to meet the SDPO and guided me to his office. Again to my utter surprise I was just to reach the office his guard welcomed me and I had not to wait not for a minute to interact with the SDPO. After going through my application it did not took him a minute to mark the application and forward it. The application reached to the table of Station House Officer, without wasting any movement he marked the application and did the needful.
This was an experience which I have never even thought of. I have always heard and read bad about them and have a priori notions and developed a manufactured resent. Which has been deconstructed and debunked by a police office? If this is company of a policeman I wish I always have.