Since no Chief is without followers I positioned and visualized myself as being one of his juniors who observes how he plays all his roles to provide an eyewitness account of my dream. Some of the frames that flashed before the mind's eye were: his accessibility to ordinary citizens or junior ranks of the police service; or his dealing with VIPs and their innumerable recommendations, justified or otherwise; and his views on crime registration, interrogation, collection of evidence and prosecution of offenders. What would be his advice on issues of on matters of interference by politicians, bureaucrats, influential persons, and ones own seniors? And not to forget the reality of frequent transfers!
Gandhiji was the change he wanted to see in others. Truth and compassion would be the cornerstones of this Chief's philosophy and management style. His tenets and practices would include:
He was out of home daily by 8 AM visiting any one unit by prior announcement or surprise due to which all were on duty well before time. The traffic flowed smoothly and police personnel were present. Whichever unit he reached, he first listened to the staff rather than preached and ordered. He rewarded and appreciated rather than reprimand. He shared and empowered. He smiled and rejoiced and made police men and women relax and smile. He asked them of the welfare of their children and families. All saluted him out of love, not hierarchy.
When questioned on matters of the use of one's discretion he would only say, "Follow the law with compassion. Do only that which is just and fair. Spare no one but you do not be revengeful. Look after the person in your custody. He is in your care. Ensure no one uses any force against him. Use technology and scientific methods of interrogation and investigation; never attribute to him anything which is false. Remain truthful."
To the questions on how convictions would be secured if the path of truth alone was to be followed, he would smile and elucidate, "The results of following the truth cannot be worse than the present state of affairs. On the contrary since you will be believed by the courts and the people it will gradually make it difficult for the defense. This is how you will win the trust of the people. Remember you are an investigator and not a judge. Do your duty truthfully. Believe and practice righteousness and in the right means to the right end. Pray for peace for all before you go to sleep".
When asked to comment on his vacation policies, he would be conscious that many police personnel stayed away from homes for extended periods of time, and would always insist, "No leave will be denied. Take it when you think it is important for you. You know best when you can/should/must go."
On matters of civilian-police interaction, his advice to the police force would be fairly crisp and straightforward, "Keeping peace and security is your sacred duty. Involve people in policing. Let them know the areas which need greater attention and involve residents and village panchayats to self-police. Train and help them. Enroll them as special police officers. Empower citizens to understand policing and their duties by showing them the way."
On the issue of outside influences impacting policing decisions, he would exhort, "Do not get over awed by the rich and powerful. Remember you work for all. And if anyone still bullies you inform your seniors to intervene. And if they don't, follow your conscience. This is your duty. Remember we are trustees of citizens' security. It is a sacred duty."
After having gone through this pleasant, stimulating and emancipating imagination exercise, I wondered for myself, if we will ever see a real Gandhi in uniform? And the spirit of Gandhiji replied with a resounding "yes". Especially, after the recent judgment of the Supreme Court of September 22nd in which all future selections of the Chief of Police will be made from three senior most empanelled officers cleared by the Union Public Service Commission. The Police Chiefs so appointed would have a fixed tenure of two years and cannot be removed without due consultations with the Security Commission which has the Leader of Opposition as a member. No internal appointments too can be interfered with. Also, a Police Complaint Authority will be established that will spare no delinquent violating human rights. Hence the leadership will be empowered and accountable. Historical indeed! Something which was being pleaded for, for the last 20 years was finally becoming a reality.
I firmly believe the future belongs to Gandhigiri. It is just a matter of time.