A man or A woman?
I was amused when I read that. I laughed, simply, not on the news item, but upon the kind of system our democracy has evolved, upon the state’s oneiric, lost state, upon the dim-witted politicians, upon the police institution and upon its rules-and-regulation department.
The 1971 batch IPS officer, Inspector General of Police (Rules and Manuals), Devendra Kishore Panda, for 14 years, had been donning himself like a woman – that too in public – and had earned himself some weird titles like, “Dusri Radha”, “Krishna’s Radha” etc. He vacated his official residence on 23rd of November and accused his wife and fellow police-men of harassment. He incriminated his wife, Veena, for physical harassment and said that he could no longer live with her: “She even threatens to send me to jail.” On 26th of November, The Hindu ran this news in the wake of Congress charging the Mulayam Singh Yadav government for failing to deal with this matter. Party spokesperson, A. P. Singh alleged the incumbent government that it transferred honest policemen on request of small time politicians, and it ignored the damage that Mr. Panda was doing to the morale of police force. The news item came affixed with a photograph of Mr. Panda who righteously wore his uniform. But, the bangle in his left hand was expressly visible. And his contemptuous smile addled to the public-and-political brouhaha after him.
The key is not to find whether he is guilty or not; but whether he is fit or not for the post he holds. As an IG of police, what message is he conveying to his juniors and peers? Whatever be his reasons to act or believe in such ridiculous public conduct; the conduct is certainly not leader like.
Ours is a democratic country and our constitution decrees “freedom of speech”, “freedom of expression” and “freedom of blah-blah” for everyone. Thence Mr. Panda isn’t doing anything wrong. I believe that he must have been engrossed into some spiritual or imaginary thinking process that led him to this stage – and this could have been prevented if the state government were alert and watching – and he started envisioning himself as the lover of the Lord. It’s good or bad? I would leave this question to be answered by the political pedants of the country; but it’s certainly ridiculous, absurd and derisory that such a person is Inspector General of police for last 14 years.
The question here is not of Mr. Panda’s conduct, nor of how he grew to this stage, but of the ignorance under which he matured to think of himself as a woman, rather a sacred woman, a lover of Lord Krishna. Did the state police have no method to test the mental fitness of officers chairing the vital posts? Did it continuously slumber for last 14 years? Did it never foresee the future implications such a person could possibly bring?
If they are the kind of people who are supposed to shoulder the public security matters; public safety would soon become a ludicrous and idiotic concept.