Inspector General of Police Quaiser Khalid talks about his motivation in becoming a cop and also highlights optimism and hard work as the main tools to achieve one’s dreams. The officer, who is also a poet and a motivational speaker, touches upon the role of youth in shaping the future. Excerpts:
- What motivated you to join the prestigious service in the first place?
The opportunity to help people in distress was my main motivation. To prevent commission of offences, maintain peace and order in society and the unique identity given by the uniform were among the reasons to join the Indian Police Service. Police are those people to whom the common man comes when he has been wronged. The men in uniform help such people achieve justice.
- Why did you choose to practice poetry and not any other form of art?
The capabilities granted by the Creator vary from person to person. From my very childhood, I was very curious to learn. This prompted me to read voraciously. Reading books, magazines, newspapers, posters and listening to radio resulted in encouraging imagination. Consistent practice finally led to fruition. It encouraged me to write. Writing finally took the shape of verses. This, together with the experience and exposure with the police department, helped me develop deep understanding of human relations which in turn influenced my poetry. For me, this became the preferred medium of expression.
- In your interviews, you always stress on humanism and human experience. Can you elaborate humanism from your point of view?
Humanism for me is a set of behavioural patterns within the social milieu that develops an interactive connection between us and the others. For example, if I expect my personal dignity not to be violated, I should also respect others’ personal space and dignity. If I expect to be treated with fairness and justice, I should do the same to others. This is the only way to establish a just and fair democracy. It would also strengthen our harmony, brotherhood and social unity. It is from this line of thought that all our literary programmes have themed ‘Harmony through literature’.
- You have advocated a more humane approach in policing. Share an experience of the same.
I have always believed and maintained that we, in the police, are here to serve the people. They come to us when they have been mistreated, victimised or for other services. We must interact with them compassionately. If we speak to them properly, they are much more receptive to the ideas. I remember an incident when early in my career I was serving as Superintendent of Police, Sindhudurg, Maharashtra. It so happened that there is a statue of Shivaji Maharaj at the entrance road from the national highway to Sindhudurg Nagari. One fine morning, we received information that the black statue has been painted blue by some anti-social elements. While we were investigating the matter, the then local MLA came out with a big demonstration to the Collector’s office at Sindhudurg Nagari.
The Collector was quite worried after he saw the tone and tenor of the protestors and grew very apprehensive about the impending law and order situation. He sent the leader of the morcha to me for a discussion. I empathised with their concern and spoke about the need to learn from the life and deeds of Shivaji Maharaj. I also spoke about the course some misguided youth adopt in their lives. Their anger vanished and they left my office with the promise of helping us in the investigation. In this way, we could avert a situation which could turn ugly at any given point of time.
There are many more such instances where people have started to believe in the good works of the police department because of our humane treatment.
- You have expressed your admiration for former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri and particularly the way Shastriji lived his life. If you could have one quality of the late Prime Minister, what would that be and why?
I would have optimism coupled with consistent hard work. These two qualities enable people from even modest backgrounds to achieve great heights.
I would rate humanity as another great quality which Shastriji practised throughout his life. It is because great people are neither arrogant when they achieve success nor become cynical in their failures. They maintain their balance, poise and optimism and learn from their failures and always keep public good above their own self.
- Reaching beyond the obvious is something you cherish. Elaborate on how it applies to the youth of today?
All great revolutions have happened because of the diverse thinking of the masses. Every age re-imagines the future in a different fashion. For this to become a reality, we have to reach beyond the obvious. Whatever was relevant yesterday may not be relevant today. Therefore, we need to develop new tools and techniques to do catch-up. The youth are full of energy and optimism. They are willing to take risks. They are also the architects of the future. Therefore, they need to be connected to their values, traditions and good things of society while they chart their own course for the future.
There is a need to connect them to our ancient languages, culture and values that have shaped our composite heritage. While, the influence from across the globe is unavoidable, elements of our own distinct Indian identity need to be preserved and promoted. We also need to reach out to socially and economically backward sections of society to create hope for the future and bring them to the mainstream. For this, we have to reach out to them. I therefore, try to go to slums and other backward areas and take counseling sessions, career guidance and motivation talks and solve their problems related to career and society. This also helps in weeding out misgivings and stereotypes.
- Between the poet and the administrator, which ‘Quaiser Khalid’ is closer to you?
Both are sides of the same coin. I love my profession because it gives a purpose to my mission in life — to help society achieve peace and justice. Poetry is an extension of this. It helps me to introspect, reflect and to create. It provides me with a much larger and receptive platform to carry the message of harmony, peace and brotherhood. One strengthens the other and the mission of community policing is also achieved. It builds trust and brings members of society closer, thereby creating a stronger foundation. A stronger society is the foundation stone for a stronger country.
- UPSC (CSE) 2019 is coming up, what will be your message for the aspirants appearing this year?
I will advise them for patience and hard work. They should be confident of themselves, prepare well and never give up.