“I may have been born poor but I did not want to die poor”
I am the eldest son in the house, we are 5 sisters and 3 brothers. My father works as a gunman security guard which alone was not enough for the survival of 10 people. Since the beginning my vision was to achieve something big, I may have been born poor but I did not want to die poor. I could not do an MBA because it was very expensive and I have not been a very bright kid since school. I draw my inspiration from an IPS officer from my village who also came from an economically weak background so I used to think if he can do it, I can also do it. So, I decided to give UPSC about which I was clueless but was determined to give. My uncle treated me as his own child and supported me in my endeavours. I lived in Mumbai for two years but the environment there did not suit me well to study. So, my next stop was either Delhi or Aligarh, whichever would cost me less to follow my dreams. I chose Aligarh because it was cheap and I did not want to burden my family with my expenses. My aim was to earn enough for my own survival.
“After the WBCS exam, I used to eagerly look for jobs”
There was a Professor of Chemistry Jaul Haq Sahab with whom I shared my idea of starting coaching for those kids who are not well off. He ran a trust which provided scholarships to students so I convinced him to start coaching for the underprivileged students, where I would manage the operations of the coaching and he agreed by God’s grace. The coaching centre was started with the name of Al-Hidaya, then it was changed to Crescent Academy. The Coaching flourished for 3 years, well more importantly I was getting a steady income out of it because I also taught kids. Even after saving money and appearing for UPSC, I could not crack it. I switched to WBCS in 2006, cleared Mains and interview and got an appointment as a Revenue Officer.
“For the first time in 2006, I went out to find a job”
The economic condition was not good and there was a lot of pressure to cope with. The results take at least 1 year time so I decided I had to do something now. For the first time, I went for job scouting in Calcutta in October 2006. The first job which was offered to me was in a bank for Rs 1,500. I was a collector in the credit card collection department, I visited the homes of those who were credit card defaulters and asked for the money due. Then, with the reference of a friend in Citi Bank, the same job profile was offered to me for Rs 3,000 so I readily accepted the job.
In 2008, I almost forgot that I had even appeared for any exam because I was quite settled in the bank, I was promoted, my salary increased and I moved to different departments. One day a friend of mine informed me that I was selected in WBCS. Although my ranking was bad because of maths but I was selected. This was 2009 starting and suddenly we came to know that my mother has cancer and her life span is not more than 6 months. I delayed my posting because I had to take care of my family, being the eldest son. My mother died within a month and in November 2009 I joined as a Revenue Officer. The service days were from Monday to Friday so I thought as a gift to the society, we can train students on Saturday and Sunday. So, 5-6 of us like-minded officers started an institute named KICE (Khidirpur Institution for Competitive Examination). Our main motive was to provide a platform to those kids who, I thought, might be facing a struggle similar to mine.
A second chance at WBCS:
“I was dissatisfied with my life and re-started on the path to WBCS”
In 2013, I realised I am not doing justice to myself because the job I was in, it made me feel I am forgetting my original vision because I wanted to have that IPS badge and uniform on me. I was feeling less content with my present job. My friend Waqar, an IPS Officer offered to help me with math and insisted I should try again for WBCS. I appeared for my exam again, cleared it and got selected in WBCS as Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP).
En route Firhad 30
When we were in Aligarh, we came to know that in South India, they teach medical and engineering in madrasa. There was a madrasa in Khidirpur where we wanted to start a coaching and put its infrastructure to some more good use. We faced objections from the Maulanas initially but we convinced them. With the help of Anish Bhai and Bablu Karim, we started coaching in the Madrasa and collaborated it with RICE. With the help of Bobby Hakim, the then local MLA and now Mayor of Kolkata, we named it Firhad 30 after him.
Road to SP 40
When I first joined Baruipur Traffic Police in April 2018, I felt our district is located in the interiors and is home to economically underprivileged kids. I used to meet them during school visits or in ‘Safe Drive Safe Life’ programmes when I realized to provide them with a platform to launch their career. This was the brainchild of SP 40. I wanted to put into good use my experience of coaching students who wanted to pursue a career in civil services of the Government so that this section of the society will be benefitted. I shared this idea with the then SP, Ajay Pasar Sir for acquiring classroom, faculty members and financial assistance. He as well wanted to start such a thing to develop society and give the best service to promote friendliness in society. There’s so much commercialization of coaching, they charge a hefty amount which cannot be afforded by everyone, in lieu of this we wanted to provide a chance to 12th Standard students or graduate students who wanted to take this up but could not because of the fees charged at big coaching institutes.
So, with the same infrastructure and academic approach, we wanted to deliver the same teaching but free of cost to the kids belonging to poor areas like Sunderbans, Basanti, Canning, Sonarpur etc. We started off with a counselling program where we invited different schools and some 500-600 kids attended the session and shared our vision for which we received a remarkable response. The key behind this success was that they could see in us an idol since we were already at that place and that helped us to connect with them. We take an entrance exam with multiple-choice questions from where we select 40 economically backward kids and this is how we started SP 40 coaching in January.
The success rate of SP 40
It is very difficult to measure the success rate because we have started from the base. But what satisfies us is the fact that we are being able to serve the society and give wings to the dreams of those underprivileged kids who thought they would never even get a chance to work towards their dream of becoming a civil servant. Our new SP, Rashid Sir, has supported us with financial assistance so that we can get the best teachers to teach our students and lent all his aid to afford premium teaching to the kids. In fact, after Rashid Sir’s arrival, we have taken quite a few positive decisions related to the coaching and he has exclaimed to us his desire to continue the coaching. He has removed all our apprehensions regarding the financial stability of the coaching and extended his support in the same matter 100%. The result of this is that we have successfully completed a batch and two kids have qualified for WBSC prelims. We believe that if we persevere in our hard work, we might be able to provide these children with a bright future.
After joining as DSP Traffic, Baruipur, in 2018, I felt the need of a traffic infrastructure to be put into place immediately because without a proper infrastructure officer will have to face several difficulties which can be avoided otherwise. Since it was a new district we were facing problems with barracks, they were in a detrimental state and it was the minimum place from where we could start the renovation work with the help of SP Sir. Along with this, we tried to strengthen the signalling at various places, established a traffic control room and RLVD (Red Light Violation Detector). We got immense help and support from ADG Sir, Vivek Sir, Piyush Pandey Sir to improve traffic infrastructure, especially police assistance booths (PAB), guard rails and body cameras to survey the public who often complain that the police is harsh, so to record everything during prosecution, body cameras help a lot. We have also installed Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) as a measure to advance infrastructure.
Traffic work under his supervision
“Fewer people die in terrorist attacks as compared to deaths in road accidents”
When I first joined, it was a new district, I got three guards in the beginning – Sonarpur, Baruipur and Ghatakpukur. The traffic conditions were really bad, there were few officers and traffic was considered secondary. Hon’ble Chief Minister of WB started ‘Safe Drive Save Life’ campaign which was a visionary step because most of the deaths recorded, were in road accidents. To support this vision, it was very important that we make traffic primary. We wanted to make people feel that this is a serious issue, someone dying on the road is not seen as a serious threat to safety. We have succeeded in explaining this to people that there life matters, this is the very motto of ‘Safe Drive Save Life’. So, one must follow the minimum traffic rules like wearing a helmet, seat belt while driving, observing a traffic signal and lane driving. We wanted people to realize that the police is on road not for harassing them but to make them realize the importance of their lives. I have also motivated my officers to think of new initiatives to help observe traffic rules. We talk to school children, citizens on the road, school teachers to raise awareness about the importance of good traffic conditions. We also focused on law enforcement to help people understand the importance of road safety and one’s lives.
“Police does not only look at violators of law but it also considers the law-abiding citizens”
Happy Driving is an innovative concept under ‘Safe Drive Save Life’ to reward law-abiding citizens who follow traffic rules like lane driving, wearing helmet and seat belt etc. We came up with this initiative to provide incentives and a sort of repayment to those who follow traffic rules in a way to thank them for their disciplined deeds on the road because they are indirectly easing the work of West Bengal Police. This will help decrease stress on the roads and a feeling of happiness that the police is watching the safe drivers will spread and help reduce the tension on the road which in turn will amount to fewer accidents on the road. We also promote this idea by distributing helmets among those who don’t wear helmets. I am extremely thankful to Rashid Sir, SP of Baruipur who lent enormous support at every step to fortify this idea of ‘Happy Driving’ and I acknowledge the efforts of those who readily accepted this idea and helped carry it across various places.