The author, a former officer of the Indian Police Service, talks of the increasing political violence in India that is challenging the government'sability to resolve conflicts democratically. In an interesting study, the ideological evolution of the Indian state through the freedom struggle and its culmination in the Nehruvian state are explored in this book. The author explains the manner in which Indian nationalism constituted itself as a state ideology under Jawaharlal Nehru and ?appropriated the life of the nation into the life of the state.? The Nehruvian model was based on India's?national philosophy? of ?modernisation? which involved the goals of national unity, parliamentary democracy, industrialisation, socialism, scientific temper, secularism and non-alignment. Nehru won three General Elections on the basis of this philosophy, ?which still enjoys dominance despite the recent experience of Hindu nationalist alternatives in Indian politics.?
The state apparatus left behind by the British standing above and insulated from society and with the police as one of its primary agencies were major attractions for Indian nationalist leaders during the violence surrounding Independence struggle. Nehru worked on the pre-existing bureaucratic structure, busy as he was in the state-building exercise.
The term political violence is used in the book to refer to violence that calls for a political response from the state authorities, rather than a police response. Second, the term implies that in a situation of large-scale institutional malfunctioning, politics acquires an appetite for both private and public spaces. In situations of violence, the state relies largely on the police machinery.
In brief, the first chapter focuses on select patterns of significant political violence in India today and examines the role of the administrative and police machinery at the local and national levels. Crime figures in India are unreliable because few are reported and many are underplayed. Offence in India is divided into two groups: cognisable and non-cognisable.
The second chapter explores the Indian police system which is a legacy of the British. The author wants the paramilitary and repressive political-organisational features of the police structure to be curbed to make the police force meaningful. The human rights of the ordinary people need to be protected, he says.
The third chapter examines the political use and abuse of the Intelligence Bureau?a police organisation set up by the British to collect secret and political intelligence against the nationalists. Here the author expounds on the role of B.N. Mullik who was very close to Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.
The fourth chapter talks of the role of the CPF under which the officers are recruited and trained by the Government of India and can be stationed anywhere in the country.
The fifth chapter discusses the role of the MHA in the context of the Naxalite movement which is posing a national security threat. The author suggests a possible strategy for the resolution of issues raised by the persistence of the Naxalite movement.
The sixth chapter examines the violence against the Dalits and Scheduled Castes and Tribes, the most deprived and marginalised section of the Indian society.
The seventh chapter focuses on the police partisanship during the communal violence in Gujarat in 2002.
The eighth chapter appraises the human impact of political violence on ordinary people, especially women and children in the north-eastern states. The author says the situation in the region deteriorated when the Indian Government decided to send the Indian army into Nagaland in the mid-1950s to quell the demand for independence. He also says that the people of the north-east want to joint the Indian mainstream but the police and intelligence services focus on militant activities and not on the public mood, which is alienating the people.
The book concludes with suggestions for police reforms.
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