By Manju Gupta
Community Policing: Misnomer or Fact? Veerendra Mishra, Sage Publications, Pp 226, Rs 695.00
The movement towards community policing has gained impetus in recent years for seeking greater public safety and to boost the quality of life in their neighbourhoods.
With equity firmly embedded in the Constitution of India, all citizens, regardless of their caste, class, religion, region, personal characteristics or group affiliations must be given equal access to police services for a full and productive partnership with the community and for complete inclusiveness and involvement. Over the years, the partnership has resulted in selective companionship with gradual widening of the gap. This mindset of alienation has to be changed.
However, implementation of community policing has remained inadequate the world over, either due to organisational settings of the police or the suspicious approach of the community. This book tries to offer solutions to these problems by analysing the conceptual variances and factors that impede smooth collaboration between the police and the public.
Besides discussing the underlying philosophy governing schools of thoughts and the strengths and weaknesses of community policing, the book explains the important policing concepts, such as police syndrome, tracking participation footprint and image dating/image mapping. Four case studies from Madhya Pradesh help in elucidating the practical aspects of these concepts.
In his recommendations, the author, Assistant Inspector of Police in Madhya Pradesh, says that there exists a big gap in the perceived responsibility of the community in community policing efforts when they fail to identify themselves in the process and keep waiting for the police to guide, direct, push, pull, create space and shape their role. The lack of perception of the actual benefits accrued from community policing challenges its sustainability and momentum.
Community policing calls for long-term commitment; it is not a quick fix. Achieving ongoing partnerships with community and eradicating the underlying causes of crime need planning, flexibility, time and patience. It is necessary for both to cooperate. “Police will have to change its face and start accepting the organisational principles so that their personnel are motivated, charged and professionally competent. The relationship between the community and the police has to become more practical and trustworthy. Proper checks and balance mechanism have to be instituted,” says the author. Essential element of successful implementation is communication, which must be timely, comprehensive and direct.
The behaviour of the police leader sets the tone and pattern for the entire organisation. The chief has to explain the concept of community policy thoroughly to the entire police organisation, the local political leadership, public and private agencies and the community at large. All participants have to understand their role in the community policing efforts. A lack of commitment from any of the stakeholders would result in failure. Regular communication will encourage active participation and decrease resistance and opposition.
The author argues that compliance with law must go hand in hand with protecting the fundamental rights of the people in order to preserve a liberal democratic society.
(Sage Publications India Pvt Ltd, BI/I-1, Mohan Cooperative Industrial Area, Mathura Road, New Delhi-110 044; www.sagepublications.com)
An alternative approach to 9/11
By Manju Gupta
9/11: The Pretext, NM Hussain, Other Books, Pp 348, Rs 375.00
Written by an investigative journalist, the book attempts to explore some unsaid and unrevealed mysteries behind the September 11 attack on New York City in 2001, which caused grief over the death of many innocent people on the one hand, and on the other, there was “hatred against the dastardly policies of the US imperialism that brought this about,” says the author. He however, admits that “equally distasteful were the attitudes of terrorist groups that victimise people in its operations of protest against the cruelties of the government.”
Through this book of his, the author, a freelance journalist in Kerala, presents the ‘other’ view of the terrorist attack on September on New York City by calling it a myth in international politics. He says that to substantiate this myth, several sub-myths were created and had this not been so, then why did the British Prime Minister’s dossier not give a single piece of evidence against the activities of the Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden? Why did it leave unsaid the “putative role of the rightist militia which is responsible for the largest terror attacks on the US? Why did the government, rather than presenting a cementing proof, harp on the role of bin Laden without even giving a hint on the rightists, although the latter deserved more suspicion than the former?”
The book is divided into two chapters followed by the appendices. The first chapter titled ‘Fighter Jets Stand Still’ discusses the anomalies in the official US records and the media analyses saying why the fighter jets, which were supposed to intercept the hijacked planes were too late to take off, why the subsequent actions were lackadaisical and why 9/11 Commission Report and mainstream media left it unnoticed. That the US Government itself could murder its citizens by attacking the Twin Towers could be a possibility according to him. The second chapter titled ‘Operation Northwoods’ tries to provide answers to some questions that the readers may like to be answered during the process of reading. Through his own answers the author tries to focus on the “machinations of the US from 1962, the political lies it told, the terror links it manufactured and the politics of oil.”
The Appendices present the summary of analyses done by investigators like David Ray Griffin, Paul Thomson, Nafeez Mossaddeq Ahmad and other analysts to give a bird’s eye-view of the alternative findings on the event.
(Other Books, First Floor, New Way Building, Railway Link Road, Calicut – 673 002, Kerala; www.otherbooksonline.com)
A spiritual journey
By Manuj Gupta
Verses of the Divine Spiritual Life, Paramhansa Veetraga, Brahmnishtha Swami Dayanand Giriji Maharaj, G C Garg Publisher, Pp 382, free circulation
Providing guidelines for the spiritual way of life, the book provides with a renewed stimulus and inspiration to their pursuits and endeavours towards achievement and actualisation of the true goal and mission of life.
In this world full of turbulence and turmoil, man lives a life full of psychological tension caused by problems faced in life and always yearns for emancipation from the stress and strains of life. Often due to ignorance of the basic philosophy of life, man keeps on suffering and enduring the hardships. It is in such a situation that certain souls endowed with knowledge on the subtleties of life, on this earth and beyond, become the source and guide in helping man overcome the tensions and worries of life. One such soul was Dayanand Giriji and whose teachings are included in this book, which include awakening of divine consciousness in man, life and earth, life beyond death, the laws of life and karma, reincarnation, divine dynamism, illusion or the will power of God by which forms are manifested in the physical world along with morality, purity of life, self-enlightenment, meditation and equanimity.
He has made an extensive study of ancient scriptures, Vedanta, religion and philosophy through assimilation and going through severe austerity, self-discipline, self-denial and self-abnegation, acquiring the knowledge of truth and supreme bliss.
Swamiji said that if one did not follow the following principles, his life is a waste and futile:
* If he does not devote himself to the service of mankind
* If he does not recognise the higher moral law and the ideals prescribed by reason and logic
* If he follows only satisfaction of carnal desires, guided by senses and temporary inclinations, striving for selfish adventures to satisfy minor ends and gratification of insatiable appetite and cravings.
The book contains 157 verses or advice on leading a spiritual life. For instance, Swamiji said:
If hopes however, are kept embraced
Being baffled, one day,
Sorrows they will bring,
If from heart they are totally effaced,
Of world desolate songs one need not sing.
(GC Garg Publisher, 99, Preet Nagar, Ambala City-134 003, Haryana)