Perception of 'Police' in India

March 17, 2007
Wondering Man

One wonders if a market survey were ever carried with the Indian population at large, what perception would emerge of the state-machinery called 'Police'.

One won't be surprised, if the closest single word matches with immortal Gabbar.

In any civilized society, citizens mostly would either feel more secure, or indifferent, when they meet various police personnel on duty (please don't consider exceptional police presence to tackle terrorism concerns).

In India, many liberal Indian mothers use the term police, when kids don't sleep in time, or engage in usual childish pranks replacing Gabbar that mothers in Ramgarh used in Sholay. One wonders what plants this negative stereotype in the psyche of mothers (the proposed survey can find this too), as this fear psychosis, implanted in kids at an early age, may not give a healthy impression for the kids later, and thereby for broader society.

'India poised' would love to see a day when state police in India would take various mushrooming and established news media, including the Internet to court for defamation charges for their sensational reports that tarnish their generic image, like police killing innocents, raping women, killing kids, as it's been reported lately at Nandigram.

The accusation of police taking bribes in India is almost universal. Mostly police deny such allegations, and then the media reports fade away.

One may think it's one or two exceptions, or rotten fruits; those involved may not be a truly representative sample.

In Nandigram, news reports claimed 5000 strong policemen went there on the fateful day. That's a very small sample size indeed!

One may mistakenly wonder, wasn't there a single good fruit within that small sample size to speak the truth, even now.

The West Bengal Police in 'Incredible India' can otherwise boast to have probably 1st real life perfection of any sampling exercise with 5000 samples, other alternative being worse. These many samples, selected from a population of state police for Nandigram, had apparently no sampling error, if 'Gabbar' indeed is the closest match of police perception in India.

Marketing information companies like ACNielsen, and others have some serious competition coming their way.

Ranjit is a Research Scholar with Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, India; and is the author of the book Wondering Man, Money & Go(l)d. He can be reached at
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Perception of 'Police' in India


Author: Wondering Man


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