When I was a kid studying in a regular school in Allahabad, quite a few teachers had a policy of appointing the most troublesome kid as the 'class monitor'. The policy worked well. Give the biggest goon in the class a responsibility to sober the rest of them, give him authority, a boost to his ego and things would go smooth.
This technique worked perfectly well till we all were small kids. As we grew up, the system somehow failed - the experienced teachers knew that well and the goons started going back to where they belonged - which was not in any responsible position whatsoever.
The police, across the world, does a dirty job. They are the ones interacting with the bad guys, they are the ones who are taking bullets while assuming authority of shooting them when needed.
Imagine a civilized society. Now imagine a regular person living in that society. She would never hurt anyone, even if it is required by law to do so. I'm assuming that the readers of my blog are a relatively civilized bunch of people, in that case should I ask one of you to shoot a bullet into the head of an evil person, chances are that you would not be able to do that (God save us if civilized people have the guts to shoot people around!) We need a class of people to do the dirty work for us, for that we must be thankful to each and every member of the police departments of the world.
The Hindu mythology has many examples of Gods assuming powers to kill and punish the evil. I've often asked this question to myself, why do the Gods have to do that themselves? It would be a lot simpler for them to pass on special powers to some human and let him carry out the execution. Why does a God take the pain of taking birth in human form, live the life of a human till it is time to take out the bad guys? There would be many reasons, I'm sure but, one of them has to be the fact that power corrupts. Give a corrigible guy enough power and chances are that he would not be able to live within the code of the civilized world. A great responsibility should come with great power but, that rarely happens in the real world!
So, here's the catch - we need to give enough power to the bad guys to do the dirty task but we want them not to misuse it! Tough call.
In my experience, there are two types of cops in India. Type A are the ones who perform poorly in academics, are invariably college dropouts, get 'farzi' certificates and hook on to a police job by producing large sums of money as bribe that they hope to get back soon after they join their office (the bribe for getting a post of sub-inspector can go up to as high as 50 lakh in some cases!). Type B are the ones who crack tough competitive examinations like the PCS entrance and get the top jobs within the police department and eventually break down to the system of corruption and power misuse.
Indian policing system is archaic, unjust, inefficient and ineffective. The common people are most afraid of the police than any goon. Going to a police station is one of the worst experience in a person's life in India. The regular policeman is a 'danda' wielding, abusive, fat, reluctant frog who is too deep down in the corruption mantle to do any good to the society. To try to justify that we need such an abomination for the smooth functioning of our society is a shame that India has to live with. It is a shame that such people 'run' our society!
A very comprehensive police reform must be introduced at the earliest if India is to have any hope of becoming a civilized society one day! This is perhaps asking too much. How can we expect the ugly beast that wishes to engulf us to self-destruct! Other parts of the world have had similar realizations recently. Places where the problems arising out of a police state were not too pronounced have gathered and shown a resolve to stand up against the evil that hides itself under the pseudo-name of 'governance'. We have much bigger problems because standing up against the police is much harder here. We would need a non-cooperation movement in a scale bigger than the one we had for our independence. And who would want to volunteer for such a cause when things seem 'normal' on most days! We have accepted our tormentor as a master, it is much harder to break the chains of acceptance.
The first step to breaking out of the vicious chains is to realize that we are not free. That thought alone would be powerful enough to lead us to the next logical step - that of organization!