A Police Story

A true story of ACP Manjitha Vanzara by Shanu Shah

In India, it’s a culture to condemn the police. Though, when we are faced with an emergency we dial “100” with all confidence assuming that the police will come and save us.  But when relaxed, we speak all things shit about the Police force and their practices. It is believed that Police are more dangerous than criminals. Good governance and time have definitely improved the police practices resulting in a healthier perception of policing. There are still many areas where we have “Gundaraj”. People with power can shoot anyone on road, between hundreds of eyes, and still relax at home without even any court trial. Not even FIR is filed against such gangsters.

Today while attending Josh Talks I happen to hear ACP, Manjitha Vanjara of Ahmedabad. When she was announced to come I thought “Ahh! Another man boasting of his valour to lower the crime rates and make city clean is here.” I was not very much interested.

Proving my eeriest imagination and perception of the ugly, poorly dresses police officers wrong, stepped a beautiful lady, very beautifully dressed on the stage. Shocked, bewildered, I thought, “Blimey! It’s a girl.”

Background (my last expression)

I live in a country where people ask, “when will she get married?”, “When will she have a baby?”, “Why is she having only one baby?”, “Why is so fat?” – everything about “why she” and nothing about “why him?”

Here if the boys are on weed, parents would say, “He is young, of course, he will have some addiction!” but for girls, “Eeow! She does not know sewing, how will she find a groom?” Talking of Gender Equality will surely give everyone a migraine.

Yet standing in front of me, is a beautiful lady in the occupation of Cop, and a good daring cop who has improved lives. This gave me all the inspiration that is necessary to pump the adrenaline to dare and pursue my dream of being an author. The adrenaline was at its peak when she started her dare story.

The Dare Story

There is an area called the Chhara community in the old Ahmedabad city. Here the chief source of income is selling “Desi Daru” and pickpocketing. Most ladies were widows as they make their own liquor and the husbands get drunk so much that they die very early by consuming innumerable amounts of homemade liquor. Police arrest them; they get bail; they come out and start the same business again. Very rarely, if a woman tries to have a better life and start something legal, she remains workless and penniless. She has been tagged with the Chhara woman and no one will give her work of any kind. It’s a vicious circle, you have to stay and do the same thing everyone’s doing to earn your lively hood.

The Challenge

Ms. Manjitha took the challenge to improve this community and offer them some healthy and legal sources of income. Mostly when government takes up such Human Development projects they book tutorials for sewing clothes and beauty parlours and ask them to start earning from those newly learned skill sets. The hardcore reality is why would one go to the Chhara community to get a haircut or stitch their dress? The impression the Chhara People held, the good people would definitely want to stay away from them. Ms. Manjitha was proficient to understand that these courses are not going to improve a single life. It’s good and glittering only on paper.

What She Did?

She commissioned an NGO to take the project further. The first step was to contact them and establish trust. The NGO buddies were scared to go to the Chhara community alone and hence Ms. Manjitha accompanied them. They found that Chhara women earned Rs. 500 per day. So the first deal is if one wants them to practice a legal occupation then that good occupation should give them at least Rs. 500 per day. Initially, only 6 ladies could trust Ms. Manjitha and the NGO. Determined she was, she booked tutorials for sewing and beauty parlour. She asked her friends and family who are in the fashion industry to give minor sewing work to these ladies. And they agreed? Of course not. They were tensed what if those bunch of ladies theft their machines, clothes, and other stuff. She coaxed, convinced and those ladies had the work of sewing clothes. If the details were to be given, she gathered a crowd of 100 women on the first day, out of which only 6 came back to take the tutorials, while only 1 got into the profession of sewing. The ratio is miserable, but that one improved life, sustained practice of good legal job, can boost the rest of the pack for sure.

The project ended and she was a star. Nope. Wrong again. She asked those ladies to go and convince other women in there, to come and join them and do some legal stuff. Today there are more women who have improved their lives and living a respectful life.

She is actually policing rightly. She said she feels better when instead of arresting-lodging FIR-trials-Punishment-Bail-theft circle, she is actually improving lives. She is helping people get respect. Is not that simply amazing? I have never met a beautiful lady who is filled with beauty inside out with sheer virtuosity and valour.

3 Comments on “A Police Story”

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