Date Published: January 18, 2021
Source: The Good people at Bloomsbury India 😀
How did the rape and murder of a young girl transform a rule-obsessed officer to take on a more humane approach?
Why did people start calling him Singham just a few years into his policing career?
What is it that made a shy, simple village boy dedicate himself to a lifetime of commitment towards public service?
Stepping Beyond Khaki: Revelations of a Real-Life Singhamis a tell-all memoir by celebrated former police officer K. Annamalai. With a career spanning a decade in the state of Karnataka, he earned the respect of the people with his humanistic action and his style of leadership focusing on empowering subordinates. Further, Annamalai pitches significant questions that rarely get discussed-are politicians bad? And is politics a place where good people fear to tread?
By stepping away from the spotlight and bringing out the real heroes whom he had encountered in his policing journey, this is unlike any other policing memoir. Truthfully told with a dash of idealism, it also prescribes changes that are much needed in politics, policing and in our daily governance mechanisms. It brings out the inherent goodness of the common man and the role the general public play in keeping this democracy functioning.
Buy it here – Amazon India | Amazon US | The Book Depository | Flipkart | Add on Goodreads
My View: Up until early last year, I held a common view of the police: they can’t be trusted, don’t go to a policeman even when you need to, they are unfit, take bribes, and are dangerous to your safety (especially as a female).
This changed in March 2020. March 2020, I shared space with constables, and I talked to senior superintendents while on COVID duty for those quarantined after traveling abroad. And that changed everything. My perception of police emerged from that of what I held above, to them being humans who work more hours than normal, are underpaid, hardly get time to spend with family, put their lives on the line, and are hated by the public. During the span of a month, I was also witness to the loss of a young constable who was going home after finishing his duty at 3am and in order to save a drunk person on the road, he swerved and lost his balance, and died. He was 23. Last March made me know more about the police than I ever had before. It gave me a real picture, away from what I had been told, and what media told me.
So when I got a chance to read this book, I grabbed it, wanting to know a first-hand account. I am embarrassed to say I hadn’t heard about Annamalai before but I am glad to have gotten to know him through this book. He’s a marvellous person, reaching where he did on his own abilities. Reading this book was a breeze and I got lost in his life story, admiring his courage, his long-term vision, and his methods. While reading this book, I was made aware of (by someone who did better on current affairs than me) some things about him that are against my own views but the author hasn’t mentioned them in the book so I will put them aside.
Annamalai goes into the minute accounts of a daily life of a policeman and all that they sacrifice and go through. He talks about the grassroot level and helps bring awareness to aspects of a policeman’s life that go unnoticed.
This book is an eye-opener. It is revealing, humbling, and brings to you the other-side view most people are not privy to. It seems like an unbiased account of the real deal.
Towards the end, the book becomes a little dry when delving into the political arena albeit Annamalai has mentioned some really good measures that the govt needs to take to ensure smooth functioning of the police and be able to provide help to those who need it. If only someone on the political level reads this and takes a step in the right direction.
It’s a great book to give you a glimpse into the life of a policeman.
Have you read the book? What did you think of it?
3.5/5 stars – Between I liked it and I really liked it.