Archive for the ‘police’ Category

When love with uncommon force

Demands complete surrender

Old Age must an idea perforce

Lose domain it had before;

Years bind such outward sinews

Of Time as Autumn limns the eye:

Seasons like ages fall to disuse

And with Spring proves a lie.


Stone walls do not a prison make

Nor what lies an Age tells

I cannot with good sense take

When Love made me break the walls-

Bonds of my nine month ordeal,

I shall no wise exchange for another

Though be cast in gold and silver, a deal

Fit for dumb and the stupid in hell.


To Althea from prison by Richard Lovelace,1642

When love with unconfined wings
Hovers within my gates,
And my divine Althea brings
To whisper at the grates;
When I lie tangled in her hair
And fettered to her eye,
The gods that wanton in the air
Know no such liberty.

When flowing cups run swiftly round,
With no allaying Thames,
Our careless heads with roses bound,
Our hearts with loyal flames;
When thirsty grief in wine we steep,
When healths and draughts go free,
Fishes that tipple in the deep
Know no such liberty.

When like committed linnets I
With shriller throat shall sing
The sweetness, mercy, majesty,
And glories of my King:
When I shall voice aloud how good
He is, how great should be,
Enlarged winds, that curl the flood,
Know no such liberty.

Stone walls do not a prison make,
Nor iron bars a cage:
Minds innocent and quiet take
That for an hermitage.
If I have freedom in my love,
And in my soul am free,
Angels alone, that soar above,
Enjoy such liberty.





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(This is a reprint of a piece I wrote for the Free Press Journal dated Oct.14,1997. Close Encounters of the Extreme Kind/Morning Cup-benny thomas)

‘If you are a peanut vendor in Mumbai, you are likely to die young,’ This cynical remark made by one as I rode the train this morning keep coming back to me even as I took my life in my hands to negotite the stretch between the Churchgate and Eros. My encounter with death is ever present given my careless attitude to disregard traffic rules at times. Even as I settled on the parapet near the Gateway, I could not help thinking about unnecessary risks that one takes every moment. Odds are more or less the same for all given the ground realities of a metropolis bedeviled with all sorts of problems. Of course we are part of the problem. If it were not so there would be no police force. From the spate of deaths which we read in the news these days  we know for sure crime does not pay either for the extroverts or the introverts. If one thinks custody deaths occur more among the introverts and deaths by  encounter are incidental among those who love open spaces one is dead wrong! No wonder the Division Bench in Mumbai has called the Commissioner of Police for the policy regarding encounter deaths.

The police force to be fair to them has a policy to keep track of the enemies of the people which makes them people friendly. Friend or foe? It is always nice to know where you belong. Unfortunately for all concerned the lines of division keep blurring all the time. The custodians of law who are people friendly must become friendly to politicians whose power is kept up by the money power of the criminals who are the enemies to people. It is within this vicious circle that we move about on daily grind. How often we rub shoulders with criminals as we strap hang or eat out. Unless we find a fly in our soup we don’t bother the waiter. No more do we bother a policeman unless we find a hand in our pocket instead of a wallet. If we can’t tell a crook from the good no more can a cop especially if his finger is hooked over the trigger. That unfortunate peanut vendor must have looked menacing to the custodian of law, with the heaps of peanut unsold at the end of the day hiding something deadly. In the killing fields Mumbai has become even a peanut could make him jumpy. Death is what he can expect if he does not kill first. With such a mind set I remember what Lin Yutang, a Chinese scholar had to say of his countrymen. In My Country  and My People he writes that the Chinese will never make a first-rate zoologist because on seeing anything that moves all that he could think of would be, how best it could be dressed for the table. Mumbai Police suffers similarly on the similar lines.


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