Journey of the Hyderabad City Police Is A Must Read: Here’s Why

Anjani Kumar, IPS, Addl. DGP, Law and Order, Telangana  - Sakshi Post

Y. Satyanarayana

Did you know that Motilal Nehru’s father was the Kotwal at the time of the 1857 Revolt or the First War of Independence? Or that the word Kotwal, probably a corrupt form of 'kotpal', itself owes its origins to 'kota' (fort) in Telugu, considering forts were self-contained cities with 8,000-10,000 civilians in the olden days? Did you know that Hyderabad was right in the heart of the Kashi-Rameswaram pilgrim route in ancient times, a route infested with thugs? Or that in Hyderabad, up until Police Action in 1948, the Police Commissioner or Kotwal was also the Municipal Commissioner or Kotwal of Baldiya? These are only a few among hundreds of such priceless nuggets you will come across in the book titled “Journey of the Hyderabad City Police”, authored by Noopur Kumar and Anjani Kumar.

In an informal interaction with Anjani Kumar, the co-author of the book and Additional Director-General of Police, Law and Order, Telangana, Sakshi Post learnt that he got interested in the subject when he was Hyderabad's Additional Commissioner of Police some years ago. How did policing, in all its facets, evolve as the city grew over time, in terms of population and area? What methods did the Qutub Shahi kings and the rulers of the Asif Jahi dynasty use to maintain law and order? What do historical sources tell us? Anjani Kumar decided to delve into the past to seek answers for himself.

An officer with a nose for history and a mind for painstaking research, by happenstance Anjani met Noopur Kumar, a writer who teamed up with him as the co-author of the book. The sources of the book were rich and varied--libraries, state archives in Tarnaka, National Police Academy, Falaknuma Palace and Chowmohalla Palace, to cite only a few. Interaction with former police commissioners of the city, including Appa Rao, Suryanarayana Rao, M.V. Bhaskara Rao, M.V. Krishna Rao, Roddam Prabhakar and P. Ramulu, among others provided him with a deeper insight into the subject.

Journey of the Hyderabad City Police presents the history of city’s law enforcement agency in about 200 pages and is illustrated and complemented by a number of appealing pictures.

The book reveals a range of interesting facts--for instance, we learn that there are hardly any records pertaining to the Qutub Shahi era. The Asif Jahi period on the other hand, is well-documented. The book, a labour of love, reveals many interesting lesser-known or forgotten facts. Take the case of what we know today as the OU Women's College at Koti. Some of us are familiar with the fact that it was the Residency, a building which housed the British Resident in Hyderabad. How many of us know that it was once the Police headquarters, before the office was shifted to Purani Haveli?

The book is a veritable treasure-trove of information for people across all age groups in general and for the younger generation in particular. Be it the recruitment of Abyssinian guards into the force or tracing the activities of the law and order wing monitoring areas first through cycle patrolling and now, cyber patrolling, the book has a wealth of information on various dimensions of policing. It also sheds light on Hyderabad as a cradle of cosmopolitan culture--a glowing example of Ganga-Jumni tehzeeb.

Anjani Kumar pored over hundreds of old letters, firmans and sanats or certificates of the earlier times to piece together what emerges as a fascinating account of the growth and development of the city police force, as an institution. The book is a rich and condensed slice of the history of policing in the city, as it evolved over centuries.

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