Kochi: Subhayatra - the traffic carnival by the police, could not have got off to a better start.
For a beginning, it set the Marine Drive on a festive mood. Crowds started flowing in from morning.
This time, however, those in uniform and otherwise were in no tension. It was their day out together.
To add to the camaraderie, there was a parade of police uniforms. Interestingly, all these 45-odd uniforms belonged to the personal collection of Manoj Abraham, City Police Commissioner.
"Half of it, I had collected. The rest, I recreated out of available photographs. There are 45 uniforms, three of which could not be displayed here," he said. This was for the first time the collection was paraded before the public. It was earlier displayed at the Kerala Police Duty Meet of 2006 in Thiruvananthapuram.
It started with the uniform of police personnel in the erstwhile Travancore State. The parade was not just a spectacle; it had a brief commentary on its historical evolution.
Those from the pre-Independence era were a combination of uniforms of various types of Royal Police Bodyguards, whose main duty was personal security of the Royalty, and the Travancore Police in its traditional uniform.
Then there were Women Police in the Travancore State Uniform. The women's wing was formed in 1939, the first State to form one. The uniform was khaki with shoes and long socks and a red-border topi.
Women police personnel that followed displayed white and border saree, similar to the uniform of female wardens in jails and which is the primary working uniform for the WPC when attending courts or delivering summons; the WPC in the old uniform, when the first women police station was started in Kozhikode in 1973; the Khaki saree; the present uniform and WPC in ceremonial uniform.
Representing the constabulary, there were uniforms of constables and head constables from the Seventies men marching out of period films in starched cottons and shoes.
Then there were officers. As sub-inspectors were before the Seventies, with a pith hat and cross belt. There were ceremonial uniforms for officers to the present uniform of the sub-inspector.
The last segment of the parade was different uniforms used at present. From the fatigue uniform for recruits, which is the first uniform given to the policemen when they enter service, to traffic and tourism police uniforms, riot gear and uniform worn by those in the force during sports festivals, to the colourful band - both pipe and brass band.
On the lighter side, there was uniform of the Police CID, as seen in films, with their knee-long khaki overcoats and hats. But the team that won a good round of applause from the audience, especially the children, was members of Police Dog Squad in uniform.