IG Amit Lodha's second book is about life in the police force

All in a day’s work  Amit Lodha’s book throws light on the personal life of cops

All in a day’s work Amit Lodha’s book throws light on the personal life of cops

It is a truth universally acknowledged that the general public in India views police personnel with a mixture of disdain, fear and awe.Yet, policemen and women are like everyone else — people with hearts and homes, friends and families — a fact that clearly comes through in Life in the Uniform , (Penguin) by IPS officer Amit Lodha, serving as Inspector General in Gaya, Bihar.

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Recipient of the President’s Police Medal for Gallantry, President’s Police Medal for Meritorious Service, the Utkrisht Seva medal and more, Lodha who just turned 47, has been instrumental in the rescue of kidnapped persons and the arrest of several notorious gangsters, during the course of his career.

“I know the police are often vilified, but for every black sheep, there are so many people who are wonderful or willing to lay down their lives. I chose not to write about sensational or interesting cases, but rather focussed on the life of a policeman, from a perspective which the common man could understand,” says Lodha, speaking over phone from Gaya in Bihar, where he is currently posted.

With a no-holds-barred attitude and large doses of humour, he candidly describes, in the book, his failures, successes, misgivings and lessons learnt. From a very relatable sense of purposelessness during his student days and novel time at the academy, to learning on the job and being on call 24/7, Lodha tells it as it is.

“The reality is that nobody likes a bad posting, but once you get there, you do justice to your job. With maturity I have come to realise that these things are ephemeral; they are part and parcel of the job. You get good postings, you get bad postings,” says Lodha who was posted to Bihar at the start of his career.

While his first book, Bihar Diaries chronicles his experiences there, Life in the Uniform centres around life lessons. “These are important to learn irrespective of your career choice — how to interact with your boss, how to keep your cool and a lot of other things — which I did not realise at the time. It was not by design, but purely by chance that these things came out in this book.”

Perhaps one takeaway from the book is how people are fundamentally the same. In more than one difficult situation, whether dealing with an unruly mob or a corrupt character, a hardened criminal or a celebrated cricketer, Lodha’s attempts to connect with people on a one-on-one basis have held him in good stead.

Despite a conscious choice not to glorify crimes, the layman gets a peek of what Lodha and his team deal with on a daily basis. “There was a time when Bihar was the kidnapping capital of the country, where anyone from doctors and businessmen to shopkeepers and rickshaw drivers were whisked away.”

“No matter how horrific a crime, once it is committed, you investigate it and bring the perpetrators to justice. But when someone is kidnapped, it is a stressful situation where you need to work very systematically and diligently use your resources. You need to trust your instincts, and of course, you need to be very, very lucky,” he says about walking the tightrope between constant hope and despair in such cases.

He has also documented his run-ins with the press and rues the media’s tendency to highlight the sensational and conveniently disregard the seemingly mundane, though the police force plays a large part in ensuring there is nothing ‘interesting to report’.

“Results come with experience and the right intentions. This Holi, my team hardly slept for three days. They worked tirelessly to ensure that not a single incident happened that could flare into a major issue. I told them, ‘This is the job you have chosen and you have to be sincere about it, do your best. Once a festival is over without incident, then that itself is your celebration’.”

Law and Order personnel and other first responders rarely get a chance to celebrate special occasions, and over time their families come to terms with it. But even simple pleasures such as an uninterrupted meal or a full night’s sleep are part of their larger sacrifice. Lodha says, “It doesn’t take a toll on you if you look at it as your job. This is my job, this is what I’ve chosen. It is not as if somebody forced me to join the police.”

“The reason I was asked to write again was because the first book was loved by people and is still very popular,” he says, hinting that a third one might be in the offing and adding that director Neeraj Pandey is currently making a web series based on both his books.

Life in the Uniform is available in bookstores and online

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Printable version | May 19, 2022 7:16:15 pm |