After 60 years, what distinguishes the first batch of IPS officers from those of today are the values they cherished
Forty IPS probationers from different parts of India reported to the National Police Academy in Mount Abu on October 5, 1953. It has been 60 years — and it is time to retrospect on what the service meant to us then and what we, octogenarians now, feel about it today.
Intelligence quotients of the new entrants are higher today. Attribute this to better nutrition and healthcare. The sheer knowledge possessed by today’s probationers is probably ten times what we could boast of. Attribute this to advanced technology, TV, computer and the internet. Remember that we were the cream of our universities. But since the scope for corporate jobs was limited, government service in senior positions beckoned.
In our batch of 40, the topper was Govind Rajan of Tamil Nadu. One of his three sons is today the governor of the Reserve Bank. Another has been chosen by Cyrus Mistry, chairman of Tata Sons, for his inner circle of three advisors.
Rajan would have topped the IAS merit list but he competed for the civil services at the age of 20 — considered old enough for the police but not for the IAS. Today’s aspirants are allowed to reappear and improve their rankings so as to slip into the IAS, but that privilege was denied to those like us who competed in the early 1950s. Many of today’s IAS officers have spent a year or more in the police before graduating to the senior service.
There were three other super-intelligent officers in our batch. All three, along with Rajan, were seconded to the intelligence agencies. Anand Kumar Verma became the director of RAW, and Hari Ananda Barari of the Intelligence Bureau. He later became governor of Haryana. Rajan himself ended up as chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee, a position that has been subsumed into the office of the NSA. Three of our batchmates resigned prematurely and joined private enterprises. Six died while in service. Of the rest, most rose to command their state forces or