Q&A with HT Sangliana

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Elected as MP for Bangalore North in 2004. After completing his BA in Economics, he spent 36 years in the Indian Police and retired as Director General of Police. Age: 66 years; Assets: Rs. 2.55 Crores; Criminal Record: None.

Q. What are the top priorities of your constituency?

Number one priority will be the development of my constituency in regards to amenities and like roads water connection, electricity supply, health care and the education in primary and middle level where quality education will be encouraged and steps taken to see that the standard of every class is good enough so that in the long run there will be citizens who would have quality in their productivity in their existence whatever might be their placements.
And the 2nd priority will be that of doing social service in the area of improving the living condition of widows and orphans and physically challenged people. The number two will be in connection with that aspect of the second priority – improvement of security in the city. As a farmer cop I have certain ideas as to what security is required and how we can enforce. So in that connection, involvement of the people, the citizens, in my constituency in matters like forming “hello neighbor” groups which I did as a police commissioner here in the city at which time what I did was in every locality we get the adults and involve them in consciousness of need of the society in security matters.

Q. How would raise these issues in parliament?

Well, in parliament, we have policy debates in that certain areas, say, economical activities, industrial activities, and educational activities, healthcare and so on will be discussed. Now, in parliament there are many issues where in I can participate so that that particular subject like, let us say, urban development and the budget to be sanctioned for that or during budget debates I can highlight the problems that would be found in my constituency in regards to urban development. So specific instances where in more allotment of funds will be required can be certainly brought to the notice of the concerned ministers at the time of debate. And in the process I have to see that the allotment of funds for that particular subject for my state is adequate so that we can take a share from the amount allotted to the states for improving my constituency area where I will see that need. So That way, in every aspect of debate where in various subjects and various funding are required. I think that there is going to be plenty of facility to participate and also bring the need of the nation as such because in certain areas need may be less and in certain areas need may be more. So that kind of information given to the government in power will certainly help in finding the right solution to every problem.

Q. From your perspective which are the most important issues facing the nation that you intended to raise in parliament?

What is bothering me most today is the security situation of our country. We have been having the security problem for years. It is mainly because of the lack of interest or because of the casual attitude on the part of the law enforcement officials to do their job properly. Being in the police for the past 36 long years, I have a feeling, strong feeling,  which is also well founded, let me say, because I myself have tested my principles and my ideas that is in short if every law enforcement official involves himself fully considering that position as a real occupation and a real profession therefore making himself 24 hours available to the need of the society in terms of providing them security, safety and in terms of implementing the law as strict as possible and being available and accessible 24 hours to people who will need security, who will need police advice, who will need any assistance or advice so as to improve their security environment or security situation be it individuals or particular group of people or particular community etc. So this non-availability or non- accessibility, to police or law enforcement officers had been the main culprit which had prevented people from coming and seeing them and which had made a big gap between that  citizens and the law enforcement officers. Well, in parliament in fact  we had debates in the past at where I participated also where we talk about security in general, more so internal security, I said internal security is today the biggest issue in almost every nation. And I said of these two enemies inner and outer kind of elements those inside enemies like our own people who know where are the vital installations and whether the type of security provided there etc. And at the same time we have external enemies who come in abroad like in Bombay. So I said, internal enemies are more than – than outside enemies because as I said they know all the vital installation etc they have safe shelters, they have safe homes for they can hide and operate and so I said we have to be very strict in implementation of the law wherein I said the existing law or laws in our country regarding providing security to the citizens is enough. It is only in the area of implementation that we have been failing repeatedly. Not only in security matters, in every issue call it industry, call it education, call it agriculture, call it health care, anything, you name it. We are still in the process of completing our journey to a full stop where in we have completed every project satisfactorily wherever could put a full stop. But in every aspect of our governmental activities and the developmental activities, we have only question marks. Everywhere I see only question marks. I don’t see full stop anywhere or full stops are not visible anywhere as I said, name any department and in any problem, that’s the case. For example, in Japan I have seen before, if they have a project for building up the road communication express highway, super express highway and so on whatever they have, they have completed such projects. Not only completed, but they completed much before the target date, that too with quality. Quality is again the victim in this country where our officials our people concerned with construction works for example, are not bothered about the quality and the speed at which they work. They delay things and in the mean time there have been increase in price and re-estimation of expenditure etc will again further delay the completion of such projects. And so that way it is really very sad that no minister, no government official will be serious enough in enforcing quality and speed in public works which I want to see that in the coming parliament sessions I should take it up seriously.

Q. What is the most important contribution you have made to public life?

In fact, I was not happy to be in IPS, in the Indian Police Service, when I was offered. My desire was to be rather in Foreign Service because I thought by being in Foreign Service I would be able to see countries and make friends all over the world but that didn’t happen. So when I was given the Indian police service, I took it with, what should I say, a kind of feeling that well, I will take it as a stepping stone while in IPS I’ll write again for foreign services, which I did. I was called to the UPSC up to interview, personal interview, but since I was busy with my training I could not get more than I got in the previous exam so again I was not given IPS I’m sorry IFS. But one day I said to myself well what ever it is probably I need to accept this offer. However I’ll appear before god and consult with him and asking for help so that I will be successful in my profession. So one day I went to the church and stood in front of the pulpit, I don’t know if you know the pulpit and I stood in front of the pulpit in my full uniform as IPS trainee and then I said to god, god I come here give you a my humble salute. So I gave him the best salute I could execute as a trainee, 6 months trainee IPS officer. I said, God, I’m here in police profession which I never liked. However, if you want me to be here I will be there provided you would be with me wherever I go where ever I will be posted so that I will be able to notify your name and I will be able to be recognized as a good police officer and people will see that I’m welcome etc. So my short prayer was answered. During my 36 years long profession in which I, as I said this in the beginning, I married this profession, police profession, really. And from day one I took all my responsibilities seriously and always your red letter days on calendar I never utilized them. I will work on Sundays or work on red letter days. I never had time even to spend with my children, my wife. My wife used to rightfully complain saying that I never took them to pictures or picnic spots or parks and all that. So now, I… my dedication to the people in that every time when I would be transferred to the new district – in fact I did as many as 6 districts in Karnataka state – as superintendent of police where if people forgive me if I brag about myself a little bit I was considered to be a trouble shooter. I cannot name all of them, but wherever I work I work dedicatedly that’s why the people of Karnataka knew me as police officer and they have made cheerful and peace of fames. My dedication was so much that every time I took up a new district  the first statement I made to the public to the press was I will be always available and there will be no meal time, no sleeping time,  no pooja time for my accessibility or availability. Everybody, anyone in need of police help can come and see me or call me up, anytime during 24 hours. So saying I used to put my phone next to my pillow which I still do now also at this age when I have come to 66.  I still say that I’m available 24 hours for people who need me. So, that is what I am going to do.

Q. Could you share with us your most significant failure to date? What have you have learned from the experience?

I think I don’t have any significant failure as such. God has been so kind to me because he answered my short prayer which I mentioned earlier so well, till today, I don’t think I had any failure worth naming except that of my attempt to be in foreign service. But even if I were there I don’t think I would have done as good as I have done in police service. So I realized that that failure to get in to the Foreign Service had been a significant failure. As I turn my heart and soul to police service later on and that’s how people knew me and that’s how I have been given this kind of sympathy, understanding and help by the people so much so that they have sent me already to parliament once. So, they have not forgotten my humble sacrifice and all that I did for them and so till today though I’m penniless. This morning in the newspaper in Deccan Herald it was highlighted that the car I own is not second hand but third hand that too 1000 Maruti. But I like it. So I still having. My wife has been suggesting to change my car. I said that I like this one because I like also the registration number which starts from M-3 then A-2345. So that’s why I don’t want to part with my little car.

Q. How will you be continuously available and accessible to the residents of your constituency?

Well, many MPs make Delhi, Delhi where the parliament is located, as their headquarters.  They don’t go and visit their constituencies. They don’t interact with people; they don’t make themselves available even to recommend them for better treatment in hospital or admission in schools, colleges and other educational institutions even for attending to weddings and funerals of the people in their constituencies. But, in the last session 14th loksabha I spent most of my time in my constituency, coming down here every Saturday or Friday, flying back on Mondays. so to that extent my availability will be there and I have be in a position to know what my constituency  people want and what kind of expectations they have from me. and also I will keep them informed always when I will be coming and when I will be available and the local area developments issues, like many people have water problem, electricity problem etc, I have the habit of contacting the concerned engineers or highest officials responsible for such kind of improvement so I have no difficulty in calling up anybody even if I have not seen them, met them. I will call them and share with them the problem and I have never had any difficulty in that for having been in the government service before. I have that freedom of feeling and freedom of access is just, you know, to government officials, who were all my juniors in the past and who are still there.

Q. Corruption and terrorism are major concern, as an MP, what do you think you can do? And what, especially do you plan to do?

I am glad that you asked me this question. Corruption was the first enemy I had when I entered this service. I have seen people even right constabulary level people indulging in corruption. As assistant SP in the districts what I used to do was whenever I heard corruption been indulging to by any one of my subordinates either constables, head constables, sub inspectors, inspectors, I would call them to my office, close all the doors and windows and used to ask them if that information I got was correct. Every one without any exception admitted that what I had heard about them corruption was right. Sorry to say that, of course. It was what had happened 40 years ago. Even if they tried to prosecute me nothing much to be done. I used to close the door and windows and I used to beat them up. Yes, I used to tell them, look, this is what you have been doing, you stop it. You are paid, you are meant to serve people. and ultimately they would say, I’m sorry sir, forgive me. I said ok I will forgive you this time. Never do it again. I will not punish you or not spoil your career or your service record because of this; provided you will stop it and you’ll never do it again. They would always promise me that they would never do it again. So I would say, I’m not going to take serious action this time against you. I could have dismissed you etc. but I will not do because of your wife, because of your children. Then  would say thank you sir. These people whom I had roughed up, never complained against me – rather they loved me and they knew that I care for them, I want dept to be ok. So corruption was the the first thing I fought when I entered in to the service. Corruption however hard you fought, I found could never be really eliminated completely. You can only reduce it or minimize it. but that too if all of us at the supervisory level are not of the same kind of attitude or not equally interested in suppressing corruption in any department in any activity of life or business of life is going to remain always.  Therefore today I consider corruption is the biggest disease we have in this country, we suffering in this country. It’s like a big cancer and I don’t know how many of us are willing to say I will continue to fight against corruption, I will oppose corruption, and corrupt people and I will take every possible action against corrupt people or corrupt officials or whatever. At the same time it is not correct to blame 100% the officials or politicians who indulge corruption. We have to also address the public on this issue. If every member of the public says that I will not indulge in corruption, anybody whom I found to be corrupt I will report about him to concerned authorities etc. so unless there is mass movement to fight against corruption in this county, I don’t think it’s possible. Even in this election, I know people have been telling me that corruption is going on everywhere. People are throwing money like water. Candidates are indulging in all these practices visibly even invisibly, or outwardly or cowardly. But there is no mechanism to stop it or to confront this corrupt people. In my constituency, central constituency, my opponents for example are stinkingly rich and they spray money in the slum areas and where ever they thought they could fool the people.

Q. How will you ensure that money meant for development projects are not misused?

Well, my idea is little… may be too spiritual or something. I used to think that all of us who would be elected for parliament and who would be given responsibilities, if we put our hands on scripture of our respective religions like for example I’m a Christian, putting my hand on the bible at the time of taking oath of allegiance to the constitution of India. If we are required or sought to take oath saying that I and my family will not indulge in any corrupt practice. We will fight against corruption and I promise this in the name of god who should take action against me if I am corrupt or I am found to be corrupt or if my relatives are found to be corrupt. I have that desire to do that and am willing to do that . so if all of us who consider ourselves to be worthy of  taking up public issues as their representatives etc, etc. if we do this kind of open taking of oath in front of the TV camera, in front of god, I think things would improve. We need to go to this extent though I may sound to be too  extreme, but I mean it, I mean business. So how many politicians are willing to do this? I’m willing for example. Any other takers of the suggestion?  I wish there are. So if we commit ourselves morally, spiritually, ethically to doing what is right only, not doing what is wrong, I think we have a future. If we are not willing to go to this extent this county’s future is very bleak. And I’m afraid we will continue to fool the people, we will continue to frustrate them at the same time frustrating ourselves, those of who are in small in number right thinking people. So in matters related to corruption I have been saying that if the situation is like a muddy ocean and as an individual if even if I have to drop in the muddy ocean as a single drop of clear water hoping that the point where I’ll be landing in the muddy ocean would be slightly diluted for a fraction of a second I’ll still drop in to that muddy ocean and see what is my effect. That’s what I’m today. I’m talking like this, challenging corruption and corrupt people, willing to take them front on but having no opportunity to do that having no opportunity to show on the constitution of India on the scripture that has taught me to live the right life, to hate corruption, and to know what is temporal and what is theoretical or what is Devine. Then, I don’t see how far I can go.

Q. What would you do for current unemployment issues for the youth of the country and what is you stand on the issue of moral policing?

Moral policing, self appointed moral police, these are all ridiculous. As if they are trying to pull us back to the past century. Let bad thought not be there in their mind or minds of people who are heading towards the proper utilisation of the 21st century. If we start looking back and try to do a kind of moral policing on without any authority, I think it is creating more of confusion.

Q. Would you talk about unemployment in the current situation?

Really unemployment is a very big issue and I feel the government had not taken it seriously enough. So I do have my ideas on improving this unemployment situation .first of all, as is said in the beginning standard of education needs lot of improvement. Because today university products are not having expert quality kind of level, efficiency in their productivity, in their understanding of various issues. So we have to first of all improve the quality of our education. No 2 is jobs can be created in private companies, in corporates or even in government wherein meaningful focus can be targeted for every individual to be productive and to be concerned and full involved in their job. Recently I went to USA. I was lucky to have been invited to attend Obama’s breakfast on 5th of February. now that time I read in American daily, that America is looking for willing young people from all over the world to be enlisted in the defense forces. and for that the means I can announce that those boys and girls would like to go to America on student visa and who are fit to be enlisted in defense forces will be most welcome. And subsequent to their employment there they will be entitled to be issued with the green card and also if they be willing to stay permanently in USA they would be helped. So these kinds of information I have shared with some people here and there particularly in the North-East. Our youths are so eager to go and they have contacted me and asked me as to what they could do. I am in touch with the American consulates these days to find out how this opportunity could be utilized by our people or young people from India. This kind of thing, looking for openings looking for opportunities abroad also is also important. Now we have so many nurses and technicians or  even engineers and doctors working in foreign countries today but they have got there only on their own effort. But government had not taken up all these issues so as make up employment opportunities available to our youths in this country. I feel that we have to blame the government in the present situation also.

Q. What is your message to the people of your constituency?

Come on, help me to help you, so that all your problems will be addressed and will be identified and addressed and for that with your cooperation every developmental work for every step that I would like take to improve your living condition etc internal development, security and even helping the poor, helping the marginalized people will be possible. so take me as your MP who loves you.

Q. As a police commissioner, the stand that you have taken against dance bars and closing time of pubs has only intensified. Do you think that pre-occupations of the police divert resources from more urgent crime and security matters?

In fact, in my time as district superitendent of police or as city commissioner or special commissioner, I never blindly or sort of arrogantly closed down any bars or any clubs or any discotheques.   I used to do it in consultation with the business people in the concerned activities like hoteliers, bar owners etc and I used to arrive at kind of a consensus where in they would request me – sir, from10:30 allow as to do it till 11.  and I would see no big reason as to why I should not say yes, because I know that many intellectuals, many CEOs etc are always busy till late hours till 10 o clock etc. so the time they could come and relax and just meet friends, could probably be up to 11 o clock. Another half an hour or one hour. So I would say what a difference it would make by.

It has worked in the past but these.. There are some questionable activities in questionable areas where in the name of some business something people will indulge in immoral activities etc, these are such practices. We can always check and control such activities if we do it in a systematic manner and with the co-operation of the concerned people.
I don’t think it is that much of a danger we can certainly go along this kind of social activities like drinking in the pop sense-so doesn’t matter. Let the people go and dance happily so that it would improve their health. But if they indulge in naked kind of show, kind of questionable activities certainly even these elders in the society will not allow that.

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