Friday, 14 March 2008

BookReview:ht:KushwantSingh-malice column: 04 Jan'08 Singh-malice column

Hindustan Times
Thursday, January 04, 2008

A Policewalla’s story
Khushwant Singh

Memoirs of retired Generals and Civil Servants rarely make good reading. They are so full of their achievements that make their readers feel inadequate. What is permissible in a biography is not good in an autobiography. Maxwell Pereira’s The Other Side of Policing (Vitasta) is an exception. Though he made to the IPS, spent 34 years as a Police Officer in various parts of India and retired, loaded with medals for distinguished service, he does not boast about them. On the contrary, he makes fun of himself and others under whom he served and writes felicitous prose. One also tells us quite a lot about problems facing policemen in our country in which many are prone to indulging in lawlessness from time to time.

His account of the anti-Sikh violence of November 1984 following the assassination of Mrs Gandhi is revealing. He was perhaps the only police officer to open fire on a mob lynching unarmed Sikhs and burning their property while on its way to Gurdwara Sis Ganj in Chandni Chowk. When he narrated his exploit to his seniors he received a cold reception. He was never asked by any of the nine Commissions of Enquiry looking into the programme to tender evidence before them. However, he was honoured by Sikh organisations with Siropas —robes of honour.

Pereira had scant respect for most of his seniors. To him: “A boss is like a diaper always on your ass and usually full of shit.”

He was born in Salem (Tamilnadu), had his training in Phillaur (Punjab) and retired in Delhi. I give one example of his style of writing to prove his competence in wielding his pen.

“Though I had met Sikhs in Bangalore before, landing midst a sea of Sikhs in Punjab was understandably traumatic. To me, every Sikh looked just like another, and it was months before I learnt to distinguish between two, that too just by telling myself one was taller, the other shorter, or stockier and so on. Identifying by face features remaining my bete noire forever! Their colours fascinated me, so did their processions through the roads, led by the punj piyaras carrying banners and nishan sahib, with the blue and yellow attired nihangs in their humongous turbans and in full war finery doing their war dance with battle cries and sword fights. I never got tired of watching them. The Punjabis could not pronounce my name Pereira, Pareda, Pededa, Periyar or whatever — before settling down to plain and simple Pyara Singh!"

Book Review: Times of India-MangalorePlus: 14 Dec'07

Book Review: Times of India-MangalorePlus: 14 Dec'07

“I am planning a book on Mangalore…”
Maxwell Pereirkamath




Born on October 3, 1944 in Salem.

Mangalore roots

"I belong to the Bajpe Kuntala-Kambla Pereira-Kamath lineage.

I spent my 12 formative years in St Aloysius College where the Jesuit priests imbibed in me a sense of morality, thus laying a strong foundation for my career.

I graduated as Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Law degrees from Bangalore University.

Most memorable days in Mangalore:

Mangalore is my hometown, the place where I spent my childhood. I love the ambience of Mangalore, the heady cashew flavoured scent of sea breeze that nurtured my growth.

What prompted you to write a book:

I love writing and I have written on a variety of issues throughout my career.

My well-wishers, friends and publishers goaded me to pen down my experiences as a cop in a book. Some of the topics in the book were published as articles earlier and had to be re-written elaborately without bothering about the space constraint.

‘The Other side of Policing’ is about:

My first hand experience as a cop, with an effort to break the stereotype of policing which is usually equated with obsession for guns, crime, criminals and power.

I have tried to provide an insight into what is obscured behind the uniform and on what I have experienced from close quarters as a senior policeman.

The book gives a vivid picture on how policemen try to survive under media glare, intrusive politicians, the common people and their own seniors in the department.

It is a chronicle of events encapsulated in the form of a book.

It deals with various incidents which project men behind uniform as human beings who could succumb to the trials and tribulations of power.

The narration is packed with subtle humour and is sure to interest an avid reader.

My next book will be on Mangalore:

I am planning a book on Mangalore by the end of 2008.

I have done considerable research for the book,

and my own childhood in Mangalore will definitely stand me in good stead.

Book Review: HindustanTimes-PankajVohra: 09 Dec'07 you for you
Hindustan Times
Thursday, December 09, 2007
Non Fiction
With you, for you
Pankaj Vohra, Hindustan Times: December 09, 2007: First Published: 17:53 IST(10/12/2007)

Book: The Other Side of PolicingAuthor: Maxwell PereiraPublishing house: VitastaPrice: Rs 325Pages: 264

Of the many police officers I have known during my professional career as a journalist, Maxwell Pereira always stood out as someone with an eye for details. Like Kiran Bedi and Amod Kanth, he too was a high profile police officer, but one who had developed a distinct style of communicating with the people through the media.

His book is basically a compilation of his experiences as a trainee and then as a successful police officer. Pereira's story winds its way through some interesting incidents, including one featuring a top Congress politician in whose properties there had been a series of mysterious low intensity explosions soon after Rajiv Gandhi took over as Prime Minister. The police eventually cracked the case, and it turned out that the politician, who had aspired for prime ministership but had got sidelined, wanted to attract the then PM's attention.

Pereira records some of his achievements in the capital, including his pivotal role in making traffic flow in a clockwise direction, instead of both ways, at the C-Hexagon of India Gate, a move that eased traffic movement considerably. Then, while outlining his role in getting traffic signals installed at Vijay Chowk, he recounts the story of the dancing cop Inder Singh who would regulate traffic from a pedestal with such regal grace that even Indira Gandhi would acknowledge his contribution by waving out at him.
Periera's observations about the various police chiefs he served under are largely gracious. But he spares no mercy for a boss who’d functioned under the active patronage of the Sangh parivar and sometimes even attended RSS shakhas while serving the police force.

The book includes anecdotes from the time he trained at the Phillaur police academy and was first introduced to the Punjabi way of life.

There is nostalgia when he talks of the first police martyr from the Bhindranwale days, Avtar Singh Atwal, who trained along with him.

Coincidentally, the driver who came to be attached to Maxwell in Delhi for 23 years bore the same name. Periera moves on to his stints in the North-east and Sikkim. He also recounts his positive role during the 1984 anti-Sikh riots and mildly laments that while some of his colleagues got gallantry medals, he and his team were overlooked.

The book's foreword has been written by Ved Marwah, perhaps Delhi's most successful police commissioner, who can’t help but betray his fondness for Pereira. During the book launch, Marwah had jokingly remarked that whenever he would ask Pereira to do something, he would be quick to reply done sir, whether it was done or not. This well-written book has brought out several aspects of policing that few know about.
Online edition of India's National Newspaper

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Metro Plus Delhi
Published on Mondays, Thursdays & Saturdays

Beyond the obvious
Maxwell Pereira tells P. ANIMA about the human side of policing

(Photo: Anu Pushkarna)

No regrets: Maxwell Pereira, former Joint Commissioner of Police, in New Delhi

Maxwell Pereira – a man of action, dabbler in words, a storyteller. The former Joint Commissioner of Police, Delhi, served through the dicey times of the Emergency and the 1984 riots, and is now the author of “The Other Side of Policing. ”
About 35 years of decorated service later, Pereira is hardly in retirement mode. In the cosy confines of a well-furnished living room in Gurgaon, the sprightly Mangalorean reveals nuggets about the service, himself and the book.
“Unfortunately, a lot of police writing ends up on the shelves. I want my book to be read,” Pereira is lucid. “The Other Side of Policing,” published by Vitasta, as the title suggests, touches upon the lesser known facets of policemen’s lives. Jostling for space with accounts of riots and traffic management are also tales of orderly Ram Singh’s wisdom, Lala’s sooji halwa, Pereira’s tussle with the makki di roti and of rare holidays.
There are “reasons” and “no reasons”, says Pereira for the birth of the book. “I write for the pleasure of writing. There is no agenda.”
But he goes on to add, “If there is a reason, it is to bridge the gap between the people and the police. There is a side to policing which has lots of positives They are normal human beings who are part of the society, culture and nature.”
The police have got an unfair deal, he feels. It is a sentiment that runs through Pereira’s book. “Every society tends to make its police the whipping boys for all its ill,” he writes. The inability of the public to look at the police as people who want to lead a normal life and spend time with family, but are not allowed to do so as work comes in between, is underscored in the book.
“If there is an aberration it gets blown up. But otherwise they are taken for granted,” says the man who reiterates he has never been diplomatic.
If the clarion call has been for police reforms, Pereira dismisses it. “The police are reformed enough. It is high time the society reformed itself,” he is cryptic.
But try to pin him down on instances of excesses, especially the Bhagalpur incident where a police officer on a motorcycle dragged around a snatcher, Pereira is diplomatic in his answer.
“I firmly believe no one has a right to exercise violence on another being,” he says.
Emergency days
Quiz him on the challenge of carrying on with duties during the Emergency, Pereira says, “One should have a strong sense of the right. During the Emergency too I had to satisfy my conscience. In the end you have to sleep with the conscience. I don’t have a troubled conscience.”
On the fateful night of June 25, 1975, when India woke up to Emergency, Pereira and his colleagues were entrusted the task of arresting many national leaders. But even as he carried out orders, he stuck to his courteous behaviour. Pereira writes this is probably why “the Shah Commission looking into the Emergency excesses did not summon me for a single questioning or hearing”.
“If the Government and agencies have decided that somebody is a national threat, I will pick them up within the four walls of law with utmost courtesy and respect,” he says. But Pereira admits the Emergency broke his idealism and left a permanent scar.
The 84’ riots also saw Pereira in action. As the violence broke out, Pereira says the overriding thought in him was “how can anyone be killed when I am there.”
Yet at the end of a professional journey dotted with many milestones, Pereira declares proudly, “I have no regrets.”

4 Dec 2007, 0000 hrs IST , TNN


A cop party!
4 Dec 2007, 0000 hrs IST , TNN
Oscar Fernandes & Maxwell Pereira
(TOI Photo)

Retired top cop Maxwell Pereira was the toast of this Delhi do.
Who says cops don't have fun? His friends and well-wishers gathered to discuss humourous anecdotes and fond tales. Pereira couldn’t be happier as everyone had a good time. Among his friends there were Rini Khanna, Sunit Tandon, Tejeshwar Singh, ex-governor and ex-cop Ved Marwah and Shovana Narayan with husband Herbert Traxl.
Pereira speak: On Kiran Bedi’s retirement, Pereira said, "She is a dynamic person and maybe she feels she can contribute better this way."
When Oscar Fernandes made a late entry with wife Blossom, Pereira welcomed him with open arms and the two hugged like long lost friends.

A cop party!-Delhi-Parties-Entertainment-The Times of India
Retired top cop Maxwell Pereira was the toast of this Delhi do. Who says cops don't have fun? His friends and well-wishers gathered to discuss humourous ... - 52k - Cached - Similar pages

Sunday, 2 December 2007

Book launch photographs...

A peak at what happened at the book launch....
Can be viewed at
Perhaps some of you have been captured by the photographer in the images of the day....?
There are dozens more. Will upload when space and time permits...
Keep visiting, if not already there, who knows: you may find yourself too among the pictures soon...

The Book-launch: Tuesday, 27 Nov 2007

Dear Friends,
It was great to see many of you at Dublin, The Maurya, for the book launch last Tuesday, 27th November 2007.
"The Other Side of Policing" had a good start, and your presence at the book launch made it a great day for me... In fact many remarked it was one big party and celebration.
Many thanks to Rini, for compering so wonderfully, and to Tejeshwar and Sunit for reading the excerpts from the book so effectively. It was a great feeling to guffaw with the rest of you at my own text, when the punches came across out of your rendition so teasingly - enough for everyone present to explode with laughter! Thanks as well, to Giti for selecting the appropriate passages from the book for Tejeshwar and Sunit to read... But then as Mr Ved Marwah put it, the book is not all humour alone.... there is much more to it - the intrigues, the plots, the human interest, the history & nature, not to forget the serious contemporary issues on policing that one cannot cast aside...
And not the least, thank you all for making my publishers happy too, with your huge response that has made them smile whilst running all the way to the bank...
Now for your honest feedback. This blog has been created to hear from you... to get your reactions to my book. Your comments and criticism.... suggestions and brick bats if any.... as well as your questions/queries for me to answer... I am hoping you will post them all here on this web page.
Thank you once again for your continued support.