Dove in Place of Cannon's

The entrance gate of the SRPF camp had an overhead arch with two massive cannons placed on either side of the arch.  Those huge cannons were there to create a feeling of awe in the mind of a person entering the campus.  Posters of machine-guns, pistols, rifles were put up on either side of the road.  Targets for firing, including human torso shaped targets were displayed on the flanks of the road.  Jawans in battle gear could be seen everywhere.  Everything looked like an army regiment.  A third party observer would get the impression that here was a unit raised to suppress agitation, strike terror and kill people.  The mind of the SRPF jawan too was conditioned for striking terror, killing people and using brutal force for suppression.  This appeared to be his sole job. 

The fact that SRPF is meant to assist the local police and create sense of security in the population was completely lost.  It was never impressed upon the jawans either.  The cannons at the gate were symbols of cruelty & suppression.

I had these cannons removed and installed a big brass dove - the universal symbol of peace - instead.  The brass came from the spent cartridges collected from the firing range.  The posters of rifles & pistols were replaced by colorful paintings of birds copied from Salim Ali’s book “Birds of India”.  The entire job was done in-house.  All the paintings were done by the SRPF jawans themselves.  They did a marvelous and professional job.  The entire campus was given a facelift.  The Shreshthata Prakalp brought out the latent talent in the jawans. 

Beautiful greenery, humming birds, a beautiful lake with rowing boats, fishes & ducks - the SRPF camp is no longer a drab, dreaded place.  It is a picnic spot and a tourist attraction of the city.  The most amazing part is that all this was not an extra curricular activity or just another fancy welfare activity.  It was a very serious experiment in Human Resource Development.  The face-lift of the campus is but an outward indication of the change in the SRPF jawan.  The Jawan who deserted his officers, the jawan who committed excesses on the poor & the weak, is now the creator of this Eden’s garden.  He is now a responsible and sensitive person.  Trigger-happy fingers are now creating beautiful works of art, yielding the painting brush with equal proficiency.