“My father, constable Narayan Chauhan, passed away in 2015 due to a heart attack and I was only 14 years old then. My mother’s pension was not enough and I took up the job of being a cop to financially support my mother and my little sister,” said Deepak Chauhan, who is 16 years old now. Chauhan is a bal-police or boy-police with the Mumbai Police.
In 1971, S M Edwards, the then Commissioner of Police, Bombay, introduced the Boys’ Brigade now called the boy-police; wherein if a constable is deceased then her/his ward retains the father’s quarter and joins the police as a boy-police. Boy-police are supposed to assist the officers by taking care of petty jobs like distributing letters, taking care of files, maintaining registers and fetching water. The force aims to nurture one of its own by taking them into its fold.
For putting in 8-hours of work, Chauhan earns a monthly stipend of Rs 13,000 that helps him take care of his family. “I did not want to join boy-police initially. I had dreamt of becoming an engineer but with papa’s death, the only income supporting our family ceased and I had to step in and take this up,” recalls Chauhan. He works under Joint Commissioner of Police (Administration), Mumbai, and says that despite being crestfallen initially, he now has a lot of hope and inspiration. “The environment here is so conducive and everyone is very helpful and friendly. I get some spare time to study here in the office too,” shared Chauhan who’s in 11th grade and is pursuing Arts at Dr Ram Manohar Lohia Ratra Vidya Mandir and Junior College.
“Now that I think about it, it’s a good thing that I was compelled to take up Arts. I now plan on appearing for UPSC and MPSC exams,” said Chauhan. After attending the junior school from 6:30 pm-10 pm, everyday; Chauhan comes back home to catch up on general knowledge books and biographies. “Sundays are for playing kabaddi with friends,” added Chauhan who has been a boy-police for seven months now.
At a tender age of 14-18 years, when these children go through a tough time, this provision helps them stay in a safer environment, put their minds to work and remain occupied and gather some inspiration that goes a long way.
Paras Murukate, 16-year-old boy-police, lost his constable father Chandrakant Murukate a year back due to jaundice and has been a boy-police for 8 months now. “I assist Commissioner Saheb and it has been a great experience so far,” said Paras Murukate who just passed 10th grade with 63% marks. “Working as a boy-police, I have realised that I want to finish my 12th grade and become a constable. I have already learnt 50% of the work that I will have to do as a constable,” said Murukate.
For this 16-year-old, Mumbai Police Commissioner D D Padsalgikar is both a mentor and guide. “Commissioner Saheb is a great mentor and guides me well from time to time. He suggests what books I should refer to for MPSC exam,” said Murukate, who aspires to become a police sub-inspector one day. “I was 33 years old when my husband passed away and I asked my 14-year-old little son if he wanted to join the boy-police. He did not want to and I did not have the heart to force him and hence I produced a No Objection Certificate signed by my in-laws and got trained and joined the police force,” said 35-year-old constable Nisha Chauhan who took up the job in place of her son and is a constable now.