Police Inspector Subash Dagadkhair has earned 117 medals during a career spanning three decades. This, however, is the least of the reasons why this Mumbai policeman stands apart from fellow officers in khaki. In addition to wielding the baton of law and order, Inspector Dagadkhair is adept at handling the magician’s wand. Fondly christened ‘Jadugar Police’, Dagadkhair has grasped over 3,000 magic tricks, a feat he mastered with a passion nurtured since childhood.
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“When I was diagnosed with asthma, the doctor advised me to take up a hobby as a remedial measure. I chose to take up magic because it would not only keep me occupied, but would also keep people entertained,” said Dagadkhair, explaining the sleight of fate. The cop honed his skills at the Society of Indian Magicians in Mumbai. The Commerce graduate hails from Maharashtra’s Ahmednagar district and was born in a farmer’s family.
His unique position as the only magician in the police force has brought a host of accolades along his way. “I have had the chance to perform before seven Presidents of India and eight Chief Ministers,” he said with a hint of pride. He recalls meeting former US President Barack Obama during the latter’s visit to India in 2015. Obama was so impressed with Dagadkhair’s magic tricks that he invited the inspector to perform in the US. Dagadkhair has been to 35 countries in his capacity as a magician.
Last year, Dagadkhair was awarded the Merlin Award by the US-based International Magicians Society, a recognition regarded on par with the Oscar in the world of magic. “I expressed my inability to travel to the US to receive the award. So the Chairman came all the way to Mumbai for the purpose. And I was handed the memento by the Commissioner of Police,” said Dagadkhair. His knowledge of the world of illusions has now fetched him a commendation by the Limca Book of Records. He will be formally felicitated at a function slated to be held in Mumbai.
Despite all the appreciation he has received as a magician, Dagadkhair prefers to perceive it only as a hobby. He is particularly vocal while discussing his policing career which began in 1982 with the post of a constable. Recalling his participation in counter-terrorism operations during the 26/11 terror attacks, he said, “I accompanied the National Security Guard commandos during their aerial recce over the Nariman House as I am familiar with the topography of the area. On day 1 of the operations, I was with them as a guide on the Chetak-494 and aboard the M-17 the next day.” He counts an insignia from former DGP TK Choudhary as one of the most fulfilling achievements of his career, as the honour is bestowed only on a handful in the police force.
His dual roles have merged on one occasion in 1992, when he was part of an operation which uncovered a diamond heist worth Rs 17 lakh, where the police ventured out in disguise to nab the culprits. Does he share his magic tricks with anyone who asks? “No, I have only taught some magic to the boys in my department. Even my three kids can showcase a technique or two,” he says. With three years left before he retires from service, Dagadkhair plans to devote much more time to magic shows during the post-retirement phase.