AS HE removed a book from the shelf, constable-cum-librarian Satish Kamble proudly said police officials found time from their routine work to bother him to look for a particular book.
With the presence of Amar Jawan Jyot, the first floor of the commissioner’s building in Crawford Market has a special library only for the use of policemen. IPS officer Arun Patnaik, who integrated the entire small books cluster into a library for police officials in 2011-12, added a new dimension to the life of several cops with love for books.
From Sherlock Holmes to history of western philosophy, the library has books from several genres such as law and order, management, economics, politics, international terrorism, photography, art and culture, spiritual, short stories, self-help and Marathi literature.
With almost 1,500 books in the library, officials get books issued for their families too. In a move to increase the number of books after a good response from the policemen, said an officer, the commissioner had asked top officials to donate books.
“The library has become lively with the books written by senior police officers acting as an inspiration for all the cops,” said an officer. Former DCP Suresh Khopde, former ACP Chandrakant Eknath Bankar, senior police inspector Venkat Patil are some of the officers who have written Marathi books that are among the favorites.
Joint Commissioner, Law and Order, Deven Bharti said, “As government officers, we tend to forget a lot of things, and this library helps the police in catching up with the world.” With a plan to expand the library and find a permanent place dedicated to it, Bharti said a few officers were good poets and a reading habit helped them hone their talent.
Dakshata, the monthly police magazine, has the highest readership and it even boasts of a waiting list. Covering entire Maharashtra, this magazine talks about issues from the Naxal belt of Gadchiroli to personal experience of senior officers. Most of the senior officials prefer reading books related to terrorism, trekking and criminal reports, while those from lower ranks mostly read books by V S Khandekar, especially Yayati and Swami Vivekananda. While books are available in Hindi, Marathi and English, there is a special demand for Marathi books, especially the ones written by P L Deshpande. Kamble said the encyclopedia on criminals and books on photography had a huge reader base among the cops.
The constable said there was a huge demand for MPSC books, alongside Marathi literature books, which indicated that despite striving hard throughout the day policemen managed to find an inspiration to study.
The service, which isn’t chargeable, has attracted a positive response. “I remember days when I get a call from the officials asking for a particular book despite a holiday,” added Kamble, who has been in the police for 18 years now.