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Nautical nuances

india Updated: Aug 07, 2011 23:06 IST
Hindustan Times
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When it comes to sophisticated surveillance techniques, we are second to none. Now the more picky among you may dispute this and ask why then was not one but two ships allowed to drift to the Mumbai coast recently, especially in the light of the previous experience during the 26/11 attacks. This is unwarranted. No sooner than some pesky fishermen alerted the Mumbai police, they sprang into action. Instead of wasting time fiddling around with electronic surveillance equipment or alerting the coast guard, the dear lads took matters into their own hands. They dashed down to the beach and scanned the horizon and came to the conclusion that no ship, or even a dinghy, was approaching. This is called native wisdom. In the old days, you did not find people running around with state-of-the-art scanners. No, they relied on the sun, moon and stars to tell the direction which their ships would take.

The Mumbai Police, no doubt inspired by our glorious maritime traditions, scanned the horizon. How were they to know that the ships would sneak up later? We always fall back on human intelligence and this is where we score. Take, for example, how our police deal with a crime scene. None of that cordoning off and handling everything with kid gloves. We rush right in, pick up the evidence with our bare hands, rummage around the area and then arrive at a conclusion that a foreign hand carried out the crime in most cases. How is that for quick and efficient work? As for sifting through evidence, this is done by the nifty method of tossing it out of the window and relying on our powers of deduction. As for nailing the accused, the route to this is circumvented by a few well-administered slaps to the nearest suspect who then sings like a canary.

The point we are making is that the Mumbai Police will get to the bottom, in this case the sea bottom, of this matter. They will not get their feet wet but will observe matters from a distance. And don't be surprised if the local collaborators are in the clink shortly. That after all is their motto, shape up or ship out.

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