'Bandobast' after duty: Cops at this police station in Pune unwind with music

Jan 15, 2023 08:35 AM IST

After a hard day’s work, staff members relax in a dedicated music room equipped with a karaoke system, speakers, sound mixers, the works, singing hit yesteryear songs of Lata Mangeshkar, Kishore Kumar, Mohammad Rafi and others.

Inside a police station, criminals are supposed to 'sing’ or confess to their crimes, but at Pune’s Lashkar Police Station it is the cops who are doing the singing –- as a way of destressing. The police station, located in Pune city’s Cantonment area, is perhaps the first in Maharashtra to have a dedicated `music room’ equipped with a karaoke system, speakers, sound mixers, the works.

Lashkar police station in Pune.
Lashkar police station in Pune.

After a hard day’s work, staff members relax in this room, singing hit yesteryear songs of Lata Mangeshkar, Kishore Kumar, Mohammad Rafi and others.

"After the COVID-19 pandemic abated, to destress our staff, we conducted a musical therapy session with the help of Dr Santosh Borade, a music therapist. He encouraged the staff to sing or croon whenever time allows, and underlined that music has a healing effect and removes stress," said senior inspector Ashok Kadam.

On Dr Borade’s suggestion, they have a small speaker and mic at the police station.

"Since our police station is always under the pressure of bandobast duty and has the responsibility to maintain law and order, the staff needed such a mode of relaxation,” said Kadam.

Once they got a mic and speaker, the singing bug bit many of the police station personnel. The officials then thought they should procure some high-end equipment such as a karaoke system, mixers and singing mics. A local gurdwara helped them get the equipment.

"Today, we have around 15 police personnel including police officials, constables and even a peon who sing on a regular basis in the music room,” said Kadam.

When they learnt about the initiative, senior officials including the police commissioner and joint police commissioner gave the police station staff encouragement. Sub-inspector Vinayak Gujar always loved singing, but the hobby took a backseat because of the job. Now he exercises his musical chops every day after duty hours.

"Some fifteen of us gather in the music room after 7 pm and sing,” he said. Sometimes even local music enthusiasts join them for a jam session, Gujar said. “They have started thinking of us as artists and not cops," he quipped.

Police head constable Rahisha Shaikh makes it a point to sing for some time after finishing the day’s work.

"Believe me, it is so relaxing and rejuvenating," she said.

The evening musical sessions, according to inspector Kadam, have had another positive effect besides acting as a stressbuster: the bonding between staff members has increased. It is the time when officials and personnel come together and sing together. The work output too has increased and the staff does not crib if they are assigned any extra official work, he said.

"The important outcome of the initiative is that the personnel who generally do not share their personal problems have now started opening up with senior officials and even started giving inputs in investigations," Kadam added.

What `genre’ the cops prefer? He said they mostly sing old, ever-green melodies of Lata Mangeshkar, Kishore Kumar, Rafi, Suresh Wadkar and others.

"We have around 15 staff members who sing regularly and they have mastered more than ten songs each. They can now perform at any stage," he said proudly.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.
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