Humour does what force can’t: Policemen show their fun and quirky side

Amidst lockdown, police officers across India have come up with cool ways to deter people from stepping out
Hindustan Times | By Shara Ashraf Prayag
UPDATED ON APR 04, 2020 07:06 PM IST

Laughter is the best medicine, even in the time of corona! In order to spread awareness about the pandemic, police officers are coming up with fun and novel ideas. Putting up a funky dance performance to demonstrate how to wash hands to fight corona virus, doing an aarti of those stepping out without a reason, singing parodies – police officers across India are exhibiting their cool, quirky side.

In Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh, police officers are doing the aarti of violators to stop them from stepping out without any purpose— they are putting tika on their foreheads, showering them with flowers and circulating an aarti plate with a dia around them! Lalita Mehar, the DSP we see in the viral video performing the aarti, says, “Why use lathis when aartis work better? The purpose was to make people realise how people are putting everyone’s life at risk. They were initially puzzled but they understood and pledged to stay safe.” The police officer performs these aartis across the city along with her colleague, SHO Mohammad Kalim Khan.

Why use lathis when aartis work better? Bilapur Police finds a creative way to stop people from stepping out
Why use lathis when aartis work better? Bilapur Police finds a creative way to stop people from stepping out

SP Bilaspur Prashant Agarwal says this is a trying phase, and amid all the gloom, he wanted his team to do something positive. “We thought we should do something light hearted to urge people to stay at home. We were like, sab kuch toh try kar liya, dara liya, dhamka liya, pyar se samjha liya, ab kya arti utaarein aapki...and we literally did it! We got just the right reaction. People were embarrassed, they accepted their mistake and realised the efforts we are putting in to fight the pandemic.” The videos are being shared and appreciated in other countries as well. “We are getting calls from across the world,” shares the SP.

Bilaspur Police has also penned a cool parody to make people aware about the precautions they must take to fight COVID-19. Officers go from one locality to another singing it soulfully, and people join in from their balconies.

DSP Abhinav Upadhyay got a call from veteran lyricist Santosh Anand who appreciated his performance
DSP Abhinav Upadhyay got a call from veteran lyricist Santosh Anand who appreciated his performance

Bilaspur DSP Abhinav Upadhyay, who you see singing melodiously in video, says that police officers were a bit stressed, as people were posting memes mocking the police, such as ‘police waale PUBG khel rahe hain’. “Our intent is the welfare of our people. We wanted to present a counter narrative, and tell people that it will be disastrous to step out. A parody seemed perfect,” he says.

While the police officer was listening to the timeless ‘Ek Pyar Ka Naghma Hai’ from Shor (1972), his wife, Shruti Upadhyay, suggested that they modify the song. “Within 20 minutes, we put it together. Mostly, she wrote the lines and I edited,” he shares.

The police officer was overwhelmed with emotions when he received a call from veteran lyricist Santosh Anand, the original writer of the song. “I could hardly believe when Anand ji himself called and appreciated the parody. It was a priceless moment,” he says.

Singer Daler Mehendi , who saw the videos on social media, says, “Huge respect for these officers who have taken this initiative in this critical time. It’s a great way to bring the nation and the entire human race together. Have never come across a policeman who can sing so beautifully!”

“The aarti video is the coolest that I have seen on social media. Much better than hitting anyone! What a cute, fun message, ki boss, stay at home, warna aapki bhi aarti utarenge,” says actor Sonu Sood.

Police officers in other states are also singing to urge people to stay at home. A video of a Pune police officer singing ‘Zindagi maut na ban jaye, sambhalo yaaro’ to make people aware of the crisis that we are facing is also being shared on social media. The Kerala police had also earlier released a video of officers dancing to demonstrate how to wash hands properly to fight coronavirus.

Police officers in Chennai wore outcoronavirus helmets, headgears that resemble the virus
Police officers in Chennai wore outcoronavirus helmets, headgears that resemble the virus

In Chennai, the police invented a quirky way to tell people that they can’t be taking COVID-19 lightly. Police officers made violators wear coronavirus helmet (a headgear with tentacles jutting out) that resembles the virus. The police officers also made people hold placards reading “Don’t come out and go near coronavirus.” Inspector Rajesh babu himself wore one of these headgears designed by artist B. Gowtham. The police officer hoped that people get scared of the deadly virus and do not step out without a valid reason.

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