Alumni Author: Police in Blunderland – Bibhuti Bhusan Dash, PGP 1984
Meet Mr. B.B. Dash: A Former Cop Turned Author. Mr. B.B. Dash, a former cop turned author, has released his book, “Police in Blunderland,” which offers a fresh perspective on policing in India. Inspired by his experience at IIMB and encouraged by positive feedback on his blog, Mr. Dash decided to humanize the image of police officers and showcase their challenges and virtues.
The book combines real-life incidents with humor, allowing readers to draw their own conclusions about societal issues. Transitioning from law enforcement to writing presented challenges, but Mr. Dash’s commitment and positive feedback fueled his motivation. “Police in Blunderland” reflects true experiences, with accuracy ensured through fact-checking.
The book aims to challenge misconceptions about the police force and spark dialogue. The response has been positive, with discussions and heartfelt reactions. Mr. Dash plans to release a sequel and a textbook on ethics based on his workshop experience.
For aspiring authors, Mr. Dash advises keeping records and appreciating the significance of hindsight. Join us in celebrating Mr. B.B. Dash’s journey as he unveils the world of policing and inspires readers with his insights.
As an ex-cop turned author, what inspired you to write “Police in Blunderland”? Can you tell us a little about the book and its central theme?
While at IIMB, I co-edited the student magazine, yearbook, etc. Through the years, I wrote a few pieces off and on for our IIMB batch e-group. Post-retirement, I tried out blogging incorporating a few of those pieces. I found that the Police matters were something of a novelty for people outside the fraternity. Also, many of my ex-colleagues wrote in expressing appreciation. Some of the IIMB alumni and my police colleagues encouraged me to publish. 40 of the blogs have been compiled into the book. Police in India doesn’t enjoy too good an image and is associated with brutality and opacity. The attempt is to portray the cop as a human being, with human foibles and virtues, too.
How did your background and experience as a police officer influence the writing of “Police in Blunderland”? Did any specific events or cases shape the narrative?
Most of the pieces are about Policing. However, the central point is finding a bit to laugh at in the grimmest of situations. There are a few semi-serious pieces about Police reforms and a few of the sensational cases I was associated with. The most sensational one was the Purulia arms-drop case when a large quantity of arms came down from the skies in the night in a sleepy village in West Bengal. One of the pieces is about escaping almost certain death during the post-Babri-demolition riots in Calcutta.
What message or insight do you hope readers will take away from “Police in Blunderland”? Are there any particular societal issues or aspects of the law enforcement system that you address in the book?
The articles are written as a somewhat detached observer of incidents and situations even while participating in them and are meant as a foreground for the reader’s own conclusions. They seek to make a few points but do not wish to pontificate and impose those points. Many of the articles portray some not-too-well-known aspects and incidents of Policing while the other articles are about life and society in general.
The idea is to observe and participate in life’s vicissitudes without being too serious all the time. It is easy to criticise people and professions but immensely difficult to put oneself in others’ shoes and even more difficult to do something about the situations and the “system.”
Can you describe the process of transitioning from a career in law enforcement to becoming an author? What challenges did you face along the way, and what motivated you to pursue writing?
I have always enjoyed writing but during my career in law enforcement, didn’t get enough time to pursue it. However, a cop’s life is never dull and almost every single day, he is either face-to-face with a life-or-death situation for someone or an ethical dilemma so the material available is pretty rich. The appreciation for the blogs helped immensely. Keeping a weekly schedule of blogging requires a bit of discipline though.
“Police in Blunderland” is a work of fiction. How did you balance incorporating real-life experiences and maintaining the creative storytelling elements? Were there any ethical considerations involved in fictionalizing aspects of law enforcement?
No, the book is not a work of fiction. Every single word is true and lived through. However, the events described are either a bit sensational or have lent themselves to a lighter take, at least in my own mind.
What research did you undertake while writing “Police in Blunderland” to ensure the accuracy and authenticity of the law enforcement-related aspects?
As a bureaucrat, one gets into the habit of always keeping extensive records. I cross-checked on the net to ensure the accuracy of dates and names.
In your opinion, what are some of the key misconceptions or stereotypes about the police force that you aimed to challenge or dispel through your book?
Again, challenging or dispelling anyone’s notion is too ambitious a task. However, I haven’t seen many cops writing about their world. So, this is an attempt to tell the world about our story from an insider’s point of view, warts and all. The only expectation is that the reader is exposed to the other side of it and maybe get curious enough to put himself in a cop’s shoes.
How has the response been to “Police in Blunderland” among both readers and your former colleagues in law enforcement? Have there been any notable reactions or discussions sparked by the book?
My blog dated May 13, 2023, has a selection of the comments on the blog and the book. Some of the ex-colleagues who have written in are celebrities and familiar faces on television. The most poignant reaction was from a young IIMB alumni who lost his wife (working in a reputed hospital) in an untimely fashion to a cardiac arrest. He wrote, “As I struggle to cope with this loss with my 8-year-old daughter, I seem to miss happiness in life. Your article, well-written as it is, brought back childhood memories and a very rare smile today. Wanted to say thanks.”
Are there any plans for future books or projects in a similar vein? What themes or topics would you be interested in exploring in your future writing?
I have been publishing a blog post every Saturday. Hopefully, some of the pieces will be compiled for a sequel. However, my immediate project is to publish a textbook of Ethics which I’ve just completed writing, based on interaction with MBA students in many institutions where I’ve been conducting Ethics workshops.
Lastly, what advice would you give to aspiring authors who are considering incorporating their personal experiences or professional backgrounds into their writing?
I’m too inexperienced an author to be dispensing advice. However, keeping a record or diary of sorts helps. Sometimes, very important things slip one’s memory. At other times, what appears insignificant at the moment assumes important or different dimensions in hindsight.
The book is available on all Amazon and leading e-commerce platforms.