Title: Murder in the Bylanes: Life and Death in a Divided City
Authors: Aloke Lal and Maanas Lal
Price: Rs. 395
Represented By: The Book Bakers
Publisher: Bloomsbury India
Link For Purchase: Murder in the Bylanes: Life and Death in a Divided City
This book is an excellent account by an IPS officer and his son about his days in uniform. The book begins with some very interesting mythology about how the river Ganga descends on the Earth from the dreadlocks of Lord Shiva and forms the rich Indo Gangetic plain. A bit of History about the city of Kanpur is also provided in order to make the reader familiar with the context in which a young Aloke Lal was appointed the DIG of Kanpur. The book takes us into the difficulties a policeman has to face while trying to establish law and order in a communally divided city. Kanpur those days was a riot-torn city owing to the Babri-Masjid demolition.
Aloke Lal tells us about how he had to work in order to maintain law and order during elections. I loved the way chapters are interspersed with narratives of History. I could identify with his anguish at the interference of politicians in what was purely police business. I could also understand how difficult it is to be a cop in our country. I got a good grasp of how the police work on crimes. The authors tell us about how policemen and women have to risk their lives every day when they patrol areas dominated by criminal gangs. They tell us about the murder of a politician and how at a time it was being successfully investigated by the SIT, the case gets transferred to the Crime Branch of the CID. There are times when facts get buried. All this and other copious details and fluent narration make this book unputdownable.
Another thing that needs to be mentioned is that the authors have been very candid in their narration. I realized what pressure the police have to face from their higher-ups and how diplomatic they have to be in order to bring people around to their point of view. That definitely is not easy. My cousin’s father-in-law was an IPS officer, and I have spoken to him about his job a couple of times. After reading this book I realized that the media demonizes the police in a very unwarranted way. In that sense, this book was an eye-opener. I realized that policemen and women were after all human beings and like the rest of us, they too have limitations. Of course, there are some bad apples in the basket but that does not mean we have the holy right to tar the entire police force as dirty.
Aloke Lal and Maanas Lal have put their best foot forward in writing this book. I could not find any negative point of great significance to mention.
A big Yay! If you want to know how policemen work and the difficulties they face, this is the book for you. I would like to recommend this book, especially for all those youngsters who aspire to join the police force.
I am going with the 5/5 for the book Murder in the Bylanes: Life and Death in a Divided City. I could not find any significant negative points.