The Indian Army stands for staunch nationalism and patriotic pride, at least to some extent for all of us. They represent a selfless love for one's country that can be matched by little else. One could say that the Indian Police Force stands for similar ideals, but for some reason, they do not seem to command the same respect, let alone awe, from the people of the country.
A reddit user questioned this disparity in our perception of the two mighty Indian forces and users from all around had several points worth considering.
"That is because the average Indian doesn't interact with the Army on a regular basis and look at them as doing great service to the nation by defending our borders whereas most people would interact with the Police on a regular basis and more or less have a fair idea about their misdeeds.
Ask people in states like J&K or Manipur about their opinion on the army, they wouldn't be so defensive."
"I think it's also because of good PR. You see the army jumping in to the rescue whenever there is a disaster. Media covers this exclusively. I don't remember a media post along the lines of 'Police helping disaster victims...'
Most of us see the army as the last line of defense. If you hear about the police men being killed in the line of duty as regularly as you hear about the army then people would have a softer spot for the police too. Also most of the people complaining about the army excesses aren't spotless characters themselves. So it is easy for people to dismiss them as separatists or something else."
"I have always wondered the same as well. I used to go out with a girl from an army family, most of her male friends were in the army as well. Meeting them really burst a bubble for me, they are nothing like what you see in the movies - none of them were patriotic at all, regularly abuse army resources (facilities for parties, free booze, personal rides in army jeeps) and all of them were grade-A douchebags.
Joining the army was a family business - their parents were seniors in the army so they were in for a safe ride with good postings. Meanwhile, the pandus from Nepal, Bihar etc are the ones who do the heavy lifting with none of the prestige or honours. Not to say all the IMA types are assholes, but they are pretty much the same as the average Indian - just different career."
"They do not encounter the army on a daily basis. Go to Kashmir or the NE and you'll see how much the army is hated there. Go to the LWE affected areas and you'll see how much the CRPF is hated there. The army has been involved in numerous atrocities, excesses and rapes are still commonplace in Kashmir and NE. But the army is very cautious about its image, and you'll see very little of this in the news.
They have cultivated a holier than thou image and these patriotic movies and the wars with Pakistan have helped them build that image. A death of an army jawan or an officer is treated as a national loss but you won't hear about the police, CRPF who die in larger numbers, yet their lives are somehow inferior. It's is much harder to live in the forests of Chattisgarh than to live in comfortable bungalows in the Indo-Pak border. The facilities that the Armed police forces like CRPF get pales in comparison to the army.
I have worked in the CRPF and spent 5 years in the border areas in the NE with IB. Had many friends in the army. We had also complained about the army major who was involved with a minor (13-14) years in Arunachal Pradesh, after complaints from the parents of the girl and gotten him court-martialed, although he escaped with light punishment. The court martial procedure is a mockery of the justice system, created to protect the officers from regular court trials. 99. 9% of the times, the matter does not even reach the army courts. People just don't talk about it because these kinds of things are very common in the army. Also, the army jawans are so subservient to their officers that they would even dare to talk about it."
"The military more often then not plays the role it is assigned to with a significant degree of success. And even when they fail, like in the China war, it's not due to a wholesale cowardice or lack of fibre, but due to political leadership.
Whereas the police usually utterly fails at its role and most times this failure has less to do with the politics and more to do with the cops trying to exploit the system.
I think it also has to do with contact. All Indians have some contact with the police and the experience is rarely positive or competent. Whereas most Indians do not have regular contact with the average jawan, who is cut from the same cloth as those who become constables. It's just that most Indians do not meet them."
"In the rosy picture we build in our minds, the army protects us against anti-national elements, people who we expect to infiltrate our borders and ruin our lives, although we rarely actually see them in action. The police on the other hand, we can build a similar rosy picture, but soon as we see them, reality contradicts the rosy picture. Some sheltered people would still think highly of the police, but most people aren't as sheltered.
It amazes me, how normative people are in their approach rather than positive/consequentialist. Despite what they see, they want to believe things can be different, if only the right people were put in place."
Do the officers of the police force deserve the reputation they have? Do we perhaps tend to glorify the army more than they deserve? Tell us what you think.
Design credit Nishant Patel