Friday, August 7, 2009

About a Good Samaritan and a tough cop

Vineet Vinayak taking over as the senior superintendent of police, Patna coincides with raids on Bihar capital’s gambling dens. The state’s political establishment has its share of gamblers masquerading as leaders of the people. These dens served as the rendezvous to many of these politicos who were used to the lifestyle of wining, dining and gambling after the sunset. Needless to say that several police officials served more as the protectors to these dens housing their political masters than the guardians of law bound by the norms of duty to smash them.

Vinayak is an IPS officer of Sikkim cadre of Indian state of Bihar. I had seen his human face from very close quarters in course of my sojourn to Sikkim with family and friends about six years ago when Vinayak was posted at Gangtok, Sikkim’s capital. Then I had thought that Vinayak was fitter in the role of a Good Samaritan rather than a tough cop. It was really heartening for me to learn the police team under Vinayak’s stewardship raiding those gambling dens and catching the politicians luxuriating there by their scruff. Few people had thought that the police would ever dare to carry out raids on these high profile gambling dens and closing the liquor shop near the Patna junction railway station which stayed opened till almost whole of the night to sever these dens.

The Patna denizens have now seen their tough cop. I am reproducing here my story of how Vinayak had saved the life of Patna based woman in distress in far away Gangatok. The story had first appeared in The Statesman which I was employed with then.

Human face of the mountains
To escape the heat and humidity of the plains of Bihar, we headed for the snow-capped mountains. The cool breeze lifted our spirits as the taxi meandered past the river Teesta and took the road to Sikkim.
Dark clouds played hide and seek with the mountains and children snug in cardigans and mufflers made their way to school on a road below. Gangtok offered what we were looking for: wintry weather, liquor shops in every nook and corner of the city and friendly people ready to cooperate with visitors.
Curled under quilts in our hotel room, we chalked out plans to visit Chhangu Lake, Nathula Pass, Rumtek Monastery and other places of tourist interest. It was at this stage that tragedy struck in a land which was, for all practical purposes, unknown to us. Sushma, the wife of my Motihari-based engineer friend, Vijay Kumar, began writhing in severe stomach pain.
Initially, we thought she was suffering from journey fatigue and gave her some painkillers. We were wrong, as we were to find out later. Some of her organs had ruptured and they were bleeding. We did not know where to find adoctor or a hospital.
I took a chance and telephoned Vineet (Dhumal) Vinayak, an IPS officer from Bihar posted in Gangtok as Commandant of the Sikkim Armed Police.It was then that we realised how kind strangers could be. The officer was away at an important meeting. His father and Patna-based senior advocate, Abhay Kumar Singh, was spending his holidays with his son in Gangtok. He picked up the telephone. I panicked when I heard his son was not at home.
But Mr Singh said reassuringly: “Don’t worry, I will immediately contact my son.”Soon, the young officer rang me up, saying: “Don’t lose patience. Don’t worry. I am sending a vehicle with a local driver who knows where the hospitals and the doctors are. Take the ailing lady to hospital quickly and keep in touch with me.”
Sonam, a young Bhutiya driver in police uniform, came knocking. He helped us carry Sushma to his jeep and we sped off to a government hospital.
It was a Saturday. Most of the important departments of the hospital were closed, Saturday being a holiday in Sikkim.The very thought of a government hospital compounded our agony. The attitude of doctors in the government hospitals of Bihar and West Bengal fill us with forebodings. We thought the condition of Gangtok’s government hospital – near the taxi stand in the heart of the city – would be pretty much the same. But we had no option. Sushma’s condition was deteriorating.
We took her to the emergency ward, which was open. To our surprise, the doctor and the nurses – all local residents – were like god-sent good samaritans. The doctor realised the gravity of Sushma’s ailment and asked us to get an ultrasound done at a diagnostic centre nearby. The report showed a rupture of some organs and profuse bleeding inside her abdomen.She was required to undergo a major surgery in the next half an hour. But specialist surgeons don’t come to the hospital on Saturdays. Four bottles of blood were needed for the surgery. We were filled with anxiety.
Again, Vineet Vinayak swung into action and contacted a surgeon. The doctor on emergency duty and the nurses were constantly beside Sushma, giving her all emergency aids and at the same time asking her husband to keep his cool.
“You are like a family member, don’t worry. Nothing bad will happen...we will try our best to save the patient,” they whispered. These words of consolation in an alien land left an indelible mark on me.
We would not even expect such treatment from government hospital staff on a holiday in our part of the country.While the doctor and nurses on emergency duty were busy taking care of Sushma and her nervous husband, a surgeon was briefing the Commandant over telephone: “Sushma stands 50 per cent chance of surviving if she undergoes the operation but if she does not, she has no chance of surviving.”
In Bihar, the men in khaki are hardly known for serving the sick and those in distress. They are known more for their brutality. Mr Vinayak, with his kindness, seemed to make up for all the misdeeds of the police force back home. He asked the doctors to go ahead with the operation.Four bottles of blood! How do we arrange for that? Four people with a blood group matching the patient’s had to be found. Again, the Lepchas, Bhutiyas and Nepalese living in Gangtok came to the patient’s rescue.
Mr Vinayak had many Lepcha, Bhutiya and Nepalese youths undergoing constables’ training in his command.He requested four of them with the matching blood group to donate their blood. The trainees came running to give their blood to a stranger.
The surgeons, nurses and assistants accompanied Sushma to the operation theatre. She underwent the operation. Her life was saved.
“Sushma; be easy...don’t stretch your are alright,” these caring words of a petite Bhutiya sister nursing Sushma in the post-operation ward were music to my ears.She is well now and capable of taking care of her two children and husband, thanks to the service rendered by the IPS officer and his men, the doctor, the nurses – all unknown to her in an alien place.
Though it was a government referral hospital, its wards were clean. The doctors and nurses on duty very attentive. This hospital in Gangtok was not home to stray canines, unlike the government hospital in the Shashtrinagar area of Patna. Sweepers were keeping the place clean and dust-free.“I come all the way from Patna to get my aging teeth repaired by Dr (Mrs) Hammal,” said Abhay Kumar Singh, Mr Vinayak’s father, by way of introduction to the lady standing beside him on the hospital campus.“Can’t you find dentists in Patna to get your teeth repaired,” I asked. The advocate replied: “There are good doctors in Patna. But it is impossible to get in Patna the care with which Dr Hammal repairs my teeth so skillfully.”
We were so busy attending to Sushma in hospital that there was no time to go sight-seeing. But we saw the human face of the mountains.
“Yes, you will always find the people here more simple, friendly and helpful,” said Mr Vinayak. “I enjoy working with these people.”
Sushma sends her blessings from Patna to the lovely people of a lovely state. And officers like Vineet Vinayak are always an asset for the Pawan Chamling government in Sikkim.


  1. Knowing the human side of a tough cop is a real pleasure and, that too in an alien land...its been a nice read for me...hope to get many more such stories from your pen & ken...

    And yes, all the best wishes for your blog...

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