Berhampur: A figure in khaki with a baton or a pistol in hand coupled with disciplined conduct summarises the term ‘police’, the protector of human rights.
However, the police have one more face which we see four or five times a year. Neither do they have baton nor pistol in their hands on these days. They don’t speak the language of law. Yes, the members of the police band play brass band, cymbals and saxophones to evoke the sense of patriotism among the people.
But ironically, they get a monthly allowance of Rs 30 to perform as members of the police band. With everything getting dearer by the day, this paltry sum of Rs 30 is not even adequate to wash their special uniforms that they wear during Independence Day and Republic Day celebrations, said a band member.
Police band is not new to the residents of Silk City. The band members appear during parades and play a significant role in promoting the concept of unity in diversity. Their synchronised movements in tune with the National Anthem and the patriotic songs like ‘Sare Jahan Se Achha’ stir up nationalistic emotions.
The policemen are also seen during occasions such as National Home Guards Day and National Police Day and Saheed Diwas. Besides, band members perform during the visit of leaders with high constitutional posts.
“The police band formed 15 years back in Berhampur has 14 members,” said Major Madan Behera. While many have retired over the years, some fresh faces have replaced them. But the band, having three side drummers, three beguile players, a cymbal player and a saxophone player, has retained its distinction of performing at peak during all celebrations, added Behera.
According to the members, they perform their duties like other constables but join the band at the time of need. They get just Rs 30 per month to perform in the police band, they said.
“Though it feels great to get the appreciation of top officials, it is high time we got a raise in the allowance considering the price hike of commodities in the market,” said another member of the band.