Chhattisgarh: Mr. Suraj Singh Parihar, IPS who is the top Police Official presently posted in Chhattisgarh’s naxal-hit Dantewada district and his history is a showcase to the fact that hard work and unashamed passion can help achieve any goal.
He was living with his grandparents until he was studying class five. He studied in a small village school in Jaunpur in Uttar Pradesh. While he was with his grandparents his grandfather used to tell him stories about men who served the country and mankind and he used to call his grandfather, Baba.
After completing class five he shifted with his parents to the suburb of Jaimau in Kanpur and he was put into a Hindi medium school by his parents. As he grew up he excelled not only in academics but also in sports and creative writing. In the year 2000 he won the National Bal Shree Award for Creative Writing and Poetry from the hands of the then President Mr. K. R. Narayanan.
In the year 2001 he scored a distinction,81 percent in all five subjects and became the topper of his college in class 12 under the UP board. Even as this score opened new avenues to study in the best educational institutions, Mr. Parihar had plans of his own.
His family was joint in nature and his father was the only earning member of the family. Mr. Parihar wanted to contribute to the income of the household so he continued his graduation from a college which was not strict on attendance and he started a coaching institute for English speaking with his friend Ashwani in a rented room.
During the period of the Bal Shree Awards the youth, Mr. Parihar often felt inferior to kids he met during the selection rounds at the zonal and national levels as they could speak English without taking any effort.
He was capable of reading, writing and understanding English but when it came to conversing it became very difficult as he never spoke the language either at home or at school. With his relentless efforts by starting to read English newspapers, watching English channels and spending time in speaking to himself in front of the mirror he successfully learnt the language on his own.
He said that people would make fun of him when they saw him speak to the mirror but that did not deter him from continuing to achieve his target in learning the language.
As the coaching institute developed as it reached almost 100 registrations within a very short period of time it had to be shut down as a dispute broke out with the landlord. Mr. Parihar had to later join a marketing job at Hindustan Unilever but wasn’t successful.
As he was searching for other options he came across an advertisement for a walk-in- interview. This was for the post of a call center executive at EXL, which was known as the best paymaster in the BPO sector at that time. After seven rounds he made it and his name came to the list. At the age of 19 he left his hometown to move to Noida.
His short term goal was to make money in order to send it to his family back home but his bigger goal was to complete his graduation and gather the resources to prepare for UPSC. At the call center after Mr. Parihar had received voice and accent training he failed in the test. When he was asked to pack off he begged with his then manager, Kanishk, to give him one last chance and his request was granted. He was given a month as the ultimatum to prove himself fit. He worked so hard that he not only passed the re-test but made it to the Wall of Fame reserved for the top performers of the company a couple of times. He grew as fast as he took a 60 percent hike at the first appraisal.
He said that he was sad within himself as he knew that this was not his goal and he decided to quit the job. On learning about his plan to quit the job the Vice President of EXL even went to the extent of offering him double his hike but Mr. Parihar was clear in his plan. He then moved to Delhi to seek coaching for Hindi Literature (UPSC) in 2007-08 with his savings but in about six months his funds depleted.
As the existing savings was over his money was no longer with him, the pressure was building up and so he applied in eight banks for the bank PO exam and he passed all of them. After getting the job he worked for four months at Bank of Maharashtra in Thane. At the same time he got his selection letter from SB as he had cleared the exam securing AIR-7. He then worked for a year each in Agra, Delhi and Roorkee. He was then promoted as a Bank Manager at Chamoli. At this time he took a tough decision. He said that the work was intensive and if he moved to Chamoli he would be completely cut off from his dream so he decided to quit again.
Meanwhile he had also cleared the SSC Combined Graduate Level Exam with AIR-23 for the post of an Inspector in the Customs and Excise Department. One of the attraction was the weekly off unlike SBI and he devoted this time entirely to UPSC preparation.
He cleared the UPSC in the third attempt and got into the Indian Revenue Services. When he was doubtful about getting into IPS in the last attempt the Government gave away two extra attempts and increased age limit by two years. His next attempt proved the last one as he secured AIR 189 and became an IPS officer at the age of 30.
Once in, the training commenced and from the on learning guerrilla tactics for a week in the wild with the Greyhounds to long route marches, running several kilometers, combat circuits, firing, horse riding, swimming etc. it was challenging at the age of 30 but he said that he gave the best.
With a lot of effort he managed to clear all his indoor and outdoor training in the first attempt and completed his commando course with an alpha grade. Mr. Parihar gives credit apart from his parents to his wife, Dr. Parisha who he said has stood by him and supported him through good and bad times.
After his training the officer was posted for the first 18 months in Raipur as the city SP. He was later promoted and posted as an ASP of Dantewada.
Mr. Parihar said that Dantewada ranks third after its adjoining districts of Sukma and Bijapur in Naxal related violence. In the last five months he said that under the leadership of his seniors, The DGP, The IG and The SP the teams has struck down heavily on naxalities by encouraging or arresting or surrendering naxals carrying a reward of about One Crore Rupees. The best part is that the police have suffered almost no causalities.
Mr. Parihar is now using a mix of soft and hard policing techniques in the area. Apart from conducting civic action in the heavily naxal infested areas with the SP he has also used his creativity to make a non-commercial awareness film titled ‘Nayi Subah Ka Sooraj’ in order to counter the Maoist propaganda. He has also written poems and made one video song on the topic to spread awareness.
When I am asked by many of the aspirants who reach out to me about the material benefits of being an IPS and I ask them to find a deeper motivation. The Indian Police Service is not a job but is a service by keeping the company of better people and by taking constructive criticism in the positive sense, by learning from your mistakes and that of others and in maintaining a balance between work, study, hobbies, play to do well in life.