Nostalgically Speaking — 11: Kempaiah IPS: Officer Who Made A Difference – 2
Abracadabra By K. B. Ganapathy, Columns

Nostalgically Speaking — 11: Kempaiah IPS: Officer Who Made A Difference – 2

October 4, 2020

[Continued from Sept. 27]

When Kempaiah came here as a Police Commissioner there were about six honourable predecessors in office, who quietly occupied an obscure corner of the Mounted Police building on Lalitha Mahal Palace Road and forgot about the fact that it was only a temporary arrangement. Each Commissioner thought, it was for the Government to provide him an office and a chair and he has no role to play even in enabling the Government to find out a place and set up an Office of the Commissionerate!

It was given to a great Police Officer like Kempaiah to identify a place and then acquire it for the purpose, facing lot of objections from people who merely talk for publicity sake but do nothing thereafter. The Band House where the Police Commissioner’s Office is located now was an abandoned place, badly dilapidated, used by gamblers and goons for playing cards, immoral activities and for butchering animals. It was a band stand of Maharaja’s days abandoned long back with an equally abandoned park in front.

When Kempaiah sought to restore it and use it as the permanent office for the Police Commissioner, there was a hue and cry from our pseudo-heritage buffs like our pseudo-secularists. But then, with little help from the then Deputy Chief Minister Siddharamaiah, Kempaiah won the battle and today the Police Commissioner’s Office remains a heritage building with all its heritage characters. In fact, the heritage building was saved because of Kempaiah.

Once again, the Commissionerate did not have its own Parade Ground. They used to conduct their parades at the Karnataka Police Academy [formerly Police Training School] in Jalapuri on courtesy. Kempaiah acquired the abandoned park in front of the band stand and converted it into a beautiful Parade Ground with a solid fort-like wall all around. People used to call it Kempaiah’s Fort.

Sadly, the later incumbents to the Office have not been maintaining it in such a ship-shape and shining manner as during his period. Even the brass name plates were not polished and the gates of the ‘fort’ at the western circle were rarely closed allowing the ubiquitous cattle to stray in.

Similarly at the time of Kempaiah’s arrival in the city in Aug. 1996, as the Police Commissioner, a number of Police Stations in downtown area as well as old extensions were crumbling and bore a sinister look as I mentioned earlier. But Kempaiah restored these Police Stations, simultaneously restoring their heritage character and dignity of the Police Department — with it, the competence of its incumbent officers because of the new environment. Those who have seen the old Police Stations  will vouch.

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When Kempaiah discovered that the Band House Park Parade Ground in Nazarbad is not big enough for regular parades, he persuaded a philanthropist to donate some 5 acres of land behind the Mysore Race Course and set up a beautiful City Police Parade Grounds. What a magnificent contribution this! 

It was once again Kempaiah, who developed the Horse Park Ground and built a Guest House there during the time of Asian Games. 

If you are travelling to Nanjangud or Ooty from the city, near the junction before the Ganapati Sachchidananda Ashram, at left you will find Shakthidhama, a shelter for destitute women. I learn the brain behind this humane institution is also Kempaiah though the inspiration came from Mrs. Parvathamma, wife of thespian Dr. Rajkumar. He also raised money.  By the way Kempaiah was said to be very close to Dr. Rajkumar and his family. This centre today is giving shelter and new hope for many hapless, abandoned girls and women. 

Many people, VIPs and scholars have visited me in my office, but I was not so much overwhelmed by their visit as when Mrs. Parvathamma Rajkumar along with Film Director Dorai Bhagavan visited me in my office seeking donation for Shakthidhama. Such was her commitment to a noble cause dear to her heart.

Sometimes I wonder why a large number of IAS and IPS officers are more inclined to do just what is necessary to please their masters — superiors and Ministers — and are not inclined to serve the people and also walk that extra mile to help the Government they are serving. Hence, in contrast, Kempaiah may look like an odd person in this scenario, to some of his own fellow officers, yet he is an extraordinary Police Officer and an authentic patriotic citizen.

It must be September-October 2004, 16 years ago to this 2020. As usual I was on my morning walk alone on the road to Uthanahalli along the rim of Chamundi Hill from my house in K.C. Nagar, near helipad. As I turned the bend towards the village, I see a person wearing a red P-cap walking briskly towards me. Soon a van that could be identified by its extra fittings as of Police, came into view and found there                                                         were a couple of men trailing behind the man in red P-cap. When we met face-to-face it did not take much time to recognise each other and exchange greetings in a loud, happy manner — like ‘hail the fellow well met’, though after four years. Kempaiah had just taken charge as the IGP Southern Range and was on his regular walk with full security. After exchanging pleasantries he said ‘Come with me, let us walk together’ in pure Kannada          and I readily agreed.

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As our conversation continued on varied subjects, I mentioned to him about a couple of Police Constables approaching me for seat in Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan (BVB) School for their children and also to get the ‘donation’ reduced. I was and also at present the Vice-Chairman of BVB. I told Kempaiah I always helped them and mentioned how some brilliant children of Police personnel (not of officers rank) are deprived of admission to good Public Schools and specially English medium schools due to  financial reasons. I suggested that as a senior Police Officer who had gone beyond the call of his duty to help his Department and men when he was the Police Commissioner here (already mentioned by me earlier above in the first part of this article), he should think of establishing a Police Public School with English medium to give free or at a nominal fee admission to the Bright and Brilliant children of Police personnel. I gave him the example of COPS (Coorg Public School) in Gonikoppal, Kodagu as a model for school standard. To my utter surprise he instantly agreed to my suggestion and asked if I could suggest some land for this purpose.

 [To be continued]

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