Friday, January 13, 2023

Top cop the first

A couple of days ago, I was wondering about the first Indian to be the mayor of ChennaiMadras. By some coincidence, I came across this photo of the first Indian to have become the Commissioner of Police of Madras. Both those appointments were from roughly the same time-frame; T. Vijayaraghavacharya served as mayor of Madras in 1916, while the first Indian top-cop of the city took charge in 1919. 

Pasupuleti Parankusam Naidu was born in 1867. When he was 20, he joined the service of the Government of Madras as a clerk in the Water-works Department. But it appears that the young Parankusam was fascinated by the police force, and after three years of dealing with waterworks, he goes off and joins the police. Even if it was at probably the lowest level of the cadre, he was now an officer - a 4th Grade Inspector of Police. Over the next twenty years, he appears to have served with distinction (though I've not been able to access any official records), and in 1911, we see him as the Deputy Commissioner of Police. 

And then, the wait seems to have gone on for a while. Parankusam Naidu's next promotion was in 1919, when he broke the white-plaster ceiling to be the first Indian Commissioner of the city's police force. The Dewan Bahadur title came later, most probably after he retired from service. When that was, or what Parankusam Naidu did subsequently seems to be a mystery even the Chennai Police might shy away from!


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