Police historian says everyone wanted to look like Himanshu Roy

May 12, 2018, 07:01 IST | Jane Borges

Deepak Rao, police historian and family friend, reminisces about Roy's growing up years

Deepak Rao
Deepak Rao

Long before Himanshu Roy became a top cop, he was known among his colleagues as 'officer HR Dasondi'. In the prime of his career, he, however, preferred to be called by his first name instead - given to him by his father, Dr Dasondi. The inspiration for the name came from Himanshu Rai, one of the leading pioneers of Indian cinema.

My association with Roy goes back a long way to when he was studying at Campion School as his father was my personal doctor. Raised in Colaba, Roy was the only child of Dr Dasondi and his wife, and the apple of their eye. I always recall him as being a slim child, very unlike the beefy cop that he went on to become. While he went on to pursue chartered accountancy, his heart was always set on joining the IPS. I still remember his father asking me to help him prepare for the viva exams. But, he was already well versed with the history of the force.

Incidentally, it was Lieutenant General Jagjit Singh Aurora, general officer commanding-in-chief of the Eastern Command during the third war with Pakistan in 1971, who conducted his viva in 1987. Aurora had a reputation of intimidating young officers. When he asked Roy, "Do you know who I am?" Roy was quick to answer, "Sir, you commanded the largest force after the Second World War." It was a fact, and nobody else knew that. An impressed Lt Gen Aurora didn't ask him any further questions.

Within a short span of time, Roy became a force to be reckoned with. Not only was he the most respected in the Mumbai Police, he also transformed the physical culture in the force. I still remember how he would spend around three hours daily at the gym above Eros Cinema. It wasn't long before other officers started emulating him - everyone wanted to look like Roy.

The highlight of his career was when, at the age of 28, he became deputy commissioner of police, Zone 1. Life had come full circle for Roy, because Colaba - the place he had grown up in - was now under his jurisdiction. If his health had not taken a beating, he would have easily become the next commissioner of police in Mumbai. It's a great loss for us.

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