As a young police officer, Satyapal Singh from Baghpat took a keen interest in all forensic reports. He often spoke wistfully about the M.Phil degree he had acquired in Chemistry, saying he would have been a scientist had he not cleared the Civil Services examination to become an IPS officer. He quite liked flaunting his knowledge of chemicals and the various processes.
Over the years, he developed an interest in vedic studies and took to organising occasional ‘havans’ at police stations. “He was a self-proclaimed Arya Samajist and pretty much unapologetic about it. We were definitely not surprised when he decided to quit the police force after nearly 35 years in service to join the BJP. There was always an RSS man hidden in him somewhere.” This is what one of his colleagues from the 1980 batch tells Outlook. Singh claimed he was responding to his “inner voice” when he gave up khaki for khadi. In 2014 Lok Sabha polls BJP pitted him against Jat leader Ajit Singh, who was relegated to the third spot.
His dream of becoming a scientist may have remained unfulfilled but now, as minister of state (MoS) for Human Resources Development (HRD) in-charge of higher education, he sees an opportunity in dictating what others should study in science. He believes that Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution is “scientifically wrong” and should be changed in school and college curriculum across the country. The former Mumbai Police Commissioner pooh-poohs Darwin’s theory because he says nobody actually saw an ape turning into a man!
His logic has left many of his colleagues – some of them still serving in the police force – highly amused. “So what is wrong with it? His police training demands there should be a witness for a crime. Without a credible witness, there is no case. So Darwin’s theory doesn’t stand a chance in front of SP,” says his batchmate, laughing.
People who have known Singh closely are not really surprised at his passionate appeal to shun Darwin’s theory. As Additional DGP of Maharashtra – prior to becoming Mumbai Police Commissioner -- Singh had started a campaign targeting college students to break the myths around religion and create awareness about Vedic literature.
“He delivered lectures on spirituality and promoted Vedas as the divine order for world peace. Once in 2000 I heard him speak at an Arya Sammelan in Mumbai. He spoke about the Satyarth Prakash (written by founder of Arya Samaj Swami Dayanand Saraswati), giving the book generous credit for his expertise as a police officer,” recalls another police official, who was Singh’s senior.
In fact, Singh himself wrote two books – one on tackling the Left Wing Extremism and the other a philosophical book called Talaash Insaan Ki. “As the police commissioner of Mumbai, he got the book translated into Urdu because he wanted to target Muslim audience. The book was launched by Amitabh Bachchan and Javed Akhtar,” the senior adds.
Singh’s subjects for his two books may be eclectic and diverse but a police official who served under him is convinced that the politician in him has completely eclipsed the logical cop. “God save the education system under him!” he exclaims.