District commissioner Hasmukh Patel is so convinced of the benefits he has introduced the option for his staff to take the time to train in the art with full pay and allowances. Daily yoga is also strongly encouraged.
Patel is responsible for 3,500 officers across six districts in the south of Gujarat – 175 of whom have taken up the offer so far.
How does he drum up interest? They come to him. It only works if it’s a personal choice, “one cannot be forced”, Patel explains from his Surat office, decorated with certificates of meditation excellence.
He reels off examples of how meditation has been useful. The officer whose daughter used to avoid him when she was doing her homework, and now won’t do it without him. The classic bad-cop-turned-good story: a man notorious for extortion who changed his ways. It worked for him too: “As a police officer I deal with injustice. I used to get angry but after meditation I didn’t.”