Most of my good work was within the police department, though today the people seem to know me more because of my work outside,” says Mr C. Anjaneya Reddy, a former director-general of police and tourism corporation chief who is credited with reviving Buddhist culture in the state and who made his mark as an educator.
A man with strong views, Mr Reddy dealt with issues within the police in a subtle manner that even won appreciation from the powers that be, but his pet peeve is that the laws governing the police are not being revised.
“I have very strong views on certain issues,” he says, “and I think that our police is extremely colonial. I have made several presentations and sent representations and even now when I speak I talk about colonial police in democratic India. “The police force is not bad, it is because the legal system is still colonial,” he says.
While he had strong views on the police and reforms, early on in life, Mr Reddy and others realised that there was an urgent need to give a push for students in Andhra Pradesh to take the civil services exams. The students needed training and thus was started the Hyderabad Study Circle.
“We gave statistics saying that the AP share in the civil services was very small. In 1966, when I joined the services there were only 12 people from Andhra Pradesh in all services put together. Delhi used to be 20-30, Bihar had a sizeable number. Even Orissa had good numbers. TN was good, but was declining.”
When they went to Delhi to study, they realised the people did not know how to face these exams. “We wanted to create a facility in Hyderabad where people could come and we could advice them. We were ourselves teaching initially.”
Mr Reddy and colleagues like Venugopal Reddy were teaching and counselling students. “Then we professionalised it and oriented university professors and college lecturers to teach students. It was mainly started so that our numbers would increase in the civil service area.”
The results showed. AP at one point became the third largest contributor to the civil services.
“We started this in 1976 when I was in CBI. We started a society and when I was in Delhi, I requested Dr Rao of Rao Study Circle to help us start. He came and stabilised it for two years and trained and oriented several people. Then he got busy and we started running it on our own.”
This is the only place run by civil servants, ex-civil servants, and by ex-students.
“I firmly believe that apart from your job you must do two or three other things, including like finding out what it is that you can do outside your job to improve things, whatever line interests you; reaching out to society; and trying to take interest in cultural matters,” he says
The Andhra Pradesh Service Commission used to be in a rotten condition and the government wanted an IAS or IPS officer to be the secretary. Nobody wanted the job. “I volunteered to go and remained there for two years, revised the examination pattern and the syllabus. We professionalised the services.
Similarly no one was keen on going to the police academy. While the National Police Academy, also in Hyderabad, was for IPS officers, the AP Police Academy was started for non-IPS officers. I started it in 1986,” Mr Reddy says.
“Police training used to be in a mess and the Centre appointed the Prof. M.S. Gore Committee in 1976. Prof. Gore was the chief of TISS. He studied police training and reoriented it and submitted a report but nobody implemented it.”
When Mr Reddy was appointed director of the police academy, he went around to other states to see what they were doing. “I went through the various reports and then translated those ideas into a project report and submitted to the government and then police training became a planned project, in the sense we got funds from the Centre.”
APPA (now the Telang-ana State Police Academy) took off and became the best in the country and is considered a model for other states even now.
In his avatar as tourism chief, Mr Anjaneya Reddy created the Buddha Vanam on the banks of the Krishna at Amaravati, AP, and restored the Taramati Baradari in Hyderabad. He says then Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu did not want him as the DGP, and sent him as the chairman amd managing director of Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation.
“By then, I was already involved with the Buddha Vihara in Secunderabad, though this was a separate trust and nothing to do with the government. We were raising money from the Buddha Jayanti.”
He met the Dalai Lama in 1991 for the first time when he came to Hydera-bad. “After that I started following Buddhism. By temperament it suits me because Buddhism is non-theism and I was an atheist. Also I think that the Indian religion has no ethical content and that is why it is struggling so much. Whereas Buddhism is entirely based on ethics with no rituals,” he says.
For 1,000 years, it was the religion of Andhra Pradesh, he says. But there was no place in Hyderabad which talked of Buddhism or its tenets, except for a small little society, the Ananda Buddha Vihara Samithi.
“I turned that into a trust and started raising money. My office and my position were not involved in any way,” Mr Reddy says. “I was into Buddhism before I went into tourism.”
The Mahabodhi Buddha Vihara at Mahendra Hills in Secunderabad is the replica of the Amaravati stupam, the third largest in the country, built to the same dimensions. “We have recently installed the relics of Buddha which we got from Thailand,” he says.
Mr Reddy says art started with the Buddhists in India. “Till then there was no art in India. Jains had some images but art started with the Buddhist viharas,” he says.
“I wanted that this should become a place where students could go and learn about our heritage. For example, they should know that the Lingam in the Amaraseh-war temple at Amaravati or the Lingam in the Satyanarayana temple of Annavaram, all came from Buddhist stupas. The Pancharamas in AP are all originally Buddhist aramas — Draksharama, Amararama, Somarama, Ksheerarama and Kumararama.”
Mr Jagmohan Malhotra was the minister for culture in Delhi and had revived the Ajanta and Ellora caves. Mr Reddy approached him saying he was building a new stupa in Hyderabad.
“He was very impressed and before I returned to Hyderabad, the project had been approved and the money had come in. I was the chairman of the APTDC and we put in some money and explored various routes to raise money.”
He found 270 acres of land with the irrigation department, on the bank of the Krishna river. Mr Naidu sanctioned it for the Buddha Vanam project. It was aimed at reviving the Amaravati school of art, which has been dead for almost 1,500 years. While the Mahendra Hills is a functioning vihara, Buddha Vanam is for cultural tourism....