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`The Cop With a Flute ’

A senior IPS officer who, apart from his work, is also known widely for his flute playing and engineering skills. One doesn’t come across people like Mr Muktesh Chander every day.
Indian Masterminds Stories

One often wonders how does an IAS or an IPS officer manage both his work and passion with the same elan. There are many such examples. But then, it is even hard to imagine how an IPS officer can pursue not one but two passions, that too as varied as technology and music, at the same time. We could find only one, and his name is Muktesh Chander.

An IPS officer of the 1988 batch, of the AGMUT cadre, Dr. Chander is also an exemplary flute player. There are other branches to his creativity. In his spare time, Dr. Chander creates devices to enhance the fortify of houses.

IPS officer Dr. Muktesh Chander

Though not a trained flue player, his performance mesmerizes the listeners. Till date, Dr. Chander has given around 100 performances! He has already released one audio album. Two more are in the pipeline. In a detailed interaction with Indian Masterminds, he said “I did not choose flute. Rather, the flute chose me. I must have been 10 or 12 years old when my romance with this musical instrumental started. One day, one of my father’s friends who used to play the flute, visited us. We requested him to play the flute for us. After his performance, I and my brothers also wanted to try our hands on the flute. It was a professional flute. He agreed to lend us his instrument. Additionally, he announced to give away his flute as a reward to the child who played it the best. My performance was adjudged the best by him and I won the ‘trophy’. This is how flute became an inseparable part of my life.’’

Dr. Muktesh Chander is currently the Special Commissioner (Operations) in the Delhi Government. Reflecting on the days when he started playing the flute, and his gradual mastery over it, he says “Even when I am no longer an IPS officer, I will always be a flute player.’’

Dr. Chander receiving an award on World Engineering Day

Playing in Public

Dr. Chander didn’t get any formal training in music. He used to listen to the songs again and again to learn the tune. With time, he started playing the flute well. Firstly, he started performing art in front of his family and friends. Then, the word of his talent reached his school and he started performing in the cultural festivals.

This continued in his college and in IPS Academy as well. People became a fan of his music. Dr. Chander said, “Since I didn’t learn, so I can’t play classical music. Else, for any kind of Bollywood or western music, I only have to listen to a song 9 to 10 times and I am good to go. Mostly, I play devotional and Hindi movie songs. However, playing patriotic songs always gives me more satisfaction and makes me feel proud.”

Dr.Chander was praised for playing in numerous programs for Doordarshan. Recalling one of his favourite performances, Dr Chander told us, “I was once approached by Doordarshan for Swaranajli. This live program was a musical tribute to all the martyrs who sacrificed their lives for our country.  Many VIPs like the then Defence Minister, Chief of Army, Navy & Air Force as well as officers of Para Military Forces were present in the audience. I played ‘Sandese Aate Hain’ from the Hindi film’Border’ and almost everyone was teary-eyed. It was a great moment for me. I still feel proud and blessed that I got such an opportunity, which comes once in a lifetime.”

Another favorite performance of his was when he played in front of legendary music director Anand Virji Shah from the duo ‘Anand-Kalyan’. It was the music director’s birthday and Dr. Chander played songs from his movies like Kora Kagaz, Jab Jab Phool Khile, etc. Once he also participated in a program organized in the Raj Bhawan of  Goa.

Speaking about the Goa performance, Dr. Chander said, “This too is close to my heart. I can’t forget that moment. It was a beautiful program planned by the then Governor of Goa. She ensured that the program took place on a full moon day. The then Chief Minister Mr. Manohar Parrikar, along with other State Ministers, graced the occasion. There was no other light and I played almost 10 songs, all of these written on Moon. The audience didn’t stop clapping. So, this one is also a cherished performance of mine.”

Dr. Chander in discussion with senior officers from Afganistan

Dr. Chander has also played with various orchestras in Delhi and Goa. He usually doesn’t have enough time for practice, but with his God gifted talent, he manages to get the attention of the audience. Talking about his inspiration he said, “In my early days, I used to listen to the works of Pannalal Ghosh for hours. I have learnt a lot from him. Apart from him, I am also a big fan of Hari Prasad Chaurasia and Ronu Mazumadar. They have a great influence on me, and helped me carry forward my passion.”

Civil Services Happened Unplanned

Dr. Chander did his B.Tech from Delhi College of Engineering and has a PhD in Information Security from IIT, Delhi. He was also chosen for a Cyber Security Fellowship in Defense Academy. In a career spanning more than three decades, as Centre Director Cyber Division (NTRO), Joint Commissioner of Police (Prime Minister Security), DIG Goa, and Special Commissioner (Traffic) in Delhi, he remains one of the finest officers of the country.

Dr Chander with his course mates while participating in a presentation for Chevening Cyber Security fellowship at London

However, civil service was not his childhood dream. It was a spur the moment kind of thing for him. “After my B.Tech, I started working in a Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited(BHEL). I have always loved technology and was quite satisfied with my job. After a few years of job, an incident changed my life. I was superseded by a less deserving colleague to lead an important project. I was heartbroken with the unfair deal. Then and there, I decided to quit and started preparing for civil services. I am lucky that I cracked UPSC in my very first attempt”, he said.

Unbreakable Bond with the Technology

Dr. Chander is a proficient electrical engineer and also knows computer coding. He never gave up engineering, not even after joining the police. Whenever he gets free time, he develops devices. Many of these have been used in cyber and home security. He says that his connection with technology is unbreakable. He only loves two things – flute and technology.

Recently, he developed a home security system. “CCTV’’ he points out, “doesn’t ensure the safety of a house. It might be useful in identifying the actors after an incident has taken place but is not useful in stopping it. There was a theft in my friend’s house and even the CCTV footage wasn’t helpful in identifying and arrest of the culprits.

Dr. Chander while visiting the Stonehenge in England

This made me think about using some kind of alarm system in addition to the CCTV. So that house owners could be alerted about the intrusion. In foreign countries, these kinds of systems are already in use, but here we don’t have that. I started making that device for my friends. It has all kinds of sensors, including motion sensors. If anyone tries to break into the house, a warning signal is sent to three persons chosen by the user. This helps to stop the incident before it happens.”

Many people have been suggesting Dr. Chander to start making commercial production of the security gadgets. But he laughs off the suggestion. “I made it for a friend,’’ he said. But of course, these equipments could figure in his post-retirement plans. And of course, the flute too!


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