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Shri B.D. Sharma,IPS, Director General (Retd)

 

            Born in Churu District of Rajasthan in 1957, Shri Banshi Dhar Sharma is an IPS Officer of West Bengal cadre. After doing his M.Sc in Botany, he taught Botany in Govt. Colleges of Rajasthan before joining Indian Police Service in 1980. Has held a number of important charges in Police Department including the charge of Add. S.P., Barrackpore, Superintendent of Police, Murshidabad and South-24 Paraganas Districts  and Dy. Commissioner of Police including that of sensitive Port District in Calcutta Police for five years before being promoted as D.I.G of Police.

         He then worked in Border Security Force as DIG at Jaisalmer and IG in Jammu & Kashmir, both assignments on Indo-Pak border.

         On his return to West Bengal cadre, he was posted as Inspector General of Correctional Services, West Bengal for five and a half years in which capacity he was Head of all prisons in the State of West Bengal.  As Head of Prisons of West Bengal State, a number of path-breaking initiatives were taken by Shri Sharma. He, among many other initiatives, introduced the concept of 'Culture Therapy' for the transformation of inmates in correctional homes by exploring their hidden talents and imparting them with human dignity through public performances and exhibitions of their talents in various fields. Culture therapy is a unique project in which prisoners are given training in various fields of culture including music,  dance, plays, recitation & sculpture leading  to their psychological & physiological uplift. They are then taken out for public performances which imbues them with a sense of dignity and self respect, thus leading to their complete transformation. Since Shri B.D. Sharma had interest in music since childhood, during his tenure in the State of West Bengal, he became deeply interested in in Rabindra Sangeet which he used for the culture therapy of convicted prisoners, lodged in the correctional homes of the State for their reformation and rehabilitation.

         The prisoners of West  Bengal have now seen performing theaters and dance dramas all over India including New Delhi, Mumbai, Ranchi, Bhubaneswar and raising money for Prisoners Welfare Fund established by Shri Sharma. The dance drama 'Balmiki Pratibha' has received unprecedented public support and admiration all over India particularly in Universities, Colleges, Schools and prestigious and elite clubs.

         'The Jail' - a documentary film made by the director Avijit Dasgupta on the concept of Culture Therapy conceived by Shri Sharma has won 11 International Awards including the prestigious Golden Gate Award in 2009 and 2010. A feature film 'Muktadhara', also based on the concept has been hugely popular all over. The film is based on the making of dance-drama  'Balmiki Pratibha' directed by celebrated danseuse Alokananda Roy, in which 40-50 prisoners both male and female participate. Shri Sharma has himself dung all the  songs of 'Balmiki' in this dance-drama. More than 80 public performances of this dance-drama. More than 80 public performances of this dance-drama have so far been staged all over India by this prisoners' troupe created by Shri Sharma and Alokananda Roy.

         The prisoners have so far raised more than Rupees one Crore for the West Bengal Prisoners' Welfare fund through more than 200 such public performances all over the country. The fund is now being utilized for education of prisoners, their rehabilitation, grant of scholarship to prisoners'  meritorious children, monetary assistance of Rs.5000/- at the time  of wedding of prisoners' daughters and for organizing cultural programmes and sports inside the correctional homes for the inmates. He introduced telephones for prisoners for the first time in India which is now being emulated in other States.

         He started a movement for helping he helpless prisoners' children living back home in the society in their education under various Governmental Schemes and particularly by enlisting support of the civil society so that they do not take  the path of crime like their parents. More than 2000 such children are not pursuing education under various Govt. schemes and with the help of social organizations & NGOs throughout the State at present. He has been supporting some of the children for the last several years with the help of various rotary Clubs of Kolkata. Another documentary on his work for education and other  child-rights of prisoners' children entitled  "Flickering Angels" is being shown at various film festivals across the world. He threw open the correctional homes to the civil society so that it could contribute meaningfully towards reformation of prisoners. Many other unique projects were were launched by him in partnership with civil society for rehabilitation and integration of prisoners with mainstream society. His unique project for restoration of heritage temple at Lalgola in partnership  with INTACH by prisoners of Lalgola open Air Jail has received admiration and financial support from US Government.

 Shri B D Sharma has been awarded Police Medal for Meritorious Service and President's Police Medal for Distinguished Service. He is deeply interested in music particularly classical music, cultural activities specially theatre, social work and rural development. He has completed his Post Graduate Diploma in Rural Development in 2006.

           Shri B D Sharma worked as Special Director in-charge of Eastern Command, BSF, Kolkata from 28/05/12 to 13/08/14. During his this tenure in the Border Security Force, he started another humanitarian project 'Darpan' in partnership with Smile-Train, India, Rotary Club of Kolkata, Victoria and Bhagwan Mahaveer Cleft Foundation for cleft-lip surgeries of poor children from the border areas of West Bengal, Assam, Tripura and Meghalaya. In fact the programme has now been adopted in the entire Country by Border Security Force of India and SSB.

               Shri B D Sharma was felicitated in 2013 by Govt of India" in recognition of his tireless pursuit of excellence, outstanding commitment in upholding human values and contribution in furthering cooperation between border guarding forces of India and Bangladesh".

        Shri Sharma has received considerable love and affection from the people of Bangladesh during his visits to Dhaka. Shri B D Sharma took charge of the education of a girl, Afroza hailing from Bangladesh for more than five years in Kolkata after the death of her mother. They were lodged in Berhampore Central Jail after being arrested by the Police where the mother of the child died. Shri Sharma handed over Afroza to Director General, Border Guard, Bangladesh , Maj Gen Aziz Ahmed, psc, G in Sept 2013, during his visit to Dhaka alongwith the compensation awarded to the girl, on his recommendation, by the West Bengal Human Rights Commission, Kolkata for the death of her mother in custody. The gesture was appreciated by Govt of Bangladesh and press and media there considerably.

        He visited Bangladesh again to attend the first convocation of Shanto Mariam Institute of Creative Technology, Dhaka as the Guest of Honour on 23 April, 2014. The convocation was attended by His Excellency Mr Md. Addul Hamid, Hon'ble President of the People's Republic of Bangladesh. Justice Altamas Kabir, the former Chief Justice of India was the convocation speaker on the occasion.

        Shri Sharma was then posted as Director General, Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) in New Delhi. Sashastra Seema Bal is deployed on 1751 kms of Indo-Nepal Border and 699 kms long Indo-Bhutan Border. On joining as Director General, Shri B.D. Sharma took personal initiatives to implement schemes like 'Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojna' by using SSB campuses for easy access to the scheme and guidance of the border population, adoption of 309 Govt. Schools in border areas, clean toilets with running water in the adopted schools along the borders under 'Swachh Bharat Abhiyan', Cleft Lift Surgery of people in the border areas especially children with the help of 'Smile Train' (an NGO) and Toll-free number (1903) facility for people of entire India to lodge complaints about corruption, inappropriate behavior of SSB personnel or for passing information about smuggling, trans-border crimes and trafficking. Shri Sharma also launched a people friendly scheme of detailment of 'Interaction Teams' in plainclothes by SSB for frisking of people crossing the border based on prior intelligence or information only so that their complaints of high-handedness against SSB personnel can be minimized. He has also been working tirelessly towards fighting the menace of trafficking of women and children through Indo-Nepal border by enlisting active support of Government agencies in Indian States sharing border with Nepal and NGOs.

        Just after his superannuation on 31.01.2016, Shri B.D. Sharma was appointed as Advisor to the Governor of Arunachal Pradesh during President's Rule imposed in the State in view of a Constitutional crisis. A new democratic Government has since been installed there.

 



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