Those who visit Kullu are immediately smitten by its beauty but another unforgettable sight in the town is Harbans Singh, a traffic cop, who is hard to ignore.
He has become one of the most popular figures, known for his dedication in manning traffic on the busiest intersection in Kullu town, which is the busiest hub in the area.
The intersection has neither traffic lights nor a dedicated ‘chowk’, owing to the narrowness of the road. His is a unique style of managing traffic, with swiftness, swirling arm movements and robotic gestures, akin to an astute dancer. It catches the attention of whoever is passing by.
Today, this traffic cop is a celebrity in his own right, with the road his dance floor, the noisy traffic his music. That’s where the real action lies for him. He is always at his best while performing his 6- hour shift daily, while improving the compliance of traffic rules and taking to task traffic violators.
While he is busy handling traffic and hardly has time to strike up a conversation with an inquisitive onlooker, local residents are ever ready to provide information about him, a gauge of his popularity. The local residents say he goes the extra mile to help improve the lives of others and has been dedicatedly serving his duties since he joined.
Harbans Singh is a native of Soyla village in Darang from adjoining Mandi district and has been deployed in Kullu since 1994. Ask him about his sheer dedication and he says, “Sarkar hamein tanqhua deti hain, duty hamein tan-man aur imandari se karni chaiya (Government gives us salaries, we should perform our duty honestly and wholeheartedly).”
It’s been 23 years at Kullu and he loves his job irrespective of the tough conditions that come with it, he added.
A matriculate, he said, “I have served a major part of my services as a traffic cop since I joined the police services in 1984. Managing traffic was part of the training I got at Junga, Shimla.”