From some police men and a moral
Q.1. What were the police charges against G.K. Chesterton? Why was he acquitted?
The essay is a criticism on the behaviour of the policemen and their methods of investigation. The writer narrates an incident of his life when he was held by two policemen for interrogation and then acquitted.
Once, the writer was on a holiday in Yorkshire (England). He was practising knife-throwing by which the people killed each other in the past. He was throwing knife at a tree. Suddenly he is detained by two policemen who accuse him of damaging the tree. They asked his name, his address, his occupation his religion and his views on war. The writer told them that he worked as a journalist in the “Daily News”. He added that he lived in Yorkshire and that he was acquainted with the high-ups of the area. The head constable was highly impressed by the writer.
At this they respected and acquitted him. The writer was convinced that the police were impressed by rich people only. Had he been a common poor man they would have not acquitted him.
Q.2. “Policemen in Chesterton’s essay behave exactly like our own policemen.” Elucidate.
The writer, in this short essay, presents a true picture of the behaviour of the policemen with the people. Their behaviour and treatment with people is not uniform. It varies from person to person. If the detained person is well-connected and resourceful he is immediately acquitted like the writer; otherwise- he is ill-treated. The writer was arrested and then interrogated just for nothing. They put him very odd questions, unconnected with the charge levelled against him. Then they acquitted him when came to know of his social status and contacts.
Policemen in our own country behave like this. They often detain innocent persons and then prolong the investigation. If the detained is a well-to-do person or has contacts with the high-ups he is readily acquitted, otherwise he is tortured and many times torture results in his death. If the accused greases their palm no harm comes to him. The people, on the whole, are scared of police. They hesitate to visit police posts for fear of being maltreated. The high-ups can get any criminal released from lock-up “, but the poor with no contacts have to suffer. Thus the police in Yorkshire, as narrated in the essay and that in our country behave in the same way.
Q:3 What strange ideas arise in Chesterton’s mind on his acquittal?
The essay is a criticism on the behaviour of the policemen and their methods of investigation. The writer narrates an incident of his life when he was held by two policemen for interrogation. Though the writer was acquitted, yet he was greatly disturbed. Strange questions occurred in his mind. He asked the tree why they acquitted him if he was damaging it? He wondered if the tree was a fairy whom they wanted to protect. Why did they disturb his freedom? Why they detained him for half an hour and put odd, irrelevant questions? He was surprised over the fact that they had acquitted him only because he had links with the high-ups of Yorkshire; otherwise they would have never set him free. He concluded that in that sense a journalist or a well-connected person, like him, could commit any crime. He imagined the suffering, at the hands of police, of a poor labourer who had committed the crime of damaging a tree. He would never have been released so easily.