Human Interest
Traffic inspector Anjapally Nagamallu sings to create social awareness and is also a rationalist debunking myths in the rural belts of Telangana.

Anjapally Nagamallu is truly a super cop. No, he doesn’t punch five goons in their faces at once nor does he chase offenders down the winding lanes in Hyderabad. Still, people recognise Nagamallu at traffic signals and click selfies with him. Popularly known as ‘Police Anna’, Nagamallu is now a familiar face in the city, all thanks to social media which helped the cop in his fight against fake news. A year after Nagamallu’s song on fake news brought him media attention, the 36-year-old traffic CI today is a social media star who also heads the cultural troupe of the Hyderabad police department.

Nagamallu’s song videos are about anything and everything he considers is important. From fake news to traffic awareness to cyber frauds, he has released more than 30 videos in the past six years. With over 1.4 lakh subscribers, Nagamallu also has a YouTube channel where he uploads his songs.

Speaking to TNM, the traffic cop recounts his journey which began in 2013 when he first released a CD of his songs while social media in India had not exploded to the extent that it has now. The complete venture cost him Rs 1.8 lakh which he paid from his own pockets.

“Back in 2013, CDs were still popular in the city and my main target was to make the songs popular among the youth. If you look at most of the crimes committed, the people who are involved in it are mostly between 20-30 years of age. Delivering sermons and speeches to them have been tried and tested for long. I wanted to do something creative and entertaining which would attract the attention of these youngsters. So, I began composing songs which I believed was a better medium to communicate with today’s generation,” Nagamallu says.

He embarked on his second project in 2015, and by then, Nagamallu had learnt how to run his own YouTube channel and he also started a page on Facebook. But, it was when he released his song video on fake news that the officer truly hogged the limelight. The song came at a time when the Telangana police department was fighting relentlessly against the spread of rumours, especially in the rural belts of the state.

“Seeing my passion for music, it was Mahesh Bhagwat sir (Rachakonda police commissioner) who commissioned me to compose a song on fake news. The song went viral on WhatsApp and other social media in both the states and even today, whenever I see a video clipping in Telugu creating awareness against fake news, it mostly begins with my song on the same,” says Nagamallu proudly.

Nagamallu has a team of editors and camerapersons which now helps him in shooting and uploading the songs. What makes his songs truly unique is the rawness with which he sings and also his signature costume, the traffic cop’s uniform, which he wears in each of his songs.

Not only is the cop on a mission to create social awareness, he is also a rationalist who fights superstitions. After the police department created a cultural troupe, Nagamallu and his team have performed street plays and skits debunking myths in numerous villages across Telangana.

“Before joining the police in 2009, I used to be a part of the Jana Vignana Vedika (a rationalist forum) debunking the powers of fake babas. For example, a lot of babas fool innocent villagers by walking through fire and escaping unhurt. To debunk this myth, I decided to walk through fire and prove to people that one has to stand for at least 3 seconds in one particular point in the fire in order to burn their feet. But if one is to run through it, anybody can escape unhurt,” Nagamallu says.

The cop isn’t just a man of words, he walks the talk. Nagamallu has received numerous awards till date from the police department for being the Good Samaritan on duty. He is the kind of cop who doesn’t hesitate to help whenever he witnesses an accident on the road. He makes sure the victim is admitted, even if that means meeting the expenses out of his own pocket. He also actively spreads awareness on blood donation, and has donated blood 21 times in the past.

The cop also has made headlines several times, once for pawning his gold to help a man with disabilities construct a house, and another time for helping an orphan child who was lost in the city to return to his orphanage in Vinukonda.

Nagamallu makes no money in pursuing his passion and spends time till late in the night writing and composing, after completing a gruelling 10-12 hour shift as a cop. So what makes Nagamallu happy?

“Until now, I haven’t thought of making any profits. I feel happy reading comments on my YouTube channel, knowing that my songs are creating a positive change among people,” Nagamallu says, adding, “My future plan is to translate my songs from Telugu to Hindi and release them all around India, because an accident is an accident irrespective of its geographical location. I want my songs to travel all around India.”