When I was young, there was a little ditty we guys would sing:
This is my rifle,
And this is my gun,
This is for shooting,
This is for fun.
However, it seems that in India, you cannot have both.
It is either one, or the other.
The district spenders (not "collectors") of Madhya Pradesh, where lawlessness is rampant, issue gun licenses only to those who undergo vasectomies. If you are sterilized, our The State will grant you a gun license. If not, no gun for you.
Of course, our The State is not known to keep its promises – observe the meaningless promise on the currency note with Gandhi's portrait on it. So there are many residents of Madhya Pradesh who have lost their guns without getting rifles in exchange.
Read the full story here. And think of the poor sods whom the local administration has cheated. These are those who are not "protected" by the police anyway. These are people who need to travel on dangerous routes, where armed dacoits, Naxals and their ilk roam free. In much of Madhya Pradesh (and Chattisgarh, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh) our The State does not exist. (And maybe that's a blessing, which we need to build upon.)
What do we do?
I suggest that you get an illegal gun and keep it for your own safety.
As Abhijeet Singh of IndiansForGuns.com has commented on this blog, legal guns cost anywhere between 1,00,000 and 2,50,000 rupees in India – and that is, after you get a gun license.
If you buy an illegal gun, you pay not more than 25,000 rupees.
There is thus no incentive to own a legal gun.
While in Delhi, I had the occasion to discuss guns with many friends who live in the countryside. They all said that, back home, they kept an illegal gun nicknamed "addhi": this is a shotgun with both the barrel and the stock sawn off. So it was half the size of a shotgun – hence the name "addhi," which means half. They said the "addhi" costs 3000 rupees. Now, that's a gun even everyone can afford.
And you don't lose your other gun either.
(There is a fascinating article on the illegal gun factories of Uttar Pradesh here.)