Renowned Hindi writer Renu Saini, got engaged in a candid conversation with IPS officer and Special Commissioner of Delhi Police – Robin Hibu, the go to man for every Northeasterner in New Delhi. Renu Saini will be writing the biography of Robin Hibu in Hindi. 

Let’s start with your journey in life. Tell us where you were born and your education. 

I was born in a small remote village named Hong in Lower Subansiri district of Arunachal Pradesh. In the village there was no supply of drinking water and electricity.  

There were also no proper roads. My parents were farmers. There was a Mahatma Gandhi Ashram outside the village, which was opened by a Gandhian lady from Assam.  

I received my primary education in the Ashram itself. I was a student in the Ashram from LKG till Class 8. Then, I shifted to Ziro Higher Secondary School.  

As, there was no communication, due to improper roads, I had to walk eight to ten kilometres to reach school.  

The Gandhian ideologies, which I learnt during my stay at the Mahatma Gandhi Ashram, kept me motivated to work hard and instilled the zeal of working for the Country. 

Mr Hibu, you are very much influenced by Gandhian philosophy and you struggled a lot during your initial days. Did you dreamt of becoming an IPS officer from the beginning? 

When we were studying at the Mahatma Gandhi Ashram, we really weren’t aware of what an IAS or a IPS is all about. I came to know about it much later.  

But I knew very well that if one aspires to become something in life, he must put in hard work. 

I came to know about things like IAS and IPS during my Higher Secondary school days, when I saw DMs and SSPs. 

I secured second rank in the entire state in Arunachal Pradesh in class 12. I could have got admitted into a good university in Delhi.  

But due to financial constraints I had to drop the plan and took admission at the Jawaharlal Nehru College in Pasighat, East Siang district. I graduated from that college. 

After graduation, I shifted to Delhi. Studied at the Delhi University for a few months then got admitted to the Jawaharlal Nehru University. Completed my post-graduation from the JNU. 

We often encounter instances where people from the Northeast face discrimination. Did you also go through any such incident? 

Faced discrimination on a number of occasions. I often wonder that in heart I am an Indian, but my facial structure is different, which results in such incidents. 

However, I don’t blame all the people in Delhi or India, for such things. Because many do not realise that India is a vast country. There are people like us, there are also Sikhs, then there are Lungi donning Tamils.  

I would like to share an incident that I faced long ago in my life.  

Once I was travelling from Guwahati to Delhi in a train. A few Army guys, who hailed from this part of the Country, asked me to forfeit my seat, for which I had a ticket. 

They said, “Bahadur, you sit there, not here.” They threw my luggage near the bathroom. They didn’t listen even a single word that I had to say them. I showed them my ticket but no one listened. 

I was terribly hurt and was angry then. But I controlled my emotions. I learnt during my days in the Gandhi Ashram that “eye for an eye make the whole world blind”.  

The Gandhian teachings helped me in my journey that day from Mugalsarai to Delhi. 

Secondly, when I visited places like Karol Bagh or Chandni Chowk in Delhi, many thought that I am a foreigner. Maybe a Japanese or a Chinese.  

Many thought that I can’t even speak Hindi. Shopkeepers used to speak in English and double the price of items. 

At first, I got really hurt. But then I realised that those people, who ill-treated me, like the shopkeepers or the landlord, were not that highly educated. 

Why to get angry on those people who do not know where Arunachal Pradesh is, where Kanyakumari is, where Kashmir is. 

Then I started to carry a map of India with me everywhere I go. Whenever I face such situations, I used to take out the map and showed it to the person concerned and pointed out that Arunachal Pradesh is a part of India. 

There were many freedom fighters from the Northeast who laid down their lives. So, who says we are different? We are from the same country. 

India is like a garden, with different varieties of flowers in it. 

What is success in your words? 

For success one should put in a lot of hard work and be sure about his goal. One should be prepared to sacrifice a lot of things to achieve success. 

Just like Arjuna in Mahabharata saw the bird’s eye only during archery training, one should be focused towards his ultimate goal. 

Are you satisfied with what you have achieved in your life or do you strive for more? 

I think that God has blessed me in becoming an IPS officer. Apart from being a police officer I am also engaged in social work. 

I have an NGO – Helping Hands that works for providing scholarships to poor students for UPSC, medical, engineering studies. 

We arrange facilities for last rites of poor people. We also have a blood bank. We help sending bodies of Northeasterners’ back to their homes. 

I have opened a library back in my village in Arunachal Pradesh named Mahatma Gandhi Rural Information Centre. 

This library will help students crack competition exams. In the same complex we opened up a health centre for the locals, because the nearest hospital is at least 3 hours far.  

The country and the society have given me a lot. It’s now time I return the favours. 

What would you like to say to those aspirants who wants to crack UPSC and become an IAS or IPS officer? 

I would like to say to everyone – do what you want to do in life. 

If someone is not interested in IAS and IPS, he should not join the services. If someone is interested in sports, he cannot get satisfied by becoming an IAS or IPS officer. 

These are really responsible jobs. If one thinks that he is responsible enough, he or she must put in a lot of hard work to become an IAS or IPS officer. 

Translated from Hindi to English by Zaheer Akram Bora.