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Joint CP Robin Hibu likes to stay rooted to his tribal culture even in the Capital

Passionate about their tribal traditions and culture, the Joint Commissioner of Police (Operations) Robin Hibu and his mother, Hibu Yasing, become the talk of the town wherever they go.

delhi Updated: Mar 16, 2018 16:54 IST
Ruchika Garg
Ruchika Garg
Hindustan Times
Robin Hibu,Joint CP,Tribal
Hibu Yasing with her son Robin Hibu, Joint Commissioner of Police, Rastrapati Bhavan. (Photo: Sarang Gupta/ HT )

His name is Robin Hibu, and his popularity among the Northeastern community in the Capital is no less than the fictional cop Robin Hood Pandey (aka Chulbul Pandey, the character essayed by actor Salman Khan in the 2010 film, Dabangg). Besides ensuring a safe environment for all, he also works for the upliftment of the community through his virtual NGO, Helping Hands.

When his mother, Hibu Yasing, is in town, the mother-son duo make for a great cosmopolitan picture: the IPS officer in his cop uniform and she — in the traditional Apatani tribal dress. The duo belong to the Apatani tribe, and hail from a remote village, Hong, in Arunachal Pradesh.

“We’re always surrounded by curious crowd at hospitals, markets, and tourist places due to the typical tattoos on my mother’s face. It’s rare for people to see such an elderly tribal lady from remote hills with his son in uniform, in Delhi,” smiles Robin, Joint Commissioner of Police (Operations), posted in Delhi.

“Many a times at India Gate and Qutab Minar, the crowd starts murmuring on seeing us. I have to remind people that our country is diverse in its cultures, costumes, and traditions. When I start speaking, they get even more surprised as I can speak Hindi, too,” he laughs.

Hibu Yasing, mother of IPS officer Robin Hibu, wears yaping hurlo (nose rings), a tradition of Apatani tribe in Arunachal Pradesh. (Photo: Sarang Gupta/ HT )

Describing her attire, his 76-year-old mother says, “The skirt that I wear is called galle and the nose rings are called yaping hurlo. It is a dying tradition, which has not been practised since 1970. It was historically done to all adult Apatani women in a bid to save them from tribal raiders.” The IPS officer adds, “We are original Apatani tribals with unique customs.”

Interestingly, Robin says that while the people in the Capital look at him as if he were a foreigner, sometimes, he himself feels like an outsider in the city. “Unfortunately, people from the Northeast are always mistaken for foreigners. I was completely taken aback by the heartless urban life when I shifted here. The bountiful nature of Arunachal Pradesh is not even remotely possible here. And then there are very few Arunachalis in Delhi. My mother is very passionate about our traditions and culture. She also inspires my children to adopt and sustain it in all possible ways,” adds Hibu, whose wife is a doctor.

Recently, the officer was honoured with Presidential Police Medal for his distinguished service, for the second time, for services extended for the safety and welfare of Northeastern people. “I believe, we need to include Northeastern culture (heritage, history, race, festivals) in our schools’ and colleges’ syllabus nationally. We need to have more promotion in innovative ways to showcase the unique culture and heritage of Northeastern states. Our focus should also be to reach out to the youth from Northeast, who are very good in sports, music, etc.” says Robin.

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First Published: Mar 16, 2018 16:51 IST