Abhinav Kumar


Abhinav Kumar has served in the IPS in various capacities for nearly 18 years.He assumed the charge of IG (Operations& Border Management) at HQ SDG(Western Command) BSF, Chandigarh in 2016.He is an avid reader.He is a regular contributor to the Indian Express Newspaper on police and internal security issues.He has continued to contribute to other national and local news papers too on topics of professional and personal interest. He has also written a coffee table book about Uttarakhand Police.
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What inspired you to get into the IPS ?

I belong to the fourth generation of Policemen in my family. My mother’s grandfather served as an SHO in the days of the British Raj in erstwhile Moradabad district of Uttar Pradesh. One of his nephews retired as a Deputy Superintendent in UP Police. Another uncle by marriage belonged to the 1965 batch of the Indian Police Service and served as DGP UP as well. So policing has been a partof family history.On my father’s side too, his elder brother retired as an Air Marshal from the Indian Air Force. Therefore, one has grown up with a comfort level with the uniformed services. However, I must also confess that I did not plan to get into the IPS. I was working as a journalist with India Today when I wrote the Civil Services Exam. My first choice was the Indian Foreign Service. Despite securing 54th Rank, I was allotted the IPS. I did make a half-hearted attempt to get into the IFS the following year, but I think that my inner comfort level with the uniform and destiny prevailed. In more than two decades of service, I have never had cause to regret the outcome.

You have been writing extensively for newspapers. What are the issues you try to take up in the articles?

Right from my school days at the Doon School, reading and writing have been a passion. I was on the editorial board of various school publications. The stint with India Today was a wonderful learning experience that honed my analytical skills as well as my writing abilities. Working in the police has provided a wonderful perch to witness humanity across the entire spectrum of behaviour, good, bad and everything in between. I also felt that the problems of the police, both its failings and its constraints should be placed in the public domain. So after about five six years in uniform I started writing. In fact for a while I was a regular contributor to the Garhwal Post on various issues. Therein 2005, the Indian Express asked me to write a piece on Police Reforms and since then, we have had a 12 year long association. These days my primary concerns are related to policing and national security.

Do you think that the police get enough respect and due for their selfless service?

I don’t think that any profession feels that they get their due from society. Having said that, I think that the performance of the police is a mixed bag and therefore social attitudes towards the police cannot be painted in uniform shades of black and white. In any case there is no such thing as selfless service. We get paid to serve society. What we do end up doing occasionally is going beyond the call of duty in the service of society. When we do so, it does get rich and fulsome recognition from society. However, quite often we act as stooges of the rich and the powerful and when that happens we are quite rightly seen as villains by the people. The irony is that both ways we end up getting due recognition for our deeds.

What do you feel about the reading scenario in the country?

Well, given our historically low rates of literacy and the poor quality of literacy, it is no surprise that our culture of reading is a niche largely occupied by the elite. So even an so-called best sellers had a much smaller print run typically around 5000 copies or so compared to the millions plus numbers notched up by best sellers in Western Countries. And in the last 10 years, the use of smart phones and social media have taken the literate away from the printed work of books and magazines to the online world. That in itself is no bad thing. If Indians prefer to do their reading online, then that is a fair choice. However, I am concerned about the shrill propaganda that masquerades as information on social media. Both the left and the right are guilty of it. I can only hope that the increasing number of readers, whether offline or online, also results in a more refined and considerate public conversation.

With a slew of Literature Festivals cropping up in India how does a festival create a niche for itself?

I think that the public in India is still starved for quality events that celebrate literature. Given the sheer geographical and cultural diversity of India, I think that there is ample space for festivals that intelligently curate this diversity. As a city Dehradun has long had a literary tradition that would be the every of much larger cities. The citizens of Doon have always been enthusiastic patrons of the arts and literature. So I don’t think that a literary festival in Doon will ever have a problem standing out. Provided it is organised with due affection and care for the literary sensibilities of the people of Doon

What are you looking forward to at the Valley of Words festival in Dehradun?

I look forward to a stirring celebration of words, nature,people. All the things that have made me adopt Dehradun and proudly call it my home. Having been posted out of the State on Central deputation since November 2012, I look forward to any opportunity to come back to the city where I have spent my formative years, both as a child and as a proud member of the IPS.

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