At ABP Live news channel, their daily news bulletin was going on and suddenly breaking news started flashing. That was results day of UPSC 2014. News- This time girls have bagged the top four positions, i was normal. They unraveled the names of toppers ,i was normal.Then they displayed the photographs of toppers, i was normal. But when i came to know that Ira Singhal is first differently abled candidate from general category who got first rank in the civil services examination : it was not normal. Her story is profusely inspiring not only for the civil services world but also for the normal world. She never glorified her special needs (she is victim of a medical condition Scoliosis ); she explained that her hands have restricted movement and her spinal cord is of S- shaped and not straight. But, she maintained that she feels normal about herself. She told that everyone has one problem or another, only thing is that her problems are more visible than others. She is very much normal than me , infact much normal than all of us. She is not a stereotyped topper. She reads a lot of novels and watches TV series of US/UK. According to her, one should study smartly by understanding and analyzing stuffs rather than being glued to books all the time.She has transformed herself into someone who is so much engrossed in learning, knowing and exploring what is around her that she has no time to bother about her physical condition or anything else.
The pragmatic Ira had some suggestions for the students : ” First get a professional degree , get a few years of work experience and then take the UPSC exam if you want to. And no matter what you do, always remember to have a life.”
She holds an MBA from Delhi University’s Faculty of Management Studies (FMS), and a B.E. in computer engineering from Netaji Subhas Institute of Technology (NSIT).
Since 2010, She had cracked CSE in her every attempt (4 attempts – cracked all- secured first position in 4th attempt)
She was refused a posting because she suffers from curvature of the spine. She filed a case in the Central Administrative Tribunal, which she won after 4 years, after which she was given a post. She has also taught Spanish for a year, has been a manager in Cadbury India and a marketing intern the Coca Cola Company. She was posted as Assistant Commissioner in the Customs & Excise department of the Indian Revenue Services, but will likely move to an IAS posting soon.
Despite topping one of the toughest competitive exams in the world, she told it was just another exam. She told that an exam cannot decide who you are. Life is more that an exam. She got 99.7 percentile in CAT. She told that Maths is tough or easy depending on your perception. It’s all in mind. She felt that a better teacher can make Maths easier and fun.
She knows various languages like English, Hindi, German, Spanish.
Her interview radiated positive vibes only.Normally, these interviews of successful people are focused on their struggle and hardship. But, the interview of this brilliant lady was different. It was full of hope, encouragement and motivation to see beyond our own problems. How she has turned her problems into opportunities was worth admiring. Her positive frame of mind is amazing. She is calm and composed. She has never back down in life when so called normal people often don’t achieve even an iota of what she has accomplished till date
As an Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer, she has to do more of office works and she always wanted to do good for the people by doing more field works. She wants to serve people and that’s why she wanted to be an IAS officer. Mr. Ravish Kumar asked whether she wanted to prove something through UPSC. It was expected she would say something like she wanted to show people that her physical condition didn’t came in way of her dream or something like that. But it was pleasant surprise when she told that she had nothing to prove. She wanted to be IAS officer as this will give her a bigger opportunity to serve people.
She hangs out with her friends like every other person. She is effortless genius of her life.She is an epitome of character and strength.
Her message : ” While struggling through all the insecurities of life, just remember that this too shall pass.”
She never considered her deformity to be a challenge. It all depends on how big you consider it to be a problem.
“My single aim is to help society and i am not after power, money or success. I don’t lie to myself,” Ira said.
I have tremendous amount of respect in my heart for this lady .I wish Ira ma’am all the happiness and all the very best for her journey. And i love you “meri living legend.”
Image 1 source : The Indian Express
Source : TOI
Some excerpts are taken from web and her interviews.