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    Saturday, June 3, 2017

    Disabled girl disowned by parents clears services exam ,became IAS officer

    A disabled Indian woman who was not allowed to study after eighth grade by her parents has now passed civil services exam with flying colours.


    Ummul Kher, now 28, was disowned by her parents because she wanted to study further but her consistency and determination made her clear the uphill exam in her first attempt. She achieved the all-India rank 420 and is now hoping to get into the Indian Administrative Services (IAS) on a disability quota.
    Her life was awash with challenges which she successfully overcame with her passion. She has battled with a bone disorder since childhood and had 16 fractures and eight surgeries because of her disease.
    Kher was born in Rajasthan from where she moved to Delhi when she was in fifth grade. Her father worked as a street vendor near the shrine of Hazrat Nizamuddin and resided in a slum nearby.
    The courageous lady enrolled herself in an institute for handicapped persons and finished her fifth grade and was later admitted to a charitable trust where she studied till eight grade.
    “It was a charitable organisation run by the government and I didn’t have to pay anything. Though getting one square meal was difficult, I was satisfied that I could at least study,” Kher narrates.
    What followed was both difficult and painful.
    “I wanted to study at the Arwachin Bharti Bhawan senior secondary school as it had a better infrastructure and I had received a scholarship,” she said. However, her parents refused to let her enjoy this fundamental freedom and said they would sever ties with her if she studied further. “I was abused. My intentions were questioned because I wanted to study. It was the worst time. They said you have now got more education than a girl should,” she said. 
    Kher had to decide between her parents’ choice and her own future. She opted for the latter .
    “I had started taking tuitions but living independently meant I had to earn more money. From a few children the tuitions expanded to four batches — 3pm to 5pm, then from 5pm to 7pm, 7pm to 9pm and then 9pm to 11 in the night. These were mostly children from slum areas and I got between Rs 50-100 from each student. I couldn’t have expected more as these were children of labourers, iron smiths, rickshaw driver, cart-pushers, etc,” she added.
    “Besides, for a girl to live alone in a jhuggi was sometimes traumatic. It was never safe but I had no choice,” Kher said.
    One of her friends of her college days recounts how hard Kher worked to make ends meet. “She funded her education through the money she won at debates in DU colleges. You can earn decent money as the prize amount is high in some of the college festivals. But here too, she couldn’t participate in debates that were organised in the evening as she had to take tuitions,” Abhishek Ranjan said.
    Kher managed to get admitted to India’s prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University with a scholarship.
    With all her achievements, will she ever be able to forgive her parents for disowning at a crucial juncture?
    “I don’t blame them. They were brought up in an environment that shaped their thinking. It’s not their fault,” she said. “I have not made a phone call yet as they don’t know what civil services mean. But I will visit them soon,” she said.
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    Item Reviewed: Disabled girl disowned by parents clears services exam ,became IAS officer Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Abdul Sattar Qamar