There is hope if you persevere. Kumar Avikal Manu had cleared the civil services examination once before, but he was told that his polio-afflicted right arm made him ineligible. Last week, he cracked the examination, again with his left hand.
Avikal's name is buried deep in the list of 474 candidates that cleared the civil services examination. He was ranked fourth among the disabled this year, the same rank that he had achieved in the 2004 examination, when the government rejected him on medical grounds.
"I had used all the means there were, the right to information law to get the status of my case and petitioning the disability commission for a direction to the government," said the 29-year-old political science student.
Nothing worked, however. Early this year, Avikal even moved to the Delhi High Court to plead for his case.
But he never lost faith in himself or the bureaucratic system that was keeping him out. "How can I not have faith in a system that I aspire to be a part of? Of course, it can improve… I intend to play my role within the system," he said.
When nothing seemed to be going right, Avikal finally "mustered the courage last year to reappear for the examination". His perseverance finally paid off. "This was my last attempt," said the 29-year-old, a hint that it was a "now-or-never" battle that he had been fighting.
"I hope that I will be allocated a service this time," he added, a trifle uncertain after his first brush with the bureaucracy.
Officials at the department of personnel and training suggest Avikal need not worry this time. Not after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's intervention, added Javed Abidi, disabled rights activist, that prompted government departments to clearly list out services where the disabled can join.