Lipin Raj, 24, was not born blind. The boy from Pathnamthitta in central Kerala, who secured 224th rank in the UPSC exams this year, lost his sight at the age of nine but as it turns out, not his vision.
“When I was in class four I suffered a compass injury in my right eye. My father was a drunkard and my mother did odd jobs to run the house. I was too scared to tell them,” he says.
Thus neglected, the little injury became an irreversible condition and Lipin lost vision in one eye. The infection affected his left eye too, but this time, only partly.
The new condition compounded with the grinding poverty made things difficult, but Lipin did not give up his studies.
Perhaps it was this spirit that moved lady luck to cooperate. One day, after his plus two examinations, Lipin was at a photostat shop, when the document in his hands caught the attention of the shop owner, Motti Cherian.
The frail-looking boy was holding a mark sheet. And according to it, he had scored 100 out of 100 in Malayalam.
It was Cherian who persuaded Lipin to join a good college in Thiruvananthapuram instead of the local option he was considering. He also provided monetary support.
Along the way, Lipin found other benefactors. “I dedicate my success to them,” he says today as he waits for his first posting.
Lipin has opted for a posting in the North-East and his first preference is Nagaland. “The North-East is underdeveloped. I want to do something for the region.”