The Pardhi community of Maharashtra has an unenviable reputation. Despite the Criminal Tribe Act being repealed in 1949, this nomadic community continued to be blacklisted by the police, with members being considered criminals although many are now farmers and labourers.
However, it is Sajjansingh Chavan (30) who has now brought them a true sense of pride. Sajjansingh is the first among the Pardhis to clear the Union Public Service Commission examination, securing second position in Maharashtra and an all-India rank of 29.
No surprise then that he received a hero’s welcome in his village Ghirni, in the Buldhana district of Vidarbha.
Father Ramsingh told Hindustan Times over the telephone that the family has been inundated with calls. “Eager youngsters want to know the details of the civil services examinations. My son’s success is significant because our community has a negative reputation. This achievement will be an encouragement for many.”
But Sajjansingh’s success is an achievement for his family as well. A scientist with the Ammunition Research and Development Establishment, Pune, he was born in Mumbai’s Aarey Colony slum when his father worked in the Naval Dock Yard.
Despite suffering from a heart attack and losing his job, Ramsingh continued to work so that Sajjansingh could complete his MTech from Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi.
Speaking to HT from Pune, Sajjansingh said: “I would like to be an effective administrator and work for the people. Professionally, whatever work I do I have to remain in the top 20 per cent vis-à-vis my performance.”