Priti Maithil, 23, is living out the Indian dream. The daughter of a laid-off casual labourer at a local sugar mill in Sehore, a sleepy little town 35 km away from Bhopal, she has secured the 92nd rank in the Union Public Service Commission examinations this year and is all set to join the elite Indian Administrative Service (IAS).
It wasn’t easy. Her father, Santosh Kumar, had lost his job in 2002 when the mill shut down. He then took to farming and ekes out a living growing wheat on seven acres he ws given by the mill management.
“We faced tough times, but my parents never let me feel deprived,” said Maithil, who likes reading, painting, debating and cooking. Relatives also chipped in — a paternal uncle supported her financially when she decided to join a coaching institute in Delhi.
A graduate in agriculture from Rafi Ahmed Kidwai College of Agriculture, Sehore, Maithil, who speaks fluent English — she studied in a local English medium school — does not subscribe to the view that the UPSC examinations are loaded in favour of those from English medium schools.
“More people from non-urban backgrounds are getting selected. That’s good, because they have a first-hand feel of the problems faced by the common man,” she said.