Visually impaired Odisha girl cracks state civil services exam in first attempt
The negligence by doctors in a premeier hospital in the city during a operation in 2003 cost Tapaswini Das her eyesight, but it could not deter the 23-year-old girl to crack the Odisha civil services exam the results of which were announced on Monday.
Das, who lost her eyesight while she was studying in Std 2 in Bhubaneswar’s DAV School, secured 161st rank in the Odisha Civil Services examination 2018 conducted by Odisha Public Service Commission. Incidentally, she appeared as a general candidate unlike UPSC where there is reservation for visually-impaired candidates.
This is the second time when a visually-challenged person has cracked the Odisha civil service examination. In 2017 Odisha civil service examination, 8 visually-challenged candidates had made it to the list of successful candidates after Orissa High Court allowed them to appear at the examination.
“I expected to sail through the examination. Strong determination and patience are required to achieve success and I was determined to crack the exam in my first attempt,” said Das, who is now pursuing her Masters degree in political science from Bhubaneswar’s Utkal University.
Das was in 9th standard when she decided to be a civil servant. Though her first choice is UPSC, she decided to write the Odisha civil services exam when she heard about the advertisement for the examination.
Though she has battled the challenge of visual impairment successfuly since last 16 years, preparing for Odisha civil service exam proved to be a daunting task. “People who have clear eyesight, they can read from books directly. But I had to depend on recordings of several books that I stored in my laptop. I used to books scanned and turn it into audio format. I have never shied away from challenges in life. So I told myself let’s give it a try,” said Das.
Her father Arun Kumar Das, a retired deputy manager from Odisha Cooperative Housing Corporation and mother Krushnapriya Mohanty, a teacher, said for him Tapaswini is both a son as well as a daughter.
“I was heartbroken when a botched up surgery took both her eyesight. She was in Std 2 then and used to top her class. I then put her in a school for visually impaired from where she passed her matriculation exam with flying colours using Braillie script. She passed the higher secondary examination in arts stream topping the list of successful students. She did extremely well in her graduation too. All throughput her career she has been a persevering student,” said Arun Kumar Das.
With a rank of 161, Tapaswini may find it difficult to make it to Odisha Administrative Service and would have to settle for Odisha Tax and Accounts Service and Odisha Revenue Service. But the young girl is determined to crack UPSC as she hopes to follow in the footsteps of Pranjal Patil, India’s first visually-impaired IAS officer who in October last year took charge as sub-collector of Thiruvananthapuram.
“In UPSC, there is reservation for visually-challenged persons and she can crack it. She is a fiercely determined girl,” said her father.
Sulochana Das, Odisha Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities said her department would felicitate Tapaswini for her achievement.