Mumbai slum dweller fights odds to become an army officer | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Mumbai slum dweller fights odds to become an army officer

ByAdarsh Kumar Gupta
Mar 09, 2024 04:09 PM IST

Umesh Keelu’s father worked as a painter to support the family. In 2013, his father suffered an acute stroke, which left him paralysed.

A young boy named Umesh Keelu who grew up in Mumbai's Dharavi slum has overcome hardships to become a commissioned officer in the Indian Army. Lieutenant Keelu's passing out parade was held in Officers Training Academy in Chennai on Saturday.

Umesh Keelu was born and raised in the Sion Koliwada slum in Mumbai. He used to live with his family in a 10 feet by 5 feet house
Umesh Keelu was born and raised in the Sion Koliwada slum in Mumbai. He used to live with his family in a 10 feet by 5 feet house

PRO Defence Mumbai hailed the success of Lieutenant Keelu on X(formerly Twitter) and shared a video of him from the parade.

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"Meet Lieutenant Umesh Keelu as he becomes an officer in the #IndianArmy today. Growing up in a tough neighborhood of #Dharavi Mumbai, the officer has overcome many challenges & is all set to #ServeTheNation," posted PRO Defence Mumbai.

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Lieutenant Umesh Keelu's inspiring story

Umesh Keelu was born and raised in the Sion Koliwada slum in Mumbai. He used to live with his family in a 10 feet by 5 feet house.

Keelu’s father, the family's lone breadwinner, worked as a painter to support the family. In 2013, his father suffered an acute stroke, which left him paralysed and aggravated the family's bad financial condition.

“Over the years, Umesh made a total of 12 attempts to clear the Services Selection Board (SSB) and join the prestigious academy. As soon as he joined the academy, his ailing father passed away. He went to Mumbai to perform the last rites and returned to the academy. Once back at the academy, he got into the grind, toiled hard to fulfill his parents’ dreams and has now become a commissioned officer in the Indian Army,” an official told news agency PTI.

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Keelu's educational background and struggle

Despite financial hardships and other challenges, Keelu earned a Bachelors of Science (BSc) degree in IT and Masters degree in computer science. During his academic pursuits, he also served in the NCC Air Wing and earned a 'C' certificate.

To support himself and family, he took up a part-time job at a cyber cafe and worked as a computer operator.

With his efforts, Keelu landed a job with Tata Consultancy Services in the core IT services sector and began supporting his family with his regular income. As the salary was insufficient to meet the family's needs and his father's treatment, he took up a gig with British Council during the weekends.

Simultaneously, Keelu started preparing for competitive exams as he wanted to fulfill his parents' dream of seeing him don the uniform. He believed that a career in the armed forces would be the best opportunity to attain holistic development from opportunities to play and excel at various sports, pursue higher studies, and travel the length and breadth of India.

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