Visually-Challenged Candidate Cracks Civil Service Exams in her First Attempt
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Pranjal Patil, a 26-year-old visually-challenged girl from Ulhasnagar, Maharashtra, cracked the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) exams in her first attempt this year. She secured an All India Rank of 773.
Blinded at the age of six, by a classmate who hit one of her eyes with a pencil, she was warned by doctors about potentially losing vision in her other eye, too. Unfortunately, nothing could stop that from happening. But, her lack of eyesight did not get in the way of her dreaming big.
Pranjal passed her 10th and 12th standard exams with flying colours. Following that, she took admission in St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai, for a bachelor’s degree, for which she travelled from Ulhasnagar to Mumbai in a local train everyday.
Pranjal, however, did not stop there. After reading about a career as an officer in the Indian Administrative Services (IAS), she decided to pursue it eventually. She did her M.A. from Jawaharlal Nehru University after her graduation, and started preparing for UPSC during her M.Phil.
For this, she used a software called Job Access With Speech (JAWS): a program which scans printed documents to create text-to-speech output, or a refreshable Braille display. After scanning her notes, the next step was to find her a writer. While it is a challenge to find a person who can match one’s speed, Pranjal was lucky to find Vidushi, who pushed her to work faster and not slow down. “I had perfect tuning with Vidushi. She would scold me if I slowed down during the exam. It was like I uttered a word, and it was on paper,” Pranjal told The Better India.
Pranjal attempted each question in the exam, and prepared for it without any help from coaching schools. “Studying was never a problem for me, as I enjoy learning new things each day. But disciplined study was an issue, and so I did not take any coaching but went for a test series that disciplined my preparations,” she said.
Pranjal says she is inspired by Daisaku Ikeda, a Buddhist philosopher from Japan, whose writings she reads ardently and credits his work as a driving force. “Success doesn’t give inspiration; the struggle behind success gives you the inspiration. But success is important because only then people will be interested to know your struggle. The attitude, and the approach to do something matters, and each individual can become a building block for a beautiful society,” she said.
While Pranjal says the support of her husband, and family is the reason for her success, her own effort and drive cannot be ignored. Her attitude to life is a lesson for everyone. People misinterpret success as a quick magic carpet ride, and get demoralised when they see how much work it takes. But Pranjal Patil’s tenacity and perseverance is truly remarkable, and sets an example for us all.
Source The Better India