A huge Harry Potter fan, fluent in Spanish and a football lover, of course, Ira Singhal is not your average 30-something year old; she is quite the genius too. Having topped the UPSC exam in 2010, she was barred from employment due to her physical condition and fought for her place when she again topped the exam in 2014.
She fought the system that prevented her from taking up a much-deserved position
Her story is one that makes people reconsider their whole life, while also making them look to her as a perfect role model. Diagnosed with Scoliosis since childhood, her curved spine causes difficulties in moving one of her arms. However, she challenged the rules of the Union Public Service Commission examination where she was banned from becoming an Indian Revenue Services Officer, a clerk and even a sweeper. Standing up for what she believed in, she fought her case in 2014 at the Central Administrative Tribunal and won, causing a huge celebration in the country. As someone who never used her disability as an excuse to achieve anything, she said, “Having a disability was never an excuse in my family. I had to set targets just like anybody else would. I’ve learned that more than anybody else, it is necessary for you to believe in yourself. Thence, there is no stopping you.”
Has pristine educational credentials and work experience in business
Advising other people to “Make space for yourself. Stop judging others and judge yourself,” she does admit that she never had it easy and giving the exam was not a piece of cake. With a pristine resume involving great high school and college scores, she was educated at some of the best organisations in the country. She was also an intern at the Coco-Cola company and at Cadbury India with her MBA degree and proved that her disabilities had little to do with being competent in the professional world. Moreover, she isn’t the only one to have achieved this feat, in recent years; women have topped this tough exam which has gone to show the future of UPSC is surely female.
Exposing the flawed process for disabled candidates, she has opened the door for many UPSC aspirants like herself.
Image credit: Fury Fest