Meet Pranjal Patil, India’s first visually challenged female IAS officer
Pranjal Patil, the nation’s first visually challenged woman IAS officer, assumed command as the Sub Collector of Thiruvananthapuram on Monday. “We should never be defeated and we should never give up. With our efforts, all of us will get that one breakthrough which we want”, the 30-year old Kerala cadre officer told News18. She further added, “I am feeling extremely glad and proud to take charge. Once I start working, I will have more idea about the sub divisions of the district and can have more plans to what to do for the subdivision.”
Pranjal, who comes fro Ulhasnagar, Maharashtra, lost her eyesight at the age of six due to exposure to direct sunlight. Patil studied in Kamala Mehta Dadar School for the blind. Patil underwent operations to reattach her retinas, but they were not successful. “When the surgeries were completed, I underwent a lot. The injury did not recede until at least a year,” she told Indian Express.
We should never be defeated and we should never give up. With our efforts, all of us will get that one breakthrough which we want. – Pranjal Patil
Support from Xavier’s Resource Centre for the Visually Challenged led her to being accepted at St. Xavier’s College where she studied Political Science.
Patil then finished her Masters in International Relations from Jawaharlal Nehru University, after which she pursued an integrated M.Phil and PhD programme.
Cracking the UPSC exam
In 2016, at the age of 26, Pranjal decided that she wanted to crack the UPSC. She got a software which would read the texts for her. She didn’t take any coaching for the UPSC exam as Patil believed that it would only be a burden on her. She only solved mock papers and attended discussions. Patil stated that she stayed away from all forms of opposition, which made her work more manageable. “Occasionally I would hesitate and revaluate my level of preparedness, but I let my sincerity lead the way,” Financial Express reported.
She cracked the Union Public Service Commission examination in 2016 and secured 773rd rank. After clearing the UPSC exams in the first attempt, Patil applied for a position in the Indian Railway Account Service. However, the railways declined to select her due to her vision.
“After the railways’ rejection, I was discouraged, but not willing to give up the fight. I again worked hard to increase my rank in the second try,” Patil told the Hindustan Times.
The Journey has just begun
She cracked the UPSC exam in the second attempt too and held 124th rank in the country. Finally, her hard work paid off as she was delegated the position of the Assistant Collector at Ernakulam. She previously had finished the first leg of her training at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, Mussoorie.
Patil says that nobody should view blindness as a hindrance.
Image Credit: ANI
Saumya Rastogi is an intern with SheThePeople.TV