By Sheshu Babu*
Through persistent struggles, the differently abled have achieved access to crucial jobs in society. The number might be small but they have proved that ‘disability ‘ is not hindrance to performing important productive tasks in society.
Pranjal Patil, the young woman who battled great odds to become the country’s first visually challenged woman IAS officer took over as sub-collector in Thiruvnanthapuram on Monday (“Pranjal Patil, first visually challenged woman IAS officer takes over as sub-collector of Thiruvananthapuram”, October 14 2019,thehindu.com). The loss of vision at six did not deter the youngster from pursuing civil service exam.
She assumed charge in the presence of district collector K Gopalakrishnan and the staff of District Collectorate.
According to the Times of India, Patil hails from Ulhasnagar in Maharashtra. She completed her graduation with a master’s in International Relations from Jawaharlal Nehru University. (“First Visually Challenged Woman IAS officer”, October 16, 2019, ritzmagazine.in). She was ranked 733 in her first attempt in civil services in 2016 and 124 the next year.
“We should never be defeated and we should never give up because with our efforts, all of us will get that one breakthrough we want”, said Pranjal, the 30-year-old Kerala cadre officer. Despite cracking the civil service exam, she was refused an appointment at Indian Railway Accounts Services in 2016 (“Pranjal Patil – The Nation’s First Visually Impaired IAS Officer is an Inspiration to All!” Posted October 16, 2019,womensweb.in).
But she did not lose hope. With her strong will and determination, she cracked again and also improved her rank. She was appointed as the Ernakulam Assistant Collector during her training period.
She is brave and confident. “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 subdivisions” (“Meet Pranjal Patil, India’s first visually challenged IAS Officer”, October 14, 2019 , by Saumya Rastogi, shethepeople.tv). Patil says that nobody should view blindness as a hindrance.
Her struggle should inspire other disabled persons who have to cope-up with adverse situations. Despite being rejected once, she continued her pursuit and did not lose hope. She could achieve her goal finally with a lot of effort.
Society, colleagues and government should encourage differently abled persons to take up such high profile jobs and should lend maximum co-operation so that they can perform to the best of their abilities.
They should be given plenty of opportunities for developing their skills and participate in productive work for the welfare of society. If disabled are given a chance to take up crucial jobs, they can prove that they can work with determination and zeal.
*The writer from anywhere and everywhere is interested in human rights issues. Some poems appeared in Dissident Voice, Leaves of Ink, Scarlet Leaf Review, PoemHunter and Virasam etc.