“Mission accomplished HCS-2019” reads the poster pasted on Shivjeet Bharti’s white board atop her study table at her residence in Jaisinghpura village in Panchkula district of Haryana. Outside in the portico, there are piles of newspapers stacked neatly.
Daughter of a newspaper vendor, Gurman Saini, and Anganwadi worker, Sharda Saini, Shivjeet Bharti (26), is among the 48 candidates who have made it to Haryana Civil Services (Executive) cadre in the final list declared on December 21, 2019.
The eldest of three siblings of whom the youngest is a child with special needs, Shivjeet says growing up in a family with limited means but a strong social conscience, she always wanted to study hard and join the civil services. “For many like me, getting a job is the core aim when we are growing up.
I am the eldest among my siblings. My younger sister is doing her post-graduation in public administration while my younger brother is a special child. But, I always wanted to join the civil services.’’
In a state that has till recently been grappling with a skewed sex ratio and gender discrimination that put a lid on the ambition of a large swathe of girls in the countryside, Shivjeet’s story is inspirational.
Besides Shivjeet, there are many other successful candidates who come from humble family backgrounds. These include anganwadi workers’ sons, a retired tubewell pump-operator’s son, and a mason’s son.
Shivjeet’s father, Gurman, recalls his journey from accompanying his father to the fields, to being a social worker, and then a newspaper vendor. “As a social worker, I sometimes had to go to district administration offices. I used to get extremely upset when I would see the endless wait for an audience with an officer, and the red-tapism. I hope, Shivjeet and many others like her can bring about a positive change in the system. I hope she will understand the necessity of promptly redressing people’s grievances”.
Leadership came naturally to Shivjeet. She was in college when she set up the maiden club for girls in her small village comprising 400-odd households. Good at Mathematics, she got admission to the prestigious Department of Mathematics at Panjab University, Chandigarh, and was soon elected the Department Representative (DR).
After successfully completing post-graduation in Mathematics (Hons) from PU, she began to run Mathematics coaching classes at her residence for children in the neighbourhood.
All along, she continued to pursue her dream of civil services. “I have given my Mains exam, and am waiting for the result. Meanwhile, I thought I should take Haryana Civil Services examination and see if I can crack it. I did it, so that I can get some financial stability and social security. Now, one mission is accomplished, UPSC is the next target”, Shivjeet smiles.
The smile hides days, months and years of hard work. “It was not easy for me when I left home, stayed in Delhi for 10 months and took coaching for UPSC. But all this helped me crack the HCS examination,’’ says Shivjeet.
State-specific general knowledge matters a lot in HCS, she adds. Shvijeet recalls how she used to work on her General Knowledge on Haryana by watching videos on YouTube and reading newspapers and periodicals.
There have been several instances of alleged nepotism in HCS recruitment in Haryana in the past where kin of ministers, their aides, serving bureaucrats making it to the coveted HCS cadre.
“People used to tell me that, even if I clear the examination I will have to pay lots of money for the final selection. However, I never faced any issue. My father had told me that no matter what, he will not pay a single paisa as bribe. I believe the entire recruitment was done with utmost fairness and solely on merit,” Shivjeet added.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines