May 10, 2010 1:23:59 am
When,as a young girl,Sandeep Kaur visited the office of her fathers boss,she made a resolution to be on the other side of the table that her father served.
Her father Ranjit Singh was a peon,and worked in the office of the sub-registrar of the Revenue department,cleaning away the used glasses,cups,dustbins,etc.
On May 6,Kaurs dream came true when she ranked 138th in the open merit list of the All India Civil Services Examinations. A civil engineer from the Punjab Engineering College (PEC),Kaur is from the Ramdasia Scheduled Caste. She hopes to better her rank in the reserved category list which is yet to be declared.
The news about her achievement has just begun to sink in her hometown Morinda,which is 30 km from Chandigarh. The small town,mostly of small farmers and traders,has been abuzz with mediapersons heading for the small house in Ward 8 near the sub-tehsil office where Singh works has a Class IV employee.
The tall girl,clad simply in a salwar kameez and flanked by her mother Amarjit Kaur and grandfather Mohinder Singh,doesnt tire talking about her journey from a local private school to the PEC. Her early years as an engineering graduate was a struggle as the 29-year-old didnt get a job for the first two years. She then decided to put her engineering career on hold.
The baptized Sikh girl appeared continuously since 2005 except in 2008. In 2007,she had missed a spot by just three marks in the Civil Services (Mains). Kaur said: My family is my pillar of strength as they always supported and encouraged me to pursue my studies.
The television serial Udaan about a poor girl making it to the IPS was her inspiration. I am proud to be a peons daughter and have always wanted to make my father proud, Kaur said.
Her father,however,does not wish to take voluntary retirement,nor is Kaur pushing him to. Ranjit Singh will serve for the next five years till the superannuation.
Kaurs main aim is to fight the social evil of female foeticide and to warm people to the achievements of girls. She said: I have been given preference for the Punjab cadre for launching this crusade.
Eldest of four siblings,Kaur has no plans to marry yet. Her younger sister Hardeep Kaur,25,has recently been recruited as a contractual teacher at a local government school. Another sister Mandeep Kaur,21,is preparing for the medical entrance exam while brother Gurpreet Singh,23,is studying law at Panjab University.
Apart from taking coaching classes and personality-enhancement sessions,Kaur also visited Delhi regularly for special assistance. Her father funded her studies through bank loans and money borrowed from other sources. Kaur said: With not much guidance,I depended on coaching,classmates,newspapers,magazines and literature to chase my passion.
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