Meet 28-year-old Ummul Kher, a bright young woman who cleared the UPSC at one go and got an all India ranking of 420!
Ummul Kher. When she was 14, her parents disowned her because she wanted to study beyond Class 8. What took her ahead was sheer merit and determination as she went on to get admission in a prestigious Delhi University college and later entered JNU for her master’s. This week she cracked the civil services exam in her first attempt.
“I WAS ABUSED. MY INTENTIONS WERE QUESTIONED BECAUSE I WANTED TO STUDY. IT WAS THE WORST TIME. THEY SAID YOU HAVE NOW GOT MORE EDUCATION THAN A GIRL SHOULD.”
She never felt safe in Delhi. She says that this phase of her life was tougher than cracking UPSC.
She left home and took up a place in Jhuggi Jhopri (JJ) Cluster, Trilokpuri, for which she paid out of the money she earned from tuitions — a decision she feels was more difficult than cracking the civil services exam.
“I had started taking tuitions but living independently meant I had to earn more money. From few children the tuitions expanded to four batches — 3pm to 5pm, then from 5pm to 7pm, 7pm to 9pm and 9pm to 11 in the night. These were mostly children from slum areas and I got between Rs 50-100 from each student. I couldn’t have expected more as these were children of labourers, iron smith, rickshaw-pullers etc,” she added.
She passed her class 12th exams with 92% and got admitted in Delhi University, she pursued her Master’s from JNU. A faculty from JNU, Archana Upadhyay praised Ummul and said –
“DESPITE HER PHYSICAL CHALLENGES SHE WAS ALWAYS AT A PAR WITH OTHER STUDENTS AND EXCELLED IN BOTH ACADEMICS AND EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES,”
Ummul Kher, 28, got all India rank 420. She now hopes to get IAS under disability quota.
Talking about forgiving her parents, she humbly said, “I don’t blame them. They were brought up in an environment that shaped their thinking. It is not their fault.” She hasn’t called them up yet, but she will let them know. Her parents and brothers are currently living in Rajasthan.