While India is discussing the feats of Tina Dabi, the 22-year-old political science graduate who topped the Civil Services Examination (CSE), 2015 in her first attempt, there is also a 26-year-old Pranjal Patil who cracked the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) exams in one go despite being visually challenged.
Her All India Rank is 773.
All you need to know about Pranjal:
1. She is from Ulhasnagar city of Thane district in Maharashtra.
2. Pranjal was blinded at the age of six when her classmate poked a pencil in one of her eyes. Eventually, her other eye was also damaged.
3. She cleared her Class X exams in braille from Smt. Kamla Mehta School for the Blind in Dadar, Mumbai. She scored 85 per cent in her Class XII and ranked first in the Arts section of Chandibai College.
However she used a new education technology for her graduation in Political Science from Mumbai’s St. Xavier’s College and Master of Arts in International Relations from Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU).
“In my education technology played an important role. I got this software installed on my computer which would read out chapters from various books for me,” she told DNA.
She started to prepare for her childhood dream of becoming an IAS officer while doing her M.Phil.
4. Preparing for the UPSC exams was not an easy task for her. For this, she got a software called Job Access With Speech (JAWS). Using this computer screen reader program, she could scan printed documents to create text-to-speech output, or a Refreshable Braille display. Next she found her a writer.
“I had perfect tuning with Vidushi (her writer). She would scold me if I slowed down during the exam. It was like I uttered a word, and it was on paper,” Pranjal told The Better India.
She said she attempted each question despite her not being able to take coaching classes.
“But I went for test series from ALS academy in Delhi,” she added.
5. She says she doesn’t have a preferred cadre.
“I do not know where I will be posted. But I am ready for all challenges,” she told Big Wire.
6. Her inspiration is Daisaku Ikeda, a Buddhist philosopher, educator, author and anti-nuclear activist from Japan.
7. She is married to Komal Singh Patil, who is a cable operator by profession.
“Whatever I have achieved today is because of mu husband, parents and friends,” she said.
Sreya is based in Kolkata. She is a Senior Editor of Big Wire.