The Union Public Services Commission examination is one of the toughest in the country, and for a visually challenged candidate, the difficulty level probably multiples manifold. However, 27-year-old Satender Singh, who ranked 714th in UPSC 2018, has proved that determination can turn the impossible into a reality. Satender’s remarkable story:
After the results got declared on April 5, Satender said, “For my parents, who really struggled through life undergoing multiple adversities, this was the best I could give them. Hearing them speak of my achievement with pride in their voices makes it all worth it.”
Satender lost his eyesight at the age of One and a Half Year when he was given a wrong medication.
During initial days, Satender used to sit around for long; learning everything that was taught in school.
“I wanted to prove that I could learn better than the children in my locality despite my limitations,” he said.
Coming from a farmers’ family, there were naturally no facilities in a small town, and none to guide him.
Then, one of his uncles came to his rescue.
Uncle enrolled him to Government School for Blind Boys in Delhi, where he experienced Braille language for the first time.
Although he felt like going back home initially, with time he learned the skills and cleared Class XII in 2009.
Exemplary performance in Class XII: He got himself enrolled into St. Stephen’s College’s BA program.
Coming from a Hindi medium school, he experienced language barrier in college.
However, with his determination, he mastered the art of English language in a year, and made an alien environment his own.
Later, Satender got into Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) for an MPhil on International Relations.
He recalled, “Everyone, from a son of a rickshaw puller to those from elite families, was seen sitting together and discussing their ideas on the Indian democracy.”
He Wanted to prove physical limitations is never an obstruction!
All his life, whenever people came to know about his disability, they would pity him.
After he enrolled for MPhil in JNU, he decided to break the prejudices and stop being an object of sympathy.
“By cracking the civil services exam, I wanted to prove that a body, with its physical limitations, is never an obstruction in the realization of your goals,” he said.
Later, a month before his Mains exam in 2017, he was badly affected by a severe intestinal infection leaving him weak and a long recovering time undid his preparations.
Talking about that low point in his life, Satender said, “At the time, I didn’t think that I could embrace these hardships. But I persevered, finishing my MPhil, and also starting my PhD from JNU, which focused on addressing issues of sovereignty in the cyberspace.”
However, in 2018 things changed and how Satender cleared the UPSC exam.
He gives credit to his girlfriend, who wishes to remain unnamed, for keeping him away from stress.
“Though I was living in a hostel, she made sure that I ate well, stayed calm and composed. She supported me through all these hardships. I owe a great deal to her,” he added.
‘Success and failures just means to larger goals in life’
“If you keep these things in mind, you’ll be surprised by your abilities. Success and failures are just a means to larger goals in life. Cracking the UPSC isn’t the final goal, but the means to proceed towards greater things.”