25-year-old Purna Sunthari Murugesan from Madurai got the 286th rank in civil services exams for which the results were out a couple of weeks back. Purna, who is visually-impaired, thanks her parents and teachers for supporting her throughout her journey. In ‘My Take’ this week, Purna talks to Newz Hook about her upcoming plans.
I remember having problems with my eyesight in class 1. I told my teachers I was unable to see anything on the black board. I started going close to the black board so I could see what was written. By the time I was six or seven years old, I lost my vision completely due to retinal detachment.
I was born and brought up in Madurai and studied in inclusive schools with the help of special educators whose contributions helped me immensely. After completing class 4 at Holy Family Special School, I switched to KNPM School in Madurai. It was a wonderful school that helped me grow and flourish. Apart from attending regular classes, there were special sessions to help me understand lessons better. I also used to learn from tape-recorders. My parents and teachers would record lessons for me.
It was not just in academics, my teachers introduced me to extra-curricular activities too. I was an orator and singer as well. Participating in district and state level competitions helped me improve my skills in recitation and speeches. I won many awards as well and my teachers encouraged me to appear confidently on stage.
My family, which has my father Murugesan, mother Avudai Devi and a younger brother who is currently pursuing his B.Com., have been pillars of strength.
When I was a child, my father used to read out the daily news to me. I remember that is how I came to first know about what a District Collector was. The works done by that particular civil servant inspired and motivated me. I dreamt of being one amongst them.
While pursuing my BA in English Literature, I started noting keenly what IAS officers do. My friends and teachers helped me a lot to work on my dreams. I came to know about the role of an IAS officer in policy making. I knew I was eligible for the role and started working on it.
It took me five years to clear the exam. I got through in my fourth attempt. In my first attempt in the year 2016, I couldn’t even clear my prelims. In the second attempt, I gave in all my efforts even while working for a clerical post in a bank. I studied during odd hours after work. It was hectic. In my third attempt, I lost a rank for 13 marks. So this is my fourth attempt and my efforts have borne fruits.
I used audio files and recordings to study. Obviously, the path was not easy but an extremely tough one. But I was determined to give my fullest.
“I believe in myself and also believe that you have to hold full responsibility for your life. Hard work and dedication will never go wasted. Just don’t give up. I’am looking forward to becoming a District Collector and also become an integral part in policymaking for my country”.