5 years of a continuous state of distress, failures and disappointments, day and night. Anyone can be broken, but it was the indomitable spirit of Nivedita which prevailed over all adversities…
Coming from the sleepy town of Ranchi, Nivedita Prasad was born to an upper-middle-class family. One may conclude that her road to Civil Services must have been a cakewalk. This is how society perceives people who belong to urban well-to-do families. But it is not always the case. Such children often have their own set of struggles and challenges.
Nivedita was blessed to have parents who never thought educating girls would be a liability and additional burden on them, along with the ever hanging sword of dowry. Instead, they were very progressive and encouraged their daughter to pursue her dreams, have a career and create an identity for herself because that’s the only way she can deal with any untoward situations that life will present itself with.
Nivedita was groomed towards carving a personality of her own. From her childhood, she aspired to become a Doctor and serve society. But in spite of all the hard work, all her efforts were in vain as she failed to make it to any medical college. Destiny, however, had other plans and she opted for masters degree in Humanities and then Rural Management. She was happy exploring the field of Rural Management, but somewhere she felt that bureaucrats with the government had a wider scope of work and the decision making power to help the masses at the grass-root levels. This thought was on her mind for a long time. One such night she was introspecting about her life, her career and her innate quality to help others who are in dire need. This is when the thought of Civil Services emerged. It was the year 2005 when she decided to write UPSC’s Civil Service Examination. In her mind, she always knew that she had the potential, all she had to do was pursue it with all her determination. However, destiny had designed many tougher exams for Nivedita.
She lost two of her sisters within six months. Things weren’t easy for her, such a tragedy was deeply hurting, she was in terrible grief. It was a tough decision but she knew she had to continue her preparations to achieve her goals. “Ï remember, around the first week of June while returning back from Pune after cremation of my sister, I was in two minds whether I should go to Delhi to take coaching in Public Administration or should I stay back with my parents in Ranchi, for they needed all the emotional support after such a turbulence.” Blessed she was to have parents who asked her to go ahead with coaching, with an assurance that they will take care of themselves and drop in Delhi to stay with her and her sister, who was working there.
In 2006 when Nivedita wrote her prelims for the first time, she failed to clear it.
Destiny, on the other hand, had plotted even more difficulties for her. February 2007, her mother was diagnosed with liver cirrhosis and she was admitted to the hospital for a month. She got busy taking care of her mother and her entire focus shifted to mothers health. She went on to a great extent to take care of her mother. Suddenly, one fine day she felt weakness due to the constant running around. After a few tests, her Doctor diagnosed and confirmed that she has succumbed to jaundice.
The timing was so bad for her that this happened merely a month before the Prelims of 2007.
“It was not only jaundice but measles and tonsillitis at the same time. I was scared to the extent that I started to feel that I am the next one in the household to get a call from god. It was terrible pain and I was on no medication and no painkillers. All was left to natural healing. But that affected my eyesight for a few days and my sister read out the notes to me before my Prelims… you know that does not work. Yet I took that attempt, and no surprises, I didn’t clear.”
By that time, Nivedita started contemplating on the idea of giving up on her pursuit of Civil Service Exams. There was a constant battle in her mind where on one hand she wanted to give up and on the other hand, the fighter within her urged to fight on.
“I was in two minds- whether it is the circumstances which is not letting me clear any level or whether something is wrong with my preparations. So I decided to give one more try before exiting from the process.” Next year she cleared Prelims but was unsuccessful in Mains. Now, she was left with only one final attempt, with great perseverance and hard work under such adverse situations, she made it to the final list in her last attempt in the year 2010. The only source of motivation for Nivedita was her parents, and the words of her father, “Never Give Up”.
“I still remember the thoughts I got while entering into the exam hall before Prelims when I said to my self – I have nothing to lose now. Probably, that was the biggest fear that I had overcome and went with the natural flow. I enjoyed writing my last attempt.”
Clearing Civil Service Exams is a life-changing experience for everyone, but it has great importance when cleared by a Girl – it is one of the biggest tools to social mobility and for women, a great source of identity.
Nivedita is an inspiration to so many girls from the remote areas of the country.
Today when she looks back at her life, she has a great sense of satisfaction because whatever she has achieved has come with a great struggle and hard work. Her parents are very proud of her. She has fulfilled their dream and is very successful in her career.
“Today, when I look back, I feel how many people are fortunate enough to get into the place where they would have wanted to? I saw ups and downs, but all’s well at the end. In life, we are left with no choice but to be strong and if we don’t even exercise this choice, we are bound to doom. Things don’t come in a platter to anyone, one has to earn it. And if the platter you wanted does not come to you, there might be some other platter- we have to explore that. The reason why I stuck to picking up this platter could be because I was left with no choice – I had quit the job, shrunk my social circle and had limited interaction with people. I really can’t say.”
The primary role of a fighter is to fight until the end … Nivedita did the same …
Our world needs many such fighters.