Moradabad (Uttar Pradesh): She was born in a farmer’s family and faced several economic and societal challenges after her father died when she was just 14. But, destiny was on her side and hence she was able to graduate from St. Stephen’s DU, went on to study at Oxford University in London and later on also had a chance to work as an intern with Bill Clinton Foundation in New York and United Nations voluntary program in Indonesia. She also went to France as part of Paris School of International Affairs Exchange Program.
Already on such an astonishing career path, for Ilma Afroz - a graduate in Philosophy, however, this long international exposure never proved satisfying. Despite studying at the best institutions in India and abroad, and having worked at some of the world’s best places and with equally best employers, she always felt that something was missing in her life.
“Looking at the glittering Empire State Building from the 22nd floor of my apartment in Manhattan, New York I was always reminded of the twinkling eyes of the young children in my village who used to see at me with hope and as one of their own who can bring a change in their modest life. Thousands of miles away from them, yet they used to make me restless”, Ilma said while talking to ummid.com.
“It was under this situation that I decided to pack up and join the Civil Services”, Ilma, who hails from Kundarki village in Mordabada district of Uttar Pradesh, said.
Two years after she returned to India, Ilma Afroz is now all set to join the coveted Indian Police Services (IPS). The achievement came last Friday when the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) declared the results of the 2017 Civil Services Examinations and Ilma ranked 217th in the list of 990 recommended for India’s top government posts.
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Like earlier stages in her life, Ilma did not opt for the traditional route to crack the UPSC Civil Services Exams, considered as one of toughest exams in India. She said she was not comfortable with the coaching classes.
“The NCERT textbooks from standard 6th to 12th are enough to build the foundation for the UPSC Civil Services Prelims. I don’t think someone who is eying the country’s key posts should depend on coaching classes to study these textbooks”, Ilma asked.
“But yes”, she added, “You need a good library for a perfect study to crack the exams. For this I chose the library of Jamia Millia Islamia and found it the best for the purpose.”
Having cracked the UPSC Civil Services Exams, Ilma now also wants to revive ‘Hope’ the foundation she had established a couple of years ago to help the destitute, especially the children in her neighborhood.
“It was for these children that I had spurned the plum postings and decided to join the civil services. It was to contribute for my beloved country India – the most beautiful place in the world, that I have come back from abroad. I am grateful to the God that He has given me this opportunity”, she said, her voice full of emotions.
Ilma is so deep in love for India that the first thing she uttered immediately after her younger brother Arafat Afroz, who is also preparing for the Civil Services Exams, shared the news of her success was “Jai Hind”. And her mother, while praying for her gleefully says, “Tujhe desh ke liye likh diya (I dedicate you for the country).”
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