Amidst all the fanfare and celebrations for top UPSC rank holders, the news about a young woman securing a rank of 99 would hardly garner any limelight.
But Namrata Jain and her success story is a paradox in every sense.
First of all, she hails from Dantewada district under the Bastar division, a region notoriously synonymous with the Red Corridor and probably one of the worst-affected Naxalite regions.
An alumnus of KPS Bhilai School and engineering degree holder from Bhilai Institute of Technology, this was Namrata’s second attempt for the coveted exams and news about her securing the rank was overjoying.
“I knew I had prepared really hard this time, but never in my dreams did I think that I would be able to secure a rank within the first 100. In fact, I feel on cloud nine!” Namrata says.
Having been mentored by a group of IAS and IPS officers under the Dantewada district administration, that included even the district collector, Namrata attributes her achievement to the teachers who guided her and helped her build her confidence for the final interview.
Saurabh Kumar, the district collector, feels the pride that any parent would feel upon watching their child take the first step and credits her achievement to her own hard work.
“Earlier, all we wanted was that more people aspire for civil services from the region, given the notion that everyone has because of the Naxal activity. We also wished that someday a person from Bastar division would become the district collector and with Namrata’s success, we know that day won’t be far away,” he says.
For the past three years, the district administrative officials have been spearheading a coaching academy, Lakshya, to train civil service aspirants from Bastar.
Dr. Gaurav Singh, who is the Zilla Panchayat Chief Executive Officer, also played an instrumental role along with the collector. “Namrata had been preparing for a while with an institution at Delhi, when someone, upon knowing that her hometown was Dantewada, remarked that she could probably learn a lot more from us,” he says.
And soon enough, she packed her bags and headed back home in pursuit of guidance.
The period being post mains, Namrata wanted to know how to present oneself during the interview and according to Gaurav, she always had doubts. “We had many sessions of mock interviews, where she would take feedback from us. To keep things more real, we had formed a board that included even my wife, who is an assistant professor, for the interview session,” he adds.
Saurabh mentions that this period also helped Namrata understand more about her own region and the shortcomings it lacked. “These sessions helped in drawing her attention to a lot of issues pertaining to the region, prompting her to think like a leader who could bring better changes to a downtrodden society,” he says.
Upon asking which department she would prefer, her immediate response was, the administrative services.
“After graduating from college, I had the choice and the opportunity to work for corporates but I was adamant about taking up civil services. Ideally, I would want to work in the Naxal-affected regions, and having personally witnessed the bloodbath and gore through the years, I would want to assist in its eradication and work towards developmental initiatives,” she says.
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Stories of young and driven people like Namrata and the dedication her mentors took in guiding her is beyond inspirational. “Individuals like Namrata are the beacons of hope for people in Chhattisgarh, a state that has probably seen more than a fair share of massacres in the current times. Given the right guidance and support, every child has the potential, despite the adversity”, Saurabh says.
May your success inspire many more youngsters to take up civil services and emerge victorious.
You can get in touch with Dantewada district collector at firstname.lastname@example.org.