The daughter of an auto rickshaw driver emerged the state topper of the Uttarakhand Provincial Civil Services (Judicial) exam held in 2016, the results of which were declared on Wednesday.
Poonam Todi’s road to success is an inspiration for thousands of students across India who give up hope in the face of failure. This girl, now making headlines as the state topper, appeared for the exam twice – but failed to make it beyond the interview round.
But she did not let those two unsuccessful attempts deter her confidence. Working twice as hard, she appeared for the exam a third time. And look at how she succeeded!
This Holi brought her humble family their most joyous moment when the news that Poonam had not only successfully cleared the exam but also topped the state arrived.
The youngster attributed her success to her family who she calls her rock-solid support.
Speaking to the Times of India, Poonam said, “My parents never pressured me to join a job to supplement the family’s income. Instead they always encouraged me to study further, which is why I was able to complete my MCom as well as law degrees.”
Her father, Ashok Todi, is a humble autorickshaw driver who earns around Rs 400-500 per day. He recalled his struggles as a small-time shop owner in Tehri. But the business did not do well.
“I then decided to shift to Dehradun. I started a shop here as well but it wasn’t successful either. I took to driving an auto rickshaw thereafter,” he told TOI.
The driver recounts how he and his wife would compromise on their own needs just to ensure that their four children had a good future.
“I am extremely happy that my daughter has now made not only me but the entire state proud,” he beamed.
Poonam spoke about the unbridled support her parents gave her when despite pursuing commerce she told them about her wish to study law.
“Though I pursued commerce after class XII, I was always drawn to law. Having seen struggle and hardships from close quarters, I wanted to help those who are economically backwards so that they are not deprived of justice,” Poonam told the Times of India.
Having completed her masters in commerce and LLB degree from DAV PG College, she is currently enrolled in the LLM programme at Tehri.
“Poonam’s achievement is a message for all parents that daughters can be a family’s pride,” said an emotional Lata, Poonam’s mother.