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Visually impaired teacher cracks UPSC exam top 50

Wed, 06/01/2022 - 11:13 -- geeta.nair

NEW DELHI: When 29-year-old Ayushi’s brother broke the news   to her on Monday that she had cleared the UPSC exam, it took  her a minute to register it.
“Honestly, I was expecting   my name in the list, but it was still a huge surprise to be   in the top 50. This was my fifth attempt. In the previous   attempts, I couldn’t even clear the mains. One gets  demotivated as it’s a long journey. But people looked up to   me with hope, and it helped me carry on,” Ayushi told  TOI, a day after achieving 48th  rank in the Civil Services Exam.

Ayushi is visually impaired, but that has certainly not deterred her in any way. Hailing from Delhi’s Rani Khera, she completed her BA programme from DU’s Shyama Prasad Mukherjee College (SPM) and went on to pursue her Masters in History from Indira Gandhi National Open University, followed by Bachelor of Education from Jamia Millia Islamia.
What makes her feat even more remarkable – apart from the fact that she’s one of only 25 people with disability to clear this year’s UPSC exam -- is that she found time to prepare while working as a history teacher at Government Girls Senior Secondary School No. 2 in north-west Delhi’s Mubarakpur.


I have been teaching since 2012. I worked as a contractual  staff in a municipal corporation school till 2016 and was  then appointed as a primary teacher. In 2019, I started  working as a history teacher at a Delhi government school,” said Ayushi, who had earlier topped the Delhi Subordinate Services Selection Board  (DSSSB) recruitment exam.

Asked why she decided to move from  teaching to civil services, Ayushi said, “I found teaching  offered me a lot of opportunities to make someone’s life  better and guide and inspire students. So, I thought UPSC  would give me a larger canvas to work with. I want increased   participation by differently-abled people in society and I I believe education is the biggest tool of empowerment…  People need to change their perspective towards the  differently-abled and treat them like others. There is still  a lot of stigma attached to it; I have faced it many times  too.”
Recalling that there was no dearth of encouragement  at home when it came to education, Ayushi said her parents  supported her in all her endeavours. “I’m lucky I have many   good people in my life. I also want to tell the parents of  those who are disabled that they should send their children  to school and have faith in them,” she told TOI.

While Ayushi’s mother was a senior nursing health officer  in the Delhi government till 2020 when she took VRS, her  father is a head dispenser in a private company in  Bathinda. Her younger brother is an excise inspector in  Gujarat.
When she was preparing for the UPSC exam,  Ayushi never attended any coaching classes, and took only mock tests. Her most important tip for aspirants is time management. “Even while going to work, I would read and listen to videos. I used to spend more than 40 minutes travelling to and from the school, and I did not let that time be wasted,” she said.

As she prepares to be posted   either in Delhi or Haryana, Ayushi said she wants to work “ deeply” in the field of education and utilise nearly 10 years of  experience. And even after she leaves her job at the school,  she wants to stay connected with the children, she added.

Keen to kickstart her new journey, Ayushi has words of  encouragement for people with disabilities:  Be confident and positive, don’t allow negative ideas to  enter your life and mind. Don’t underestimate yourself.”
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