Khargone/Kolkata: Garima Agrawal, did something that most Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) aspirants fail to do – crack the UPSC 2017 examination in her very first attempt. The 26-year-old, a resident of Khargone, Madhya Pradesh happens to be the second topper from the heartland of India. She also is the third in India, whose sibling too has cleared the UPSC. It’s not just cracking India’s most prestigious examination that makes her stand apart but her outlook towards the society and women empowerment.
Garima, who in all probability will become an Indian Police Service (IPS) officer, while speaking to eNewsroom, said, “I always aspired to join the police service, so I am not disappointed for not securing a rank which would allow me to become an IAS officer.”
Explaining her choice, she said, “I believe that more women should be in the police service. At present there is a need of women to be at the helm of handling the law and order of the country. For, when a woman remains at the top position like Superintendent of Police (SP), other women themselves feel connected and look up to her.”
Garima’s elder sister Preeti Agrawal too had cleared UPSC in 2013 and is now working with the Indian Postal Service. Preeti’s husband, Shekhar Kumar, from Giridih, is an Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer. The couple is posted in Delhi.
So, did that help in any way – having civil servants within the family? Answering that she said, “No doubt, it adds to your confidence. But one has to study alone and put in a lot of hard work, no one can do that for you.” Then she added, “But, as a matter of fact, two sisters clearing UPSC has really sent out a message that every girl is capable of doing wonders, provided she gets enough support and encouragement from family. In our case, while our parents were very supportive. They let us dream big, despite the society as a whole not being with us. We come from a Marwari community, where people still believe that for a girl, the ultimate thing is to get married and settle down.”
Elaborating on her journey, she maintained that her path was definitely not an easy one, despite her sister having walked on that track. “I chose to anchor myself in Delhi to prepare for my UPSC examination. My parents were worried for my safety while the society was creating pressure of a different sort. I had a tough time to convince and be at Delhi to pursue dream.”
Garima, an engineer, from IIIT, Hyderabad, did her internship in Germany. Following which she had even got a job offer from Germany, which she turned down, as she wanted to stay in India.
When asked, why most engineers opt for civil services? In fact, this year number of engineering background candidates clearing UPSC is the highest, she replied, “I had been asked a similar question during the UPSC interview. They had asked, why so many candidates from engineering background candidates had made it to the interview list. My response remains the same, there is a good number of engineering colleges in India. And Mathematics being a core subject in engineering, the engineers do better in cracking the written tests. Their reasoning skills also are better, and approach remains scientific.”
Garima maintains that her schooling from a Hindi medium school has in no ways been an obstacle for her. She had secured 92 percent for her secondary and 89 percent for her higher secondary examinations. He excellent state board result had helped her bag a year of education in the United States. Through Rotary International Youth Exchange Programme, she completed a year of her higher secondary education from Minnesota, USA.
Her father Kalyan Agarwal is a state convener of BJP’s business wing.