Neha Pandita, a refugee, living in a tent cracked the prestigious Kashmir Administrative Services exam securing the fourth rank.
Pandita’s journey to the civil service has been an incredible story of courage and determination.
She was just an infant when her family migrated from Shopianto Jammu where they settled in a tent on the outskirts of the town when terrorists burned down their ancestral home in the valley.
Shopian district has been one of the areas most affected by militancy in Jammu and Kashmir.
“After migrating from the valley, we just took care of her, I didn’t have a job, everything was gone,”
said Roshan Lal, father of Neha who comes from agriculturist background and now rely on monthly cash relief and ration provided by the government for the Kashmiri Pandit migrants.
Too young to understand the pain of losing a home, in the family of five her life along with her parents has been a struggle but still never once she let circumstances come in the way of her studies from high school to post-graduation. Pandita holds a master’s degree in organic chemistry and a bachelor’s degree in education. Therefore, for 27-year-old Pandita, cracking the Kashmir Administrative Service (KAS) exams is more than special and scoring ranked fourth is a treasured prize.
“I want to serve in Jammu, but if I am sent to serve in my hometown in the valley, I will not hesitate to go, no doubt it is a militancy riddled area, but I want to work there,” she said.
Last year she was appointed as an accounts assistant in the Shopian district treasury under the Prime minister’s special jobs scheme for Kashmiri Pandits.
Residents of the Jagti Camp where the family of Neha resides gathered to congratulate the first-ever woman migrant staying in the camp for clearing the exams of Kashmir Administrative Service. The Jagti Campus located in the Nagorta Assembly constituency in the outskirts of Jammu which houses over 4,500 families of displaced Kashmiri Pandits.
Meanwhile, the government didn’t miss a chance to appreciate her incredible achievement-
The chief minister of Kashmir, Mehbooba Mufti tweeted: “Congratulations to Kashyap Neha Pandita for ranking 4th in the Kashmir Administrative Service exams. Braving all odds with her hard work & perseverance she has made her state & her country proud“.
Congratulations to Kashyap Neha Pandita for ranking 4th in the Kashmir Administrative Service exams. Braving all odds with her hard work & perseverance she has made her state & her country proud.
— Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) December 22, 2017
Naeem Akhtar, Minister for Public Works also visited her quarter in the migrant camp to personally congratulate Neha and her family.
Pandita attributing her success to her parents, uncle, and brother she said that her second attempt, apart from the one-month coaching, she studied on her own as she was unable to pay for the coaching, revising her lessons for 12 to 14 hours a day.
Neha and her story is a role model for the Kashmiri youths who have suffered due to conflict, her stubbornness and courage is now an inspiration for the youngsters who want to follow her footsteps.