“We are only as blind as we want to be”.
Nothing can sum up the story of professor-turned-IAS officer Ajit Kumar Yadav better than this adage. Yadav, who lost his vision at the tender age of five years after suffering from an acute case of diarrhoea, is only the second ever blind candidate to secure the coveted seat of an IAS officer.
Even after losing his vision, Ajit did not lose vision of his dreams. His brilliant performance, right from his school days, made it evident that a diligent IAS officer was in the making. He topped his Class X board exams. He also cleared the UGC NET-JRF and worked as an assistant professor with Delhi University. But in 2005, when the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh opened the doors of IAS to the visually impaired, Yadav was motivated to join the administration.
• THE SUCCESS AND THE STRUGGLE
Yadav appeared for the civil services exam in 2008 and ranked 208 out of 791. While expecting a letter for induction into the IAS, he was instead offered a seat in Indian Railway Personnel Service. He fought back, filing a case against the discrimination. The Central Administrative Tribunal ruled in his favour in 2010, but he still had a long way to go. After fighting for two long years, his appointment letter finally arrived on February 14, 2012.
• THE TOOLS AND THE TASKS
Having gone through his probation, Ajit joined his IAS post as joint secretary, department of industries, in Tripura in 2012 and since May 2014, he has been serving as the SDM of Ambassa, Tripura. From Braille pens to various enabling software such as JAWS (Jobs Access With Sppech), Ajit has had an array of technological tools which help him work. Ajit shows equal keenness in the field work that his job demands. He’s tough on offenders and makes sure they are duly penalised. Recently, he stopped the marriage of a minor orphan girl and booked the 40-yr old groom for the crime.
Ajit says, “If you want to bring about a change in someone’s life, you need to add motivation… But having got my dream job isn’t everything.” This is what the words of an ambitious change-maker sound like.
We cannot appreciate Mr. Ajit Kumar Yadav enough for his undying spirit and determination to achieve what he wanted to. His perseverance and firmness have helped him look beyond his blindness. Acquiring a position as esteemed as that of an IAS, Ajit has not only scored a victory against his disability, but also has motivated and inspired hundreds other like him to work harder.
Columnist: Sakshi Singhal