N Ambika got married to a cop at the age of 14 and by 18 she was already the mother of two kids. What possibly could happen to this woman than a lifelong sentence of domesticity?
It all began when she accompanied her husband to watch the Republic Day Police parade. She noticed the respect and admiration bestowed on two senior Police officers. “I want people to salute me, show me the same respect,” she told her husband. The amused husband tried to tell her that it was not an easy dream to achieve and that it not only requires one to pass an IPS entrance exam but also years of service to reach the position of a DGP or IG. And here she was, a school drop-out and a mother. But Ambika had already made up her mind. If she was required to become an IPS officer for people to salute her with that much respect, then so be it.
She passed the 10th through private coaching and later graduated with flying colours. But Dindigul didn’t have a Civil service examination coaching centre. Her husband arranged accommodation for her in Chennai and promised to take care of the children. But Ambika failed her exams. The couple didn’t lose heart and she tried for a second time only to fail again. When she didn’t pass the third attempt, her husband told her to pack her bags, but Ambika wanted to try for one last time. This time she passed the mains, prelims and the interview of the Civil service test. Her name was included in the 2008 IPS list. Her first posting was at Maharashtra and within no time she earned the name of ‘Lady Singham.’ In 2019 when she was the Deputy Commissioner of Police in Maharashtra, she was chosen for the Lokmath Maharashtrian of the Year award.
We are always eager to blame our failure on others. If you can’t find someone to blame, then we turn to our circumstances or our economic backdrop or upbringing. That’s where Ambika is special. Instead of blaming her parents or her fate for her adolescent marriage, she took destiny in her hands and strived hard to make it work. Her journey would have been difficult as she was also waging a war against the patriarchal system within the family. Not many would have taken kindly to the mother of two children opting to enter the police force. That’s where her husband’s support was so crucial to her. That, combined with her willpower helped her reach her goal. Truly this is an inspirational story of grit and determination.
Our second such story is about Rajasthan’s Sonal Sharma. Her father was a milkman and she used to start her mornings cleaning the cattle sheds, milking the buffaloes and distributing milk on a cycle. The barns would invariably end up as her study room. A bright student, no one was surprised when she topped BA, LLB and LLM. “My classmates would make fun of my cow dung smelling clothes which made me feel ashamed of my father’s job but today I am proud of my parents,” the 26-year-old Sonal had said when she got posted as a Magistrate after passing the Rajasthan Judicial test in 2018.
She was the first one to reach the library every day. At the barn, Sonal would gather the metal tins and convert them into a study table. Her story is an inspiration for all those boys and girls who despite having all the facilities at home, laze around without any focus and end up failing their exams. Here is a girl who didn’t have basic facilities at home, sold milk for a living and yet topped every examination.
And finally, listen to this tiny story as well. It’s about this poor farmer Mangal Chand Thilothiya who worked at the fields at night and a shoe shop during the day to take care of his three daughters. His eldest daughter was married off at the age of 16 but Mangal Chand made sure he had reserved enough funds for her education. Last December 20th she acquired a PhD in Geography from JJT University. And not just that, his second daughter, Kiran and third daughter Anita took PhD in Chemistry and Education from the same university respectively. Though the father was illiterate, he drudged all his life to provide them with the finest education.
Now you read the stories of all these women together and ask yourself - isn’t what they achieved quite a feat? Doesn’t it require pure grit, hard work, patience and determination to reach where they are today?
Sanshayatma vinashyati or If you believe, it’s truer, quoted the Gita (4:40). The ones who lack self-esteem and don’t listen to those who believe in their abilities end up losing so much in this world. You need to be confident of your abilities, and not be plagued by self-doubts. There was Einstein who famously said - “It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with the problems longer.” The world needs people who can face their problems head-on and come out of it with a winning smile. They are the real winners. “Great things happen when men and mountains meet,” poet and painter William Blake had said.
‘Maata Shathru: pitha vairi, yena balo na paditha:
Na shobhathe sabha madhye hamsa madhye bako yadha’ -Neethisaram
Parents who don’t give education to their education are evil. Such children turn out to be like ducks lost in the company of swans. This is a warning to all those parents who are neglecting their children. Let's focus on these outstanding winners and learn something from it.