The programme was organised to honour them, and also to inspire other students who had not made it so far but were trying
A felicitation programme for toppers in UPSC exams was held at Kamani Auditorium by Aspire IAS, a coaching institute, and Dhara Foundation.
The event was organised to felicitate those who scored good ranks in UPSC exam after taking coaching from Aspire IAS. The event felicitated toppers like Nandini KR, who scored 457 marks and set an example for the rest of the students. Three parents, including parents of Nandini, were welcomed on the stage with the esteemed guest and topper students.
The guests invited to the event where KG Balakrishnan (former Chief Justice of India), Dr Bindeshwar Pathak (Founder and Director of Sulabh International), Anil Garg (activist), K.P. Chaudhary (Secretary General, All India Confederation of SC/ST Organizations) Meera Khanna (Vice President, Guild of Service) and Ankit Kumar Aggarwal (founder of Aspire IAS).
All the esteemed guests were welcomed with a shawl, flower, a basket of fruits and a memento.
Former CJI Balakrishnan
Balakrishnan was invited to address the students in the auditorium. He started his speech by wishing for the success of the students. He emphasised on the fact that in our country in addition to the metropolitan cities, smaller towns also need to be taken care of. The people there still do not have the facilities of toilets, proper food and education. He said that it’s everyone’s responsibility to provide them with these, and then only the whole nation will be equal in the real sense.
He added that this should be the main focus for the development of the nation. He quoted from experiences from his life and mentioned that we can do a lot of good deeds in our careers.
He requested the audience to come forward in bringing the backward areas of India to get equal importance. He wished for a bright future for all of them.
Dr Bindeshwar Pathak addressed the assembly of students and said that they should promise that they would never ever say that a particular file was not with them because of which they couldn’t help others.
He said they have a huge responsibility and people would reach out to them when they are in great pain and sorrow. They should never give any excuse to not help them. He mentioned that he came from a rich Brahmin family which later on became poor. And letting all the citizens know his story, he wanted to give the message that these students should work against discrimination, build more toilets to prevent open defecation and give a hand to the Swachh Bharat mission.
With this motivational speech he suddenly smiled and said he had got so deep into the speech that he had forgotten that his allotted speaking time was over! On a more serious note, he even mentioned that he was once selected for the selection committee for IAS. He was present in the interview for the IAS selections and even motivated the students who he thought were the perfect material and could get selected easily.
Meera Khanna addressed the gathering with an illustration which is believed to be a major problem today.
She said that it was a winter evening when she was having rajma chawal at home. She received a call from one of the shelter homes of her organization in J&K. She was told that they had only that night’s ration and the children in the shelter were hungry. She left her food and made some calls here and there. No government office was able to help them. It was the time when there was a curfew in J&K.
Then after calling a list of people they received some help from the military based in the state. The army agreed that they could provide some ration but someone should come and pick it from their base. At that time, no vehicle was allowed on the road. A driver from the nearby hospital came to the rescue and suggested that he could go and bring the food for them in his ambulance.
With this story, she wanted to explain to the students that whether they do get the jobs or not they should never back off from situations like these and always come forward to help. With this message, she congratulated all the toppers and wished for the success of the rest of the remaining or the upcoming students in future.
Anil Garg an activist by profession, took the students and the toppers attention to a whole new dimension where he displayed the struggle of the tribals in the rural area of India in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, etc. He informed the audience how the land and sand mafia was working in these areas and even got the stats related to this matter.
He quoted that Maoists are not Maoist by greed but by the circumstances and needs. They formed this group to fight against the zamindari system but later the movement was forced to shift its opposition to the government as they did not receive any help or support.
The common people, Garg said, tend to help them not because they are forced but they share the same mind sets but could not gather the guts to be one of them. Throughout the speech, he wanted to showcase the reality to the students and give them a better understanding of the problem.
His message to the toppers and the students was that most the new recruits are posted to places like these where tensions are high. So in case of any mishap in these areas, they should think with their minds open and not keep a blocked set of ideas that they are merely terrorists or something of that sort.
K. P. Chaudhary
K. P. Chaudhary and his organization works for the ST/SC communities all over the country and helps them get the proper education, health, jobs and better livelihood. He shared his enthusiasm with the toppers and tried to spread positivity to those who were not selected. He also shared his life story with the students present at the event. The parents of Nandini KR were invited on the stage to share their views on Nandini’s success. They were from Tamil Nadu and spoke in their language.
All the toppers were asked to introduce themselves. There came the best part when one of the toppers started by stating that while preparing for the IAS, some IAS officials had dishonoured him many times. Everyone in the crowd felt that he was expressing his anger toward the system. But he later twisted the speech and expressed his respects for his teachers.
He mentioned that he comes from a very remote place in Maharashtra and never knew what IAS was. He dedicated all his hard work to his teacher and mentor Ankit Kumar. The remaining toppers also shared their experiences with the students and guided them with methods of how to prepare for the exams and what all points one should keep in mind and how to go about it
Ankit Kumar addressed the gathering of students with a motivational speech and consoled them that they would be the next lot to be present on the stage next year. He shared his experiences with the toppers with rest of the students and informed that the students rented a flat near the coaching institute where they all would gather around for a round table conferences and took interviews of each other. He said that he had never seen any parent in his life like Nandini’s parents who were so much dedicated and worked hard day and night for their daughter. He added that the top four students will be honoured with a special gift. Later the special gift was unveiled in front of the crowd, which excited everyone: it was a Royal Enfield Bullet bike.
Then he mentioned that they’ll be inaugurating ‘GYANANJALI’ which will comprise of twenty under privileged students with a special accommodation where they will be provided coaching for the prelims and mains. Along with that, they’ll be monitored with regards to diet and physical activities. He added that they are expecting the selection of all twenty students in UPSC exams. The entrances for ‘GYANANJALI’ will be starting from 1 September. Those interested could check online and register themselves there.
At last Nandini KR, the topper of UPSC exams shared her thoughts where she mentioned that she used to travel with her family to remote areas in Tamil Nadu, as her father was assisting a group of officers to the local schools for the survey of the educational development of those areas. She used to observe a senior officer who used to meet people, listen to their problems and brought smiles to their faces.
Once she asked her father who is he? He later explained to her and since then she planned to become an IAS officer. She first came to Delhi after finishing her schooling. Here she came to know that along with studies one needs to work to sustain oneself. After a lot of hard work and dedication, she got a job in a government office. But she was not very happy with it. She then planned to go back to studies and got to know about ASPIRE IAS, a coaching institute which matched her timing. She used to finish her office work and rush for the classes in Rajender Nagar. She used to be late to classes and feared that she’ll be reprimanded, but she immersed herself into studies and got selected.
She said that we should never lose hope and just carry on our hard work and believe that the time is testing our patience; this will get you to the desired goal when it feels that you are ready to tackle it. She motivated the remaining students present in the auditorium. In the end of the event, everyone present on the stage was requested to come and light the ceremonial lamps.
Ankit Kumar explained that they didn’t light the ceremonial lamp at the beginning of the programme, as is the norm because it has a significant value as we light the lamps praying to Ma Saraswati. Lighting the lamps, in the end, would bring brightness to everyone present.
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