In her very first attempt, twenty-two-year-old Tina Dabi topped the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) civil services examination. Tina is a resident of BSNL Colony on Kali Bari Marg near Gole Market in the heart of New Delh. Soon after the results, Tina’s house was flooded with press reporters, phone calls, friends and family congratulating her on her success.
Northwest Delhi MP and Dalit leader Udit Raj took twitter to congratulate her and tweeted, “Napoleon said that without opportunity ability can’t be cultivated. Dalit girl topped IAS & this could not have been possible 40-50 yrs back.”
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also congratulated Tina on Twitter: “Congrats to Delhi girl Tina Dabi, topper of UPSC exam. I wish her a bright career.”
Tina is a passout of Lady Shri Ram College and firmly believes in the idea of gender equality. To promote the same, Tina has opted for the IAS, with Haryana as her cadre preference. “I opted for Haryana because it presents such an interesting example, where you have a lot of economic progress but when it comes to social indicators you are lagging behind, and that is a very big paradox.” “What is actually holding Haryana back is its patriarchal mindset and the gender inequality, which is a subject very close to my heart, since I am a woman from a progressive family and have also studied in a college that lays great emphasis on gender equality, so that is something I want to change about the state,” she said.
Tina has a strong academic background with her mother and father both Indian Engineering Service (IES) officers. “My parents were the ones who suggested I consider a career in the services. They felt this was something I had a flare for, that I had the requisite qualities required for a bureaucrat, and could master the field. They were the ones who encouraged and guided me to consider it, and when I did some research myself, I realised this is what I wanted to do.” said Tina.
She was serious about her goals from the very start and gives the credit for her success to “strategy and planning”, placing emphasis on “having a schedule, weekly targets, and being disciplined and focused”. She spent a year attending coaching for the UPSC examinations, studied for 8-10 hours a day and waited until she reached the eligibility age of 21.
Tina’s role model, her mother on her topping the UPSC Examination in her very first attempt said “We are absolutely delighted with the results. We knew she would come in the merit list, but we never ever imagined she would top. As a parent I am very happy she is doing what she wants, that is all that matters. Great results are wonderful but that is not the main focus.I would say let the children do what they enjoy doing. There shouldn’t be any parental pressure on them. We hear of so many children going to places like Kota and being under so much pressure. This should not be the case.”
The second position after Tina was secured by Athar Aamir Ul Shafi Khan from Jammu and Kashmir, and the third position by Jasmeet Singh Sandhu, also a Delhi resident.