**Chandigarh:** IAS aspirants in this country go through years of tutoring and take several attempts to obtain a decent score in Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) 2011 exam. But, this 30-year-old Chandigarh girl who failed standard six, battled depression and still managed to sail through the tough exam without any coaching is different from the mainstream. Her story is an inspiration for everyone in this country who has given up and accepted failure instead putting the past behind and moving on.
Rukmani was born to retired Deputy District Attorney of Hoshiarpur, Baljinder Singh Riar and his wife Takdeer Kaur in Gurdaspur district, Punjab. The young girl, was sent to boarding schooling, Sacred Heart School at Dalhousie in Himachal Pradesh.
Moving to a new place, away from parents caused her anxiety and homesickness, which ultimately led to her failing class VI. Soon depression and fear of failure clutched her life pushing her towards dead end.
But Rukmani fought back bravely. Her depression of the failure helped her a lot as she made herself so strong and decided not to complain or blame anyone for it. She joined the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai in 2005 and passed out in 2008 getting the gold medal with distinction.
On completing her degree, she also interned with Planning Commission of India and NGOs like Ashodaya in Mysore and Annapurna Mahila Mandal in Mumbai to understand the underlying problems of Indian society better. Eventually, she decided to bring change in the society by doing public service.
In 2011, she became a household name by bagging the second All India Rank in her first UPSC attempt. Unlike her friends who studied for 10 to 12 hours a day, Rukmani only studied for six hours. For her exam that was scheduled in June 2011, she had started preparing in August 2010.
Rukmani, who is also interested in writing poetry, is a true believer of hard work and dedication. She believes that failure isn’t bad and all obstacles can be dealt with if one has strong determination and works hard.
Inspiring the generations to come, Rukmani says, “Go for it. If I can do it, everybody else can, and nothing can stop you.”
Currently, Rukmani continues to pursue her dream of helping the society become a better place. She has authored papers on social issues like ‘Struggle with Reality: Women and their working conditions’ and ‘Skewed Sex Ratio in India: a cause for immediate concern’. She has also worked with the Centre for Equity Studies, New Delhi under social activist Harsh Mander, to help improve urban slums like Jama Masjid and Yamuna Pushta.
Her motto is that- One may not become a successful bureaucrat or join the civil services, but if you ever get chance to serve the people in some way, you must not hesitate to take up the opportunity.