Twenty-two-year-old Tina Dabi woke up from a nap Tuesday evening and discovered she had topped the Union Public Service Commission’s (UPSC) civil services examination in her very first attempt. The rest of the evening, at the family home in BSNL Colony on Kali Bari Marg near Gole Market in the heart of New Delhi, was taken up by interviews to the press, congratulatory phone calls and visits from friends and family.
“I was sleeping when the results came. I knew they would be out today but there’s usually no particular time. When my phone started buzzing repeatedly, I realised the results had been announced. Since then we have been so busy that I still haven’t had time to actually register what has happened,” Tina said.
Congratulating Tina, Northwest Delhi MP and Dalit leader Udit Raj 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.”
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.
Born in Bhopal, Tina moved to Delhi with her parents and younger sister when she was in Class VII. She completed her schooling from the Convent of Jesus and Mary, opting for humanities in Class XI, by which time she had also started seriously considering attempting the civil services examination.