By Special Correspondent
Mumbai: Waseema Shaikh hailing from a village in Nanded district of Marathwada region in Maharashtra has cracked Maharashtra Public Service Commission (MPSC) exam with a third rank among successful woman candidates. What made her feat remarkable and outstanding that she accomplished this with self-study as she could not afford coaching fee because of abject poverty. However, Waseema’s elder brother who is auto-rickshaw driver, helped to realize her dream as her father is a mentally challenged person while her mother works as a farm labourer.
Now the 26-year old Waseema would be eligible for the deputy collector post after cracking the State elite civil service exam as the results were just declared.
Fourth among six siblings, Waseema grew up in Joshi Sangvi, a village with a population of less than 3,000 in Loha taluka, Nanded district; Marathwada which was a part of erstwhile Nizam State of Hyderabad has sizable Muslim population in each 10 district of the region.
As Maharashtra has been witnessing rural distress, Waseem’s family also has wretched life. Her father could not work as he was mentally challenged; her mother worked in others’ fields. Waseema saw her brother give up his dream of sitting for the MPSC exam due want of money.
Speaking to Mumbai Mirror’s Jyoti Punwani, Waseema told her story of travails.
According to her, when she was preparing for her SSC exams in 2012, there was no electricity in her village. In spite of this, she became the taluka topper.
For Waseema, getting into the senior-most ranks of the administration is a childhood dream has come true. “I would see the poverty and distress of the people around me and also that of my own family. On the other side was the sarkar with all its resources. You needed a mediator between the people and the sarkar, and I wanted to be that mediator, and I wanted to be that mediator,” she said.
In her first attempt at the MPSC examination in 2018, she succeeded in getting the post of sales tax inspector. However, she wanted to rise higher, and this time, she’s done it.
The first graduate in her family, Waseema’s brilliant academic record has been entirely through self-study, for she could not afford coaching except for a six-month stint in a coaching class to acquaint herself with the MPSC exam syllabus.
With hostel life beyond her reach, she graduated under the auspices of the Yashwantrao Chavan Maharashtra Open University. Simultaneously, she also acquired a diploma in education. Waseema gives all credit to her elder brother, who encouraged her to fulfill her dream who worked as a rickshaw driver while she and her younger sister prepared for the MPSC. In turn, her job as a sales tax inspector enabled him to go back to studies and finish his graduation. It also helped her younger sister graduate.
Her success could not have been possible without her teachers says Waseema, who went to the village Zilla Parishad school.
She speaks Urdu at home, but found no problem studying in the Marathi medium. In fact, so comfortable is she in the language that she wanted the interview to be conducted in Marathi.
Waseema has already lived away from her parents in pursuit of learning. After walking six km every day to her junior college she shifted to a relative’s house as her Class XII board exams neared, so that she could travel by ST bus. The support of her mother and her elder brother protected her from social disapproval as she pursued her dream. Now, says she, her in-laws are equally supportive who married just a few days back. Coincidently, her husband, too, has given his MPSC exam.