Ummul Kher – The Girl who battled boned disorder to crack UPSC

Nothing can stop you if your desire to achieve something is strong enough!

We have heard so many quotes about not giving up and being strong in our hard times but in this story, she proved the saying right- “Where there is a will, there is a way”. Ummul Kher who battled bone disorder, had non-supportive parents, lived in the slum, cracked the UPSC exam.

Ummul suffers from fragile bone disorder and her parents said they would DISOWN her if she stayed in school. She left home, got into JNU and is now all set to become an IAS officer.

Hardships faced by the strong girl

As someone living with a fragile bone disorder since childhood, odds were always against her. When she was 14, her parents disowned her because she wanted to study beyond class 8. What took her ahead was sheer merit and determination as she went on to get admission in the reputable Delhi University college and later entered JNU for her master’s. She cracked the civil services exam in her first attempt.

Ummul, who has received 16 fractures and 8 surgeries due to her disease, came to Delhi from Rajasthan when she was very young. Her father then worked as a street vendor, selling clothes near Hazrat Nizamuddin while her family lived in a near by slum.

Kher studied in Pt Deendayal Upadhyaya Institute for Physically Handicapped till class 5 and later she went to Amar Jyoti Charitable Trust where she studied till class 8.

As it was a charitable organisation run by the Government, she didn’t have to pay anything. Though getting one square meal was difficult for her, she was satisfied with the fact that she could study. Life was difficult, but what came after that was both difficult and painful for her.

She wanted to study at Arwachin Bharti Bhawan senior secondary school as it had better infrastructure and she had got a scholarship, but her parents were against it. They said that if she studied any further they will put an end to all the relations with her. She was abused, her intentions were questioned because she wanted to study more. She came from a family where girls where not allowed to study much and that is why her parents said she got more education than a girl should get.

Ummul’s big decision

Ummul left her parents home and started living in JHUGGI JHOPRI (JJ) Cluster in Trilokpuri, for which she paid from the money she earned from tuition. A decision which she felt was more difficult than cracking the civil services exam.

She started giving tuition. From few children it expanded to 4 batches. These were mostly children from the slum areas and she got between Rs 50-100 from each student.

Besides, for a girl living alone in a jhuggi was sometimes traumatic and it was never safe, but she had no choice.

After class 8, her education was backed by Amar Jyoti Charitable Trust. They helped her as and when required and also financed her tuition for class 9 and 10.

Ummul’s achievements

She scored 91% in class 12 and got admission in Gargi College. There also she continued to fund her education through tuition. Her friend recalls her difficult college days. She funded her education through the money she used to win in debates in DU colleges. But it was difficult for her to participate in every festival as she had to take tuition in the evening.

In 2012, she met with a small accident and was confined to a wheelchair for a year due to her bone disorder.

After her graduation, Ummul cleared JNU entrance exam for masters in International Studies. She was getting Rs 2000 means-cum-merit scholarship and did not have to give tuition anymore. In 2013 she cracked Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) under which she started getting Rs 25,000 per month.

From the past two years her relations with her family have improved and she plans to visit them soon.

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