It is the story of a muslim girl, who faces boldly, all the challenges that life puts for her and becomes an IAS officer.


Here, sitting in this A.C. room allotted to me, in this personal cabin of ‘The’ newly appointed assitant collector of Sangarpur, I can’t aspire for anything  more.

It is a small break time,that I have got between my strenuous responsibilities…the only time that I cherish the most,now.

My thoughts,as it happens nowadays,is still lashed to my past,that changed my life, happenings that made a person,who I am now.

I wasn’t even five,when Ammi left me.I don’t know till now,why she left.It was a constant question that I asked  God,all through my childhood and teenage.Well,though I never ever got the answer,my personal complaint is,that she shouldn’t have left me alone.

Alone….I think I was much safe alone,but she had left me with my Abbu,how could have I been safe then.

Abbu,the most respected ‘Abdul  Razak Saheb’,was nothing less than a political leader.He dominated everyone,his family,his community,his region,..everyone. He had the perfect lineage and powers of a Hyderabadi sheikh,thanks to his predecessors. A cruel union of money and power in the world of patriarchal dominance.Not a single word of kindness,did I ever hear from his mouth nor did I ever see a smile,for me,on his face.

Before I could even cry for my mother, he replaced Ammi,with a new girl….yes,she wasn’t so much an adult,to be called a lady.On my first glance of her,I really thought that,she was brought in to be a company to me,to play with me,share my life,and bring some colours into my life.But,unlike my expectations, Zeenat, as she was called,never took any liking for me. Abbu adorned her with precious jewellery, gave her special status in the family,treated her like a princess,and did beyond what he would ever do,just to make her happy,I was jealous then,as his own daughter never had the opportunity for this treatment….but she was always sad.Back then,I never understood why would anyone be sad in heaven.But now,at an age,little more than what she was then,I can easily relate to her,her feelings,emotions…all that she felt in that house.She was a trapped bird in a golden cage, was just,FREEDOM,that she urged for,but couldn’t get. I never could interact with her closely.For all the two years that she ever lived in my house,she was silent.

But I am happy,because after two years,one fine morning,my Abbu, read a letter with much shock and anguish,that  Zeenat had left with her lover.Yes,the bird was freed from the cage.

The shock did made a change in abbu,he was angry,always…not that he was pleasant otherwise,but he showed it drastically,this time. Munshi ji,really had a very bad time keeping in with Abbu’s short temperament.

I liked Munshiji, he had no children, I was his sweetheart. He would give me small amounts,without the knowlege of abbu,to spend,during festivals and melas. I was never allowed to go to school.Then I didn’t have any friends either.

Apart from us,there was also another soul in the house.’Khallu’,as I dearly called her,was abbu’s aunt.Thanks to her,because of her,I lived,even after ammi left.Yes,she took great care of me.The love,care and affection of my parents,I only recieved from Khallu.She would never interfere in my abbu’s matters.She always shut herself inside the house.She taught me many things.She was the best part of my life.But when I turned 12,she left,as ammi did,and I was all alone in the house.That was when abbu married the daughter of a wealthy sheikh and that day,I was taken away from my home.I wasn’t kidnapped,but yes,with the permission of my own father,I was sold to the same sheikh family,from where abbu got his wife.

I was drugged that day,wasn’t concious.When I woke up,I was at a farm house.It was from those people,that I came to know that I was sold and was now miles away from my home.I still remember,for the very first time,in my life,I missed ammi the most.

The people at this house were not at all good to me.They mocked ,abused and treated me like a slave.I was often forced to sleep empty stomach.I was supposed to be a 24-hour maid.After around a year of me,at the house,one day a foriegner came to the house.

As I passed the hall that afternoon,I over -heard some talking going on between the sheikh and his people with the foreigner,whose words I couldn’t understand.But from the conversation of sheikh and his accomplices,I understood that,I was sold,over-seas for some huge sum of money,and the next day I was to be taken to a foriegn land.

I was shocked and devastated at the same time.I was in a very bad situation.I ran to the kitchen,and cried,without making any sound.I sat down and began to think.At that time,no other option,than running away,came to my mind.

So,without wasting any time,I took my belongings,and ran away from that wretched house.That night,hungry,bare footed,with torn old clothes on,I was too weak to run.After running for long,I collapsed somwhere and lost my consiousness.When I woke up,I was on bed,in a room that looked like a small hut of bare rocks to me.That moment,for the first time,I met Daau,as I called him thereafter.He was Prasad Mohan Chandra,an ex-military officer and a present day social worker,who worked for women and their development.He is the man,who changed my life to the best of it.

First few days of my stay there,I didn’t utter a single word to anyone.But gradually,that small house,seemed to me as a heaven.Daau,would take care of me,like his own grandaughter.He had no family,did he ever have ornot,I never asked him.For me,he was my dearest dauu,a person with value of God in my life.Slowely,I started getting comfortable with this new place.I came to know that Dauu had an NGO of his own,named Aashiana,which was especially an abode for the destitutes,widows,rape victims,and all those women,who were victim of a patriarchially dominated society.

Everyday,women were found telling there agonizing tales to Daau,in our front lawn.Now I was used to such a scene.I had no idea,what was happening,to them ,why did they ever come to Daau,what did he do for them,so on and so forth.

I still remember,that day was a Sunday. Daau was home and was free. Bai, our maid had came early and left after her chores.I was gardening.I loved nature.It was approximately 2months after I came to that house. Daau, came to the garden and called me to come and sit at the bench,next to him.

He said,”child,I am happy that you have come safe from whatever your past was.I am not asking about it,as I know,it would not have been a pleasant one for you,keeping in mind,the condition I found you that night on the road”.This way he told me how he had found me unconsious on the road that night,when I fell due to my tiredness.There were tears in my eyes when I remembered all that happened in my past.The fact that my father didn’t want me and I was an orphan,pinched me deep.But,disturbing my own chain of thoughts,Daau,placed his hands on head and said,”child,you are a girl,this world may not welcome you with open hands,but you will have to make your own world,defeating every odd that is a hindrance in your life”.First time in my life,I had someone who was talking about seeing life positively,his words really gave me hope.But,I was handicapped.Not physically,but yes,mentally,emotionally and psychologically.As he further explained to me the plight of women  around me,of the cases he dealt everyday and how knowlege had helped him to achieve his success,I really felt bad and vunerable of not being educated.I wanted to make a change in this world,but how? I wasn’t educated,I didn’t know even till now the value it had in my life.This made me feel bad.I started sobbing again. Daau came and sat next to me.He said,”no need to feel low.I am always there for you,and it is still not late to start.We will work hard together,and will wait for your success.That day,marked my birth,to success.

Daau asked one of his friends,Raamu,to come home and give me the education,that would be my only tool,against this world.After around three years of basic education under Raamu masterji,I was admitted to the nearby government school in class eighth.In this three years,I didn’t grew by age only,that period marked great changes in me.I found out that I could sing ,dance and draw well,i learned knitting and stitching from the women in aashiana,I was friends with everyone there,by now.

So,when now I entered school,I was a talented, aspiring young girl,fully lively and active.School gave me new friends,who were very supportive,teachers,who were always encouraging and above all,a huge platform,to know for myself,who I was,my goods,and my limitations and to improve them.

Soon,I completed my class 12th with distinction and decided to focus full time on the working of aashiana.But,Daau wanted me to study more.I personally wanted to study,but said no to him,as I didn’t want to trouble him.But,Daau was adamant and I had to listen to his demand.I always wanted to serve people,so took up Bachelors of Social Work in a nearby college.After three years,I had a clear,full fledged career to pursue,thanks to my college life.

Now, I wanted to achieve the goal of my life,to be an IAS. I was wondering, how my life took twists and turns.

But,my fair life,turned upside down,when suddenly Daau took ill,He was admitted at the hospital.Once again in my life,I found myself alone.His condition detoriated and he was paralized from his left side.This made me feel weak,as I was used to his presence and support in everything I did.The two year period that I was preparing for my UPSC exams,he was there,on bed,still having a zeal of positiveness in his eyes.Though he couldn’t say or do anything,His silent support,was a boon to me.At least,I had someone to look up for.

After a two year hardwork and going through all the proccesses and examinations of UPSC,I passed my mains and did fairly well for my interview.I was waiting patiently for my results,but more than me,Daau was the one,who waited eagerly for the news.Every morning after the interview took place,he would be seen praying with his closed eyes,I know that though he couldn’t chant them, it was there in his mind.

Finally,I got that news,for which I was eagerly waiting.But to my dismay,I wasn’t selected.I was very sad,I ran to him and cried,sitting by his side,for many hours.I told him,that now I won’t ever try for the exam,as I was done with it.But Daau,was still adamant.With gestures,that he formed with much hardship,he asked me to try again.For a few days,I didn’t heed to whatever he said,I kept on working and getting busy with aashiana.One fine morning,around a month later,Daau too left me forever.This time,instead of feeling alone,suddenly I started feeling responsible.He had left me with a house and all the responsibilities of aashiana.I could have been careless,if it wa sonly for me.But now,I couldn’t dare to be irresponsible and selfish.

I had to work for them,for all of them,who have been depended on Daau ,till now.I wanted his name to remain always in the minds of the people whom he loved and who loved him back,by carrying his works further,by living through his dreams for me.That  was when,I decided,that come whatever,I will write my exams again,and win against me myself.So,with the determination to win and the support of all the loved ones near me,I finally got my selection letter,after an year.

I had a training period to complete,before posting.All the while,I was there,Daau’s lines,that ” you will have to make your own world,defeating every odd that is a hindrance in your life” was echoing in my mind.The training had been tough,especially for me as a girl,I had tough competions from my male counterparts.Many a times,I heard mockings,from them,for aspiring a high position,that was said to be only a man’s cup of tea.But,I had my own reasons,my own challenges,for which,I had to anyhow reach the zenith of success.


………….A call disturbs my thoughts.., It is the collector’s call,for an urgent meeting at his office.I am back. This office,would never have been in my dreams, if Daau wouldn’t have come to my life. I owe, whatever I am, to him.

The name plate,Amalnoor Jahan Ilma IAS, assistant collector,Sangarpur, my ammi’s name, Ilma, along with my name, is my only prized possession of life.I only thank everyone,who made my life beautiful,I even thank those who made it a hell,because,they helped me to start focusing  on what I wanted to do in life.I am a girl,so I did struggle,I am still struggling,to make my mark in this word of men,and will continue to make my self serve those who need me…..