For twenty-seven-year-old Bala Nagendran from Chennai, beating the odds is a way of life. At the age of seven he decided that he wanted to become an Indian Administrative Services officer, come what may.
Born 100 per cent visually impaired, Bala Nagendran has realized his childhood dream by not only cracking the UPSC exams but also securing the 923rd rank in the all-India level.
“I would never accept whenever someone refers to me being blind as a challenge. Personally, I consider it a powerful tool. It has made me realise the importance of having inner-vision. My visual impairment has helped me get to know people better,” explains Nagendran, to The News Minute.
The challenge, however, he says was the negligible amount of Braille books available for the UPSC aspirants in the market. “I had to personally get the books converted to the Braille form. It not only took much of my time, but was also quite expensive. I had to spend almost six times the cost of the regular books available in the market,” he says, adding that being technologically versatile helped him a lot in the preparation. Not only would he use Google for preparation, he also depended on the ebooks which made his preparation process easier.
After the previous four failed attempts in clearing the examination, Nagendran says that he “had the confidence but lacked competence.” He pushed himself over the last one year and did not let the tag of being an “underdog” hamper his confidence.
Armed with a Bachelors of Commerce degree from Loyala College in Chennai, Nagendran is also an alumnus of the Ramakrishna Mission School in T.Nagar. Education, he says, is the most important aspect of one’s life. “To eradicate poverty, unemployment, and all the other social plagues, quality education is the only solution. I would definitely want to work in this department and bring inclusiveness in education,” Nagendran declares.
He draws inspiration from former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K.Kamaraj and IAS officer Armstrong Pame who is popular for building the 100-kilometer road, connecting Manipur to Nagaland with absolutely no financial or physical aid from the Government of India.
While Nagendran’s father who is a retired soldier, now drives a taxi to support the family, his mother is a home maker. “Believe in yourself. One’s financial background, family background, social status and everything else won’t matter when one is determined about what he truly wants to achieve in life,” he concludes.