There is saying, ” There is nothing hard or easy, it’s the will that decides. Born in small town of kundarki in Moradabad district of Uttar Pradesh IIma Afroz has proven the statement.
She was born to a farmer with a meager annual income hardly covering their basic needs. But that didn’t stop her to to pursue the most difficult exam in the country. The way to her success wasn’t easy. She was only 14 when she lost her father to cancer. She got matured at an early age. While the kids of her age went out to play. She had to help her mother in household works.
“My mother raised my younger brother and I all on her own. She is a very strong woman. Instead of quietly accepting the norm saving up for a girl’s dowry and marrying her off she gave me the chance to fulfil my potential,” says Ilma, in a conversation with The Better India.
Studying for hours against the worse situations get her admitted to one of the most prestigious college of India. She went to study philosophy in St. Stephens college of University of Delhi.
The three years I spent studying philosophy at St Stephen’s, were the best years of my life so far. Learning the subject in an environment where professors can closely engage with students helped me imbibe important lessons. We learnt so much outside the classroom as well. Learning philosophy encourages one to think on their own,” she says.
Working hard day and night bagged her a scholarship in world renowned Oxford University. After graduating from there she went to New York where she attended voluntary service program in Manhattan. But she felt a void of something in her life.
“Every single day when I returned to my room in downtown Manhattan, I would yearn for home. For Ammi, and her smile. I would look out from the window of my room at New York skyline and watch the matchbox-like yellow taxis swarming the streets—a ubiquitous image associated with the American dream. I asked myself will my Oxford education go towards running after a ‘foreign dream’?
While visiting home in several occasions she felt that she can be more happy among the people here. She can help solving problems of people of her nation and that’s when it strike her to appear for UPSC.
She took off for preparing UPSC . When the results of UPSC 2017 were announced she secured an AIR of 217. She choosed to go for Indian Police Service. And dedicating her life in the betterment of people.
My mother taught me the value of hard work. My brother didn’t save money for my dowry. Instead, he spent it on my education. Ammi and bhaiyya made numerous sacrifices to educate me,” she says.
She have also founded HOPE, a community network promoting education for underprivileged children in her hometown.