Will Work till My Last Breath for Development of My Country: Young IPS Ilma Afroz
Mumtaz Alam | India Tomorrow
New Delhi, May 15— “You should first think of the weakest person who lives in the darkest village and ask yourself if your work or any decision has wiped the tears from the eyes of that person. This is my view of looking at life,” says newly-recruited young IPS officer Ilma Afroz.
In a video interview with BBC, Ilma, who lost her father to cancer when she was just 14 but got higher education with strong support from her mother, says: “In the Indian Constitution, every citizen, boy or girl, young or elderly, differently abled or transgender - all have equal rights. Justice, liberty, equality, fraternity – these are the ideals with which I would like to work.”
In August 2018, she was recruited as IPS officer and posted in Himachal Pradesh. She had cracked the Civil Services Examination 2017-18 in April 2018 with an all-India rank of 217. That year, 990 candidates had cleared the Civil Services Exam. There were 50 Muslims among them – Ilma Afroz was one of them.
Ilma Afroz comes from Kundarki village in Moradabad district of Uttar Pradesh.
इल्मा अफ़रोज़ के IPS बनने का सफ़र, जो दूसरी लड़कियों के लिए मिसाल बन सकता है...— BBC News Hindi (@BBCHindi) May 13, 2019
वीडियो: समरा फ़ातिमा pic.twitter.com/GAz26kSTVw
She got education till high school in her hometown. As her father had died, members of her extended family and neighbours would ask her mother to marry her off as, they would say, there was no use of higher education for a girl. But her mother refused and did hard work to ensure higher education for Ilma. After her success at UPSC, neighbours now meet her and her mother to get support for their daughters.
In the interview with BBC, she says: “Until yesterday, people would tell my mother to marry me off, she is someone else property, will go one day, what is the use of educating her so much. Now the same people come to my mother and me with their young daughters and ask us to make them IPS.”
“I was 10 when my father was diagnosed with cancer. My father passed away when I was 14. My mother worked hard for my education, she had to hear people’s crude remarks…”
“What happens in our society? If a girl has lost her father, her family, relatives and neighbours collect amount for dowry and marry her off in two clothes,” she says.
IPS Ilma Afroz (Photo - BetterIndia.com)
After schooling, Ilma moved to Delhi and attended the famous St Stephen’s College. She did graduation in philosophy. She got scholarship and got admitted at Oxford University in London. After London, she moved to New York City where she attended a voluntary service programme in the Manhattan area.
But she wanted to do something for her country.
“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’?” Better India quotes her as saying.
“Inspired by Gandhiji’s dream to ‘wipe every tear from every eye’, the feeling that the nation should reap the benefit of my education and experiences grew manifold. I wanted to do my bit in fulfilling Gandhiji’s dream,” Ilma told the website.
She came back to her country India and started preparation for Civil Services. In 2018, she cracked one of the toughest exams in the country and became IPS officer.
“I am fully sure that for the development of my country, I will work till my last breath,” says Ilma.