Small town boys’ big journey to bureaucratic careers

Sudesh Kumar Mokhta, Iva Sahay and Yunus at HIPA

Theirs is a story of triumph over major personal challenges and physical inequalities. The two young IAS probationers, currently undergoing gruelling training sessions in Shimla's Himachal Pradesh Institute of Public Administration (HIPA), have emerged victorious over much odds — they have reached a position, which may have seemed impossible for someone like them.

Both IAS officers, Sudesh Kumar Mokhta and Yunus, come from economically poor backgrounds. Sudesh, a Dalit, is a resident of the remote and backward area of Chopal — one of the under-developed and low-literacy belts of Himachal Pradesh. He lost his father when he was preparing for his Pre-Medical Test (PMT) to become a doctor — a dream his father had cherished.

Yunus, who has his roots at Malerkotla in Punjab, had faced hardships early in life. His father survived a major mishap at his factory, which left him completely burnt and permanently impaired one of his eyes. Yunus' childhood memories are of his mother — barely 25 at that time — single-handedly bringing up her two children, nursing his father, shuttling between the hospital in Rohtak and their home in Bahadurgarh for more than four years.

The third IAS probationer at HIPA is a girl from Darbhanga, whose parents are in the teaching profession. Iva Sahay was hailed by her father as "an IAS officer" the day she was born. She fulfilled the dream in 2010.

With less than a week left for them to join their field postings in districts of Kangra, Sirmaur and Chamba, these 2010-batch IAS officers haven't forgotten their days of struggle — especially Mokhta and Yunus.

The world came crashing down for Yunus and his family on October 31, 1984, the day former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated. Even as entire nation was plunged in shock and horror, his families' tragedy was no less small. This was the day when a boiler containing melting steel fell over his father while he was working in the factory.

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