There are few tales as inspiring as that of Ira, who, despite facing ridicule and challenges due to her disability, emerged as a beacon of hope, determination, and resilience. Her story is not just about clearing one of India’s toughest exams, but about proving that with perseverance, one can rise above any adversity.

A Stellar Achievement:

Ira’s brilliance shone when she secured the top rank in the 2014 UPSC exam. The significance of her achievement is heightened by the fact that she became the first female candidate to clinch this honor.

Facing Adversities Head-On:

From a young age, Ira battled a unique health challenge, which became a source of constant mockery. However, rather than allowing these taunts to define her, she channeled them into motivation. By refusing to see herself through the limiting lens of societal prejudice, she surpassed expectations, achieving what many deemed impossible.

Dealing with Scoliosis:

Ira’s journey was further complicated by her diagnosis with scoliosis, a condition that affects the spinal cord, resulting in a distorted body structure and stunted height. Yet, she remained undeterred, not allowing her medical condition to dictate her future. Born in Meerut, Ira’s formative years were entrenched in her hometown’s educational institutions.

The Challenge of Growing Up:

As a child, Ira seemed no different from her peers. But with age, the signs of scoliosis became evident. Despite their best efforts, Ira’s parents couldn’t find a remedy, but they ensured she never felt less than any other child.

The Genesis of a Dream:

A memorable incident from her youth cemented Ira’s ambition. During a curfew in her city, when schools shuttered, a young Ira questioned the reason behind the closure. Learning that it was upon the District Magistrate’s orders, she marveled at the influence one individual wielded. At that moment, a seed was sown: she too wished to hold such a position of authority. The challenges she observed differently-abled candidates facing as they aged only solidified her resolve.

Journey to the Pinnacle:

Ira’s tenacity was evident as she attempted the UPSC exam four times. Remarkably, she cleared it each time, earning a position in the IRS on three occasions. Her relentless spirit bore fruit during her fourth attempt when she not only cleared the UPSC but achieved the prestigious All India Rank One. This feat crowned her as the first differently-abled candidate to top the UPSC exam.

IAS Ira Sehgal
IAS Ira Sehgal

Ira’s journey is a powerful testament to the human spirit. Her story resonates with countless others, serving as a shining example that irrespective of the challenges one faces, with determination and faith, one can craft their destiny.