It would take a long time for reality in India to change, said Tina Dabi, 2015 UPSC topper from the Dalit community.
Ms. Dabi addressing a student interaction in Mumbai urged the students to have faith in the system and the Constitution, which gives rights to the marginalised. She was felicitated by the Pune-based Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Research and Training Institute (BARTI).
“The unfortunate reality is that India is still very casteist. When my results were out, wishes poured in on the first day, but the next day, I started getting messages from the media asking for my caste, because my surname sounded different. Then I became a Dalit topper. It will take a long time for this reality to change. I am proud that I am the first person from the SC community to top the UPSC,” Ms. Dabi said.
Responding to the audience question on the suicide of Dalit student Rohith Vemula in Hyderabad, and the flogging of Dalits in Una She said “It is very unfortunate that a student had to commit suicide because of his caste, but that is the negative side. I believe we have to have faith in the system. We have a robust Constitution that has given us our rights and we must respect and cherish that. I hope I have set an example that you cannot only clear the exam but also top it. I want to give the message that (you must) never just think of clearing the exam, but also think that you can be the best”.
She urged IAS aspirants to have a vision of progress and passion, instead of the lure of power and the lal batti (red beacon).