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A Train Hit, 14 Surgeries Couldn’t Stall This Feisty Haryana Girl’s UPSC Journey

Preeti Beniwal came under the wheels of a train, getting grievously injured. She underwent 14 surgeries but kept on studying even during recovery. She managed to crack UPSC 2020, without any coaching.
Indian Masterminds Stories

If a stone is hurled with determination, it can make a hole in the sky, too. Preeti Beniwal of Dupedi village in Karnal district of Haryana proved just that. With sheer determination and dedication, she cracked UPSC 2020, overcoming a near-death experience during the journey. She talked candidly with Indian Masterminds about the challenges that came her way. Here’s what she had to say.

DEFYING DEATH TO REACH HER DESTINATION

Life has been pretty challenging for Preeti Beniwal. A freak accident left her confined to bed for a whole year. She narrated it: “I had gone with my father to Ghaziabad for an exam. I slipped While deboarding the train and I came under the train’s wheels. Three coaches passed over my trunk.”

She had to undergo 14 surgeries and was bed-ridden for over a year. Preeti didn’t lose hope, nor courage. She kept on preparing for UPSC even while being bed-ridden. All her hard work finally paid off when she saw her name on the coveted list: it was at AIR 754. She had beaten lakhs of other aspirants who might have less or maybe no hardships.

Ms. Beniwal with her father

FATHER IS HER GUIDING FORCE

Preeti hails from Karnal district in Haryana. Her father Suresh Kumar is a retired JE of Panipat Thermal Plant while her mother Babita is an Anganwadi worker.

Preeti was a bright student. That’s why despite their limited resources her parents made sure she went for higher studies. She did her B.Tech and M.Tech in Electrical and Communication Engineering and found a job in Food Corporation of India (FCI). Recently, she switched her job, joining Ministry of External Affairs as an Assistant Section Officer in New Delhi.

Preeti attributes her success to her father. It was he who encouraged her and goaded on to aim high, work hard and achieve all her goals. During her hospitalisation, too, he was there with her all along, taking care of her and nursing her back to recovery.

WROTE IN ENGLISH, SPOKE IN HINDI

Preeti said that she had chosen sociology as an optional subject as she finds it very interesting. “Sociology relates our past with our future, and it opens a whole new world of opportunities for us,”she said. She also informed that she wrote her papers in English but gave her interview in Hindi.

QUESTIONS SHE WAS ASKED IN THE INTERVIEW

On being asked about the kind of questions put up to her in the interview round, Preeti told Indian Masterminds that she was asked about her work in the organisations she had been a part of, and what kind of challenges she faced in her career, being a woman. She was also asked questions related to her optional subject and her native place.

She kept studying even when she was injured

NO FORMAL COACHING

“I did not take any coaching for my preparation. I only used study materials of coaching institutes available in YouTube and Telegram,” she said.

HER FUTURE PLANS

She would like to work in the fields of health, rural development, women empowerment and food security. She also has plans to appear for UPSC again next year to move up the list.

MESSAGE FOR THE YOUTH

Preeti has an important message for young people: “Life is more important than any exam. Children often talk about committing suicide after failing an exam. I wonder how any exam can have so much power over someone’s life. I would just like to say that it’s just an exam. No one is less than anyone or more than anyone. Give your best, be cool, and don’t be afraid of anything.”


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