“A decade back, when I got enrolled at Presidency University, I had already set the standards for myself. I was bubbling with confidence as I was adjudged the Best Speaker in the International Botanical Conference. I got a GRE scholarship as well, but eventually chose to stay back. Today, my world stands completely changed. From PhD studies at the prestigious IISc, Bangalore to a diligent civil servant – the young bubbly girl in her early 20s has started rediscovering the districts of Bengal as a civil servant”
— Saumya Sil, the PhD student-turned-model from Bengal, who cracked WBCS in first attempt despite hearing impairment
The story of Saumya Sil, a young and lively land revenue officer from Bengal, is one of extraordinary grit and determinations. Born in Delhi, Saumya completed her graduation from Presidency College and it was hardly a surprise when she got selected for further studies in the Indian Institute of Sciences (IISc), Bangalore. She got an internship in the Indian Institute of Science at Prof Ram Kumar Sir’s lab. However, due to unforeseen circumstances, Saumya decided to quit her research studies and began her journey in Wipro as an Instructional Designer. But, that wasn’t the be all and end all for her, unlike other IT professionals. Saumya, who has been fighting with her degenerating hearing ability since her teenage days, was a true achiever and aspired for more.
True nationalist at heart
Not that corporate wasn’t Saumya’s cup of tea, but she always had that extra urge to serve the nation. As doctors advised restrictions in walking and travelling, it was a tricky decision on her part to start preparing for civil service exams. And the decision finally paid dividends, as Saumya cracked the West Bengal Civil Service (WBCS) in her maiden attempt.
A no-nonsense bureaucrat
In the beginning of her career, she was posted in Bongaon, close to the Indo-Bangladesh border. While inspecting mid-day meal scheme as a nodal officer, she used to spend the whole day with those children, who fell in love with this ‘loving Didi’. Saumya spearheaded several awareness campaigns like ‘Kanyashree’ and as a nodal officer, she played a stellar role in decoding menstruation for young girls and imparting them lessons in menstrual hygiene. “This is the blood you should be proud of. This is the blood which is giving birth to the whole nation” — Saumya’s spirited words of wisdom changed lives of any a young girl, by giving them new hope, courage and wisdom.
A woman empowerment warrior
“In my designated profile as the land revenue officer, I frequently visit Indo-Bangladesh Border. In the interior areas, there are still so many cases where girls are married off at the early age of 13 or 14 and they bear kids within a year-and-half. Worst still, most of them become the battered half of alcoholic husbands. I have seen women with beating marks on the back and yet, they make bidis that earn them around Rs 1,000 per month and save that to send their kids to school. To me, that is real empowerment,” says Saumya.
Instagram’s ‘darling diva’
A Kathak dancer and a History enthusiast, Saumya travels almost 6 miles every day and is quite a sensation in the world of Instagram. Amidst her struggles and achievements, she has continued her passion for modelling. On holidays and lazy weekends, Saumya, the ‘darling diva’, simply wows in photo shoots. “Someday I want to become an international model. I don’t get time for preparation, but self-grooming has been pivotal in whatever I have achieved in the glamour world. Modelling de-stresses me more than anything,” says ever-optimistic Saumya.
Tips for younger generation
“Just listen to your heart. If you feel you don’t want to do anything outside, sit back and work at home. I’m already 33 and I’m not married yet. In fact, I don’t really intend to involve myself in a nuptial union. Live your life on your own terms, giving full priority to individual freedom. Frankly speaking, if I do anything wrong, I won’t be able to face myself. I need enough rest. After all, we are all human beings with human limitations. The body calls for timely repair and rest.”
An IAS aspirant doing the ground work
Saumya Sil has more surprises to throw vis-a-vis her career. She may not necessarily listen to the ‘loudest’ noises, but the brilliant student in her keeps egging her on to become an IAS officer. “I have immense respect for the Parliament of India. I seriously wish to serve my country as an IAS officer. In spite of my hectic schedule, I make it a point to prepare seriously, leaving no stone unturned,” signs off Saumya, in a determination-laced tone.
Bharat, the real India, needs more dedicated bureaucrats like Saumya Sil. Yes, the message is quite clear, “What India needs today is more and more committed and determined administrative officers.” Arthur Hugh Clough was right in saying, “Say Not the Struggle Nought Availeth…”