Blind, Bold And IFS: The Incredible Story of Beno Zaphine

| June 18 , 2015 , 23:01 IST
Where there’s a will there’s a way! One cannot help but agree with this proverbial adage after listening to the incredible success story of NL Beno Zephine. This 25-year-old woman from Tamil Nadu has become India’s first 100 per cent visually-impaired Indian Foreign Service officer. Beno Zaphine Beno could not believe her ears when on Friday the external affairs ministry informed her about her entry into the 69-year-old prestigious service. She was, however, confident that through her hard work and dedication she would be able to clear the UPSC examination, which is no duck soup, duh. While speaking with Focus News Group Editor-in-Chief Sanjeev Srivastava on his show ‘Focus Tonight’, Beno - who is currently pursuing her PhD in English Literature - thanked her parents and friends for being with her through thick and thin. “My parents, my friends, my relatives, everybody has helped me in reaching where I am today,” she said. Beno also expressed her gratitude to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj for their intervention and showing faith in her. Beno draws her inspiration from American author Helen Adams Keller, who overcame the adversity of being blind and deaf to become one of the 20th century's leading humanitarians. “I always like the words of Helen Keller where madam had remarked, ‘I am only one, but I am still one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. And because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do the something that I can do’. These words really inspire me. Because I believed that I’d be able to clear civil services exam one day.” Beno told Focus Tonight that Civil Service is a thing which she started dreaming since her 11th and 12th grade. “From that time onwards I was very much focused and determined. As former President of India Dr APJ Abdul Kalam says, ‘Adversity brings opportunity’. So whenever there was a challenge, I just thought that there was a solution to it. And only when a solution comes, development comes and progress happens. I can recall moments when I was really happy where I was motivating myself to move on rather than feeling like a loser. She thanked her mother for her fluency in speech, who reads newspapers and books to her. Beno also listens to All India Radio from 9 to 9.30 pm every day sin falta. She reads with the assistance of a software, namely ‘Job Access With Speech’. When asked about her future plans, Beno said as of now her aim is to get into the system and understand it thoroughly with the guidance of her colleagues and senior officers. Whatever assignments she is entrusted with she wants to perform to the best of her abilities. As for her hobbies, Beno is an orator. She loves reading, eating and enjoying with friends. “I just want to lead a life like any other person.” Her father, Luke Anthony Charles, a railways employee, and mother Mary Padmaja, a homemaker, have played a huge role in making Beno’s dreams come true. Beno is a story of India which we would like to hear again and again. We wish her all the very best for her future endeavours.