A 23-year-old visually impaired prodigy, Tapaswini Das cracked Odisha's Civil Services Examination in her first attempt. She also managed to secure the 161st position in the state civil services exam, which was conducted in 2019 by the Public Service Commission.

Source: HT

Tapaswini was in second grade when she lost her eyesight to a surgery that was meant to restore her vision. However,16 years after this incident, she appeared as a general candidate for the state civil services exams.

Unlike UPSC where there's a reservation for visually-impaired people, she still choose to appear under the general category.

Source: IAS Exam Portal

Tapaswini was admitted to a school for blind and deaf in the state capital after she lost her vision. But she didn't treat her disability as a hurdle to her ambitions. She was in 9th when she decided to be a civil servant. In a conversation with Hindustan Times she further revealed:

I expected to sail through the examination. Strong determination and patience are required to achieve success and I was determined to crack the exam in my first attempt.
Source: Indian Express

Her father, Arun Das who's a retired government official, told The Indian Express that Tapaswini cleared for the OCS exam without any coaching. However, Tapiswini opened up about the struggles she faced while prepping for the exams:

People who have clear eyesight, they can read from books directly. But I had to depend on recordings of several books that I stored in my laptop. I used to books scanned and turn it into audio format. I have never shied away from challenges in life. So I told myself let’s give it a try.
Source: OTV

Even though with her ranking, Tapaswini will be alloted a position in Odhisha Tax and Accounts Service instead of the Administrative Services, she's still determined to crack UPSC and follow the footsteps of Prankal Patil, India's first visually-impaired IAS officer.

This is not the first time a visually challenged person has cracked the state civil service exam. In 2017, 8 visually-challenged candidates made it to the list after the Highcourt allowed them to appear for the exams.

Source: National News

Odisha's Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities-- Sulochana Das said that her department will soon be felicitating Tapaswini for her achievement. Tapaswini fighting against all the odds to achieve her dreams is an inspiration to us all.