Among the candidates who cracked the examination to join Rajasthan Administrative Service is 40-year-old Asha Kandara. But her story is like no one else's.
The mother of two children, Asha had been working as a sanitation worker with the Jodhpur Municipal Corporation. Now she will be appointed as a senior official in the state administrative service.
Asha and her two children were abandoned by her husband eight years ago. With her parents' support, she continued her studies, completed her graduation and then appeared for the competitive exam in 2018.
After taking the exam in two stages, Asha had to wait as the declaration of results was withheld due to the pandemic. The results were declared last week.
In the meantime, Asha joined a job as a sanitation worker in Jodhpur Municipal Corporation as she had her children to look after. A broom in hand, she would sweep the roads in Jodhpur city.
Speaking to NDTV, Asha said she believes no work is menial. "I appeared for the Mains in 2019. Before the results could be declared, I got a job in the municipal corporation and took it. I kept studying and now the result is before you," she said.
"I believe that if people throw stones at you, you should gather them and build a bridge. If I can do it, anyone can," Asha added.
She said her father is her inspiration. "My father is educated and understands the value of education. He taught us to study and move ahead. I have chosen the administrative services because I want to help other less privileged people like me. Education is the answer, education opens the door to opportunity," she said.
Asha's father Rajendra Kandara pursued his studies despite his underprivileged background. He has now retired as an accountant with the Food Corporation of India. "I would sit under a lamp post to study. We know the importance of education. Life is a struggle and struggle is life, but we are very proud today," he said.