Civil Servant-to-be Mishal D’Costa – a Mature Head on Tender Shoulders
Mangaluru: Hailing from a modest family with an agricultural background which has settled in a remote rural centre of Neerude in the taluk, for the young candidate it was a remarkable achievement to have cleared UPSC examinations of 2015.
Mishal Queeni D’Costa, daughter of Lazarus and Nancy D’Costa, has secured 387th place in what is considered one of the toughest pursuits for excellence in the country.
Fondly called ‘Queeni’ in family circles, she had her primary education in her native Neerude, high school education in Kinnigoli, PU education in Alva’s at Moodbidri and Engineering at R V Engineering College in Bengaluru.
She stayed in Delhi for a year and a half to get coached for Civil Services examination. That was real determination.
After a short conversation this writer had with her, she proved to be one with clear thought, vision and focus. She certainly shows signs of having a mature head on her young shoulders.
Excerpts from her interview:
1. Congratulations to you. Hailing from a suburban background, you have made it big by passing the UPSC examinations. What made you to arrive at this decision?
Thank you for your good wishes. It was my parents who are responsible for what I am today. Right from my primary classes, I had been hearing of people in public service having done a lot of good work, yet keeping a low profile. Later on, I came to know about the Civil Services written examinations. That dream has been realized today.
2. Who were the source of inspiration for you to achieve this? Did your parents ask you to take up a specific line?
Although they did not constrain me to take up a specific line, a career in civil service for me was always in their minds. They too knew my aptitude and supported me to the core.
3. Did you have any role model or idol in pursuit of this aim?
My role models were always my parents. I marvelled the way in which my father had come up in life. He has been in public life for quite long, like activities of the Lions’ Club, Catholic Sabha and other social service. He has been elected a panchayat member for 6 terms running. The genes of public service may have been inherited from my parents. They have been a continuous source of motivation for me and my siblings.
Besides, I have admired many people like the late president Dr A P J Abdul Kalam, ‘Metro Man’ E Sreedharan and others for their hard work.
4. In order that others get inspired by you, what kind of preparation you would recommend other prospective young candidates?
‘Be positive in thoughts and acts. Remain focused and retain self-belief.’
5. In pursuing the UPSC examinations, one ought to gain a lot of general knowledge. How did you earn it? Did you have a flair for quiz or have you taken part in such contests?
Yes, I did have a flair for quiz and general knowledge. I did a lot of reading and watched news channels, besides gaining knowledge by making the right use of the mobiles and the Internet.
6. Which stream, like IAS or IFS or IPS, would you like to aspire for?
IAS, certainly. That is the best opportunity to work with the people.
7. In the modern age, most parents want to see their children as engineers, doctors, public accountants, lawyers and the like. What is your message to all parents?
I would exhort the parents not to force their children to join a particular stream. Give them knowledge. Make them aware of the opportunities. There could be uncertainty for some time, maybe even 2 to 3 years. But let them have their way with their own aptitude.
8. What is your message to youngsters of the present days in general?
I want to tell them that there are a lot of opportunities available out there. I will repeat what I already said earlier, ‘Be positive, be focused and consistent.’
9. This could be a tough question. And too early one to shoot at you. There is an image of systemic malaise of corruption about the bureaucracy. Does this daunt you or how do you plan to stand out of it?
What you say cannot be denied. But the mood of the nation is slowly changing. There are pressures and dilemmas in every field. The system is complicated, I know. It is a long journey. But changes are possible. I am very optimistic about the future. The present generation is capable of ushering in changes and I believe it is happening.