New Delhi: He may have lost the top rank of the Union Public Service Commission examination in 2015 to Tina Dabi but clearly he won her heart. Twenty-two year old Dabi will soon tie the knot with Athar Aamir-ul-Shafi Khan who secured second rank in the UPSC exam.
Speaking from the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy for Administration in Mussoorie where she is undergoing training, Dabi said the couple was yet to set a wedding date, but the engagement would happen “very soon”.
Love blossomed in a very sarkari set-up when the two met at the department of personnel and training (DoPT) office in North Block for a felicitation function on May 11. “We met in the morning and by evening Aamir was at my door. Uske liye pehli nazar mein pyaar ho gaya (For him, it was love at first sight)”, she said. It was August by the time his charm swayed her.”But I thank Aamir every day for his perseverance. He is a wonderful person.”
Both Khan and Dabi have been open about the relationship, posting pictures of holidays and hang outs with friends on Facebook. The pictures have generated much interest and some criticism, with people wondering why she was wasting her time, or worse, questioning her choice of partner. “We are in love and very happy . But I must admit that I get very disturbed when I read stuff about us. We have stopped googling our names and reading news about ourselves. I think it is a small price to pay for being in the public eye.”
Speaking about the criticism, Dabi said, “As any freethinking independent woman I am entitled to certain choices. I am very happy with my choice and so is Aamir. Our parents are happy too. But there will always be those elements, that small minority who will always pass negative comments about dating someone from another religion. It is just that 5%. The majority are very happy . You would have seen in my Facebook timeline that most of the comments are encouraging. In fact, I am overwhelmed by the support and congratulatory messages. I thought “yeh to achcha hai” (this is good.)” “There have been a lot of comments attributed to me falsely . Then there are comments that are anti-caste, targeting reservations, religion. It’s as if I have commited a crime by falling in love with someone who is not the same religion or caste as me.Things do become offensive.I then wonder if I should be active on social media and confront such stuff. But then I tell myself that I don’t have to prove anything to anyone,” she said.
When asked how she felt when many in the Dalit community saw her as an icon, Dabi said, “I don’t think I can be an icon yet because I am yet to do something concrete. By hardwork, God’s grace and some luck, I managed to top an exam. But at the end of the day it is just an exam and I still have a long way to go. I still have to go on the field and do something. I still have to prove myself. I know that there is so much social stigma attached to being a Dalit that it is unthinkable for many Dalit students that they can ever top the exam. So if I can encourage any student to do better, I think it is wonderful,” she said.