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There is no substitute for hard work – Divia IAS

(A special Interview for KALVI SURANGAM with CM Cell Special Officer Mrs. F. Innocent Diviya, B.F.Sc.,
the former Deputy Collector.)

Q: Madam… would you tell us something about you and your family background?
Oh! Ofcourse. My name is Innocent Divya Jegan. I am a District Revenue Officer. I hail from Thoothukudi district. My parents are Mr. Francis and Mrs. Jeya Francis. My father worked as Financial Advisor at Port Trust. My mother worked as Superintendent at SP’s office. My husband is Mr. Jegan who works as a software consultant in an MNC. I am blessed with 2 kids – Johanna (11) and Jonathan (5). God has been gracious in showering his blessings upon me abundantly and my only wish is to serve Him in all the ways I can as long as I ever can.

Q: In your schooling who was your role model and how did you get the spark to become IAS?
I completed my schooling at Holy Cross Anglo Indian Higher Secondary School, Thoothukudi. Even while I was at school, I wanted to become an IAS officer. My inspiration was my maternal uncle who was an upright IPS officer of Karnataka cadre. He always stood by his principles, no matter what the challenge was. He was transferred quite often, but he always maintained his integrity and never wavered from his values. My grandfather was my mentor during my early schooling and he always told me that I have the spark in me to become an IAS officer. I spent most of my time reading books and this helped me a great deal in preparing for my exams. I never lost focus of this goal but lazy as I was, didn’t work as much towards this objective. I did my bachelor’s degree in Fisheries Science from Fisheries College & Research Institute, Thoothukudi. It was at this crucial point in my life that I had choices before me – One to pursue my Master’s degree with an ICAR scholarship (which meant I would have to follow my Fisheries profession) or to follow my heart (and become an IAS officer). I chose the latter.

Q: How was your Journey so far….?
My parents were a great support to me and encouraged me to pursue a career of my choice. I worked with a Fish Processing industry soon after my graduation and kept updating myself on software courses. I decided to take a break of 3 months from work to study for my IAS prelims. At the same time, I wrote many competitive examinations. All along I kept trusting in the Lord’s will and prayed that he guides and leads me. I was successful in a Bank Officer’s Exam and joined as Probationary Officer, PNB. My results for the State Civil Services Exam I attended in 1998, soon after my graduation, got delayed due to a court case. I got married in 2000 and was working as a Bank officer. Suddenly, I received the call letter for the interview for the State Civil Services. It was a pleasant surprise for me and I knew that God had a plan for me in this. I attended the interview and got selected as Deputy Collector.

Q: After becoming somebody in the society, how do you manage both the field of your service and your family?
My initial period was very difficult as I had to juggle my new-born daughter, my job and home alone. My husband, my in-laws and my parents were a huge support to me, without whom I cannot be where I am today. I owe them a great deal and they are God’s gift to me. I worked as Revenue Divisional Officer in 3 stations namely- Tiruppur, Kallakurichi and Devakottai. I worked in Dindigul for a short period after which I was transferred to Chennai. My stints as RDO were a fulfilling experience which gave me immense job satisfaction.

I have endeavored to be the change I wanted to see as Gandhiji had rightly said. As an officer, there are two facets of service- One is serving the system from within and the other is serving the people. The latter includes positions with the public interface (Sub-Collector, Collector etc) and the former includes many other positions in the Government. In whatever position, you are posted; your job is to serve wholeheartedly with a sense of devotion as if you were serving the Lord. Yes there are challenges which cannot be wished away, but the battle is the Lord’s, not ours.

Q: What would you like to say to our readers the young students?
It is important to remember that God has a purpose for each one in our life. Many of us do not realize this. What we need to do is understand this purpose and allow Him to use us the way He wants to. The purpose may be there in your heart as a wish or it may be mentioned to you by someone. We have to work towards this purpose relentlessly with single mindedness no matter what the odds. Failure only helps us to learn from our mistakes, so never be discouraged. There is no substitute for hard work. The administrative services offer a lot of scope for learning and serving. Hence more and more youngsters should strive to enter into IAS, IPS and allied services. Updating your general knowledge by regularly reading the newspapers, taking aptitude tests and maintaining a positive frame of mind are the ingredients of success in the competitive examinations. Above all, allow the Lord to work in you. Success will come knocking.

– Interviewed By: Fr. S. RAJA

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