Mammoth VISION of the sightless - makes her the First and Only IFS officer.

beno zephine nl

The magnificent brain of an exceptional lady

NL Beno Zephine is a demonstration of the magnificence of the human brain. All it takes is the iron WILL of people to become winners. Mrs. Zephine is the first 100% visually impaired person to be admitted as an officer of the Indian Foreign Service officer (IFS).

From her childhood, the visual disability activated in the brain of the little Beno the expansion of the rest of her senses. The tactile sensitivity and sharp hearing of this extraordinary girl allowed her to enter the wonderful world of literature. She learned Braille and through her fingers traveled to distant lands and met the greats of Indian and universal literature.

Mrs. Beno, based on her travels through the pages written by the greats of literature, decided to study at Stella Maris College in Chennai, where she graduated in English Literature. This magnificent lady was not satisfied with the degree, as she knew she had to advance academically to enter the IFS. With great efforts and the unconditional support of her family, she obtained a Post-graduate Degree in English Literature from the University of Madras.

Cooperation: The Foreign Service from the Perspective of NL Beno Zephine

The standards for the admission of officials to the IFS are very demanding. It requires a whole lot of intense training.  In addition, it is fundamental to have firmness and equanimity to become the image of the Indian nation in any of the International Forums where its attendance is required. NL Beno Zephine demonstrated that she possesses all these qualities and the determination to achieve her nation's goals with an unwavering WILL.

The dynamic of the global world floods humanity with millions of images that tend to overflow the senses and do not allow us to elucidate between the vain and the important. Zaphine has the quality of approaching the world reality by capturing the details and quickly reaching the essence of the fundamental issues. Unlike civil servants who are overwhelmed by images, she appropriates the information by analyzing it from the content and not from the graphic image.  For a Foreign Service official, this is an exceptional comparative advantage.

The troubled world of the diplomacy urgently requires the sensitivity and perspective of people who possess a steel temper and passion for social processes. Beno from her childhood demonstrated that she possesses both qualities in abundance. She keeps her values and principles intact in the face of challenges and places all her efforts to achieve the goals she sets for herself.

Mrs. NL Beno said "My family and friends were fundamental during the preparation process for the IFS exam, because in order to cover all the bibliography that the test demanded, I required texts not available in Braille”. I also received training from experts of the IAS Academy of Manidhaneyam. This process showed her that great goals are achieved through the concurrence of different social actors: "Use the software Job Access With Speech (JAWS) that allowed me to read computer texts, but this software, like many others, was made by brilliant people, who from various places in the world, make contributions that improve the quality of life of humanity” she said.

The preparation of NL Beno for the IFS tests shows that even when an individual has the potential to achieve great goals, the commitment of the social environment is indispensable for the goals to be met. For she this is valid in multiple scenarios both nationally and internationally, the keyword is Cooperation:"The officials of the IFS are a whole at the service of Indian society and humanity".

Spiritual strength of the extraordinary people

NL Beno Zephine is originally from Tamil Nadu and at the age of 25, she achieved the dream of passing the examination of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and joining the IFS. The preparation for the tests coincided with her doctorate courses in English literature at the University of Bharathiar. This extraordinary lady took on both challenges and achieved her dream without sacrificing her doctoral studies.  

Zephine is today a reference for young people in India and the world. Together with young people such as Krishna Gopal Tiwari of Varanasi, she demonstrates with her achievements and extraordinary performance that the ability to transform weaknesses into bastions resides in the spiritual strength of human beings. Young people in India possess that spiritual strength.

Zephine has been a motivational speaker since she joined the IFS. She insists that obstacles must be transformed into opportunities: "It doesn't matter if they are people with disabilities, young people, poor people, women, and even children. We all have the spiritual strength to move forward. In any case, it is the spiritual strength of the people of India, who demonstrate every day the commitment to leverage and support talented people so that together we can achieve our dreams”.

In January 2018 NL Beno Zephine was awarded by the President of India for her achievements as "First visually impaired woman to join the Indian Foreign Service".

Ms Beno is currently posted at Indian Embassy in Paris.

The Paris posting has been eventful for Zephine's personal life too. She got married in December - an arranged marriage with a boy from Tamil Nadu.

She had had proposals when she was undergoing training, preparatory to her posting, at the Lal Bahadur Shastri Academy of Administration in Mussoorie.

They were from IAS officers, but Zephine said: "I did not want to get into a marriage where I would be abroad and my husband remained in the domestic civil service. Then we would be living apart."

She said she was also determined that she would not marry anyone who was getting into a relationship with her out of pity.

"I was looking for someone who would treat me like a normal person."

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Beno Zephine NLIFSIndian Foreign Service Officer