Dharavi Slums To Indian Army, A Look At The Journey Of Lieutenant Umesh Dillirao Keelu

The son of a painter who suffered from paralysis in 2013 and passed away in 2023, 26-year-old Umesh Dillirao Keelu has lived a life that can be called a chain of one struggle after the other. He is an inhabitant of Dharavi-Sion Koliwada and has experienced poverty to such an extent that he was forced to take up big responsibilities at a very young age.

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According to TOI, he self-funded his education. He earned scholarships, worked at a local cyber cafe, and received tremendous help from various trusts like Tata Trusts, PF Davar Trust, and Mahalaxmi Trust. After completing his BSc degree in IT and subsequently Masters in Computer Science, he worked at TCS for three years. He also worked at the British Council on weekends for extra earnings.

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While studying and working, he simultaneously shouldered his entire family’s responsibility financially, including paying for his father’s treatment. He had his eyes on the defence forces after he trained at the National Cadet Corps. After 13 attempts at the SSB exam, he finally qualified.

In March 2023, his time at the Officers Training Academy began and after 11 months of training, he was finally commissioned into the Indian Army.

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The entire neighbourhood in Dharavi-Sion Koliwada was celebrating because he became the first person from the neighbourhood to join the Indian Army. Nine members of his family were present at the passing out parade in OTA as they witnessed Umesh in uniform. He is now Lieutenant Umesh Keelu.

The story of Umesh Dillirao Keelu is proof that while the beginning of your story might be filled with struggle, it is the rest of the story that you can etch wonderfully yourself!

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