Golam Rasul Sweet was born into a very poor family, as commonly happens in Bangladesh.
His father Mosharraf Hossain worked as a security guard in Dhaka for eight years to support his family, and his mother Mahfuza Khatun worked as a housemaid. The family is from Komorpur village under Debhata upazila in Satkhira.
His parents lacked a lot of things in life, but they never lacked the firm determination to raise their son as best as they could. Despite the odds stacked against the family, their belief in their son was not misplaced.
Now the couple's fate has changed for the better, as if it was moved by their sheer determination. His father no longer works as a guard, and his mother has stopped being a housemaid.
Their son Sweet achieved 67th position in the 12th Bangladesh Judicial Service Commission exam. A gazette released on January 19 this year has Sweet's name on it. Sweet will become an assistant judge in Pirojpur district on January 28.
The Business Standard spoke with Sweet to learn about his daunting journey from poverty to judicial service.
Reminiscing about his early life, Sweet said, "We did not get to eat every day. I studied in Komorpur Government Primary School, then got admitted into a local dakhil madrasa.
"I achieved GPA 5 in the SSC equivalent exam in 2007, and then began studying at Sakhipur Khan Bahadur Ahsanullah College. I got GPA 4.10 in the HSC exam, but after that my academic career almost ended because of poverty."
He continued his story, "A senior associate advised me to study at a coaching centre in Dhaka. But we could barely afford two square meals a day, I had no idea how I could afford it. Then I sold a cow belonging to my mother for Tk15,000 and got admitted to a coaching centre in Dhaka in 2010.
"I ran out of money quickly, and there was no option to ask for money from home. The coaching centre director supported me by allowing me to live and study at the centre for free. I can never forget how my classmates and friends helped me in many ways."
Sweet added that he could never be where he is without the support of his friends.
Telling the story of his university career, Sweet said, "I got admitted to the law department of Jagannath University on the advice of my friends and well-wishers. I started offering tuition services by printing posters and distributing them directly to parents.
"I quickly received five tuition offers. My academic career continued to move forward. I was placed 11th in the merit list in the "B" unit of Jagannath University. I was placed 67th in the 12th Bangladesh Judicial Service Commission exam, among 100 people."
Sweet said that 97 people were appointed to the judicial service, but three were rejected after police verification.
Adding that he is set to join as a Pirojpur district assistant judge on January 28, Sweet said, "I have no plans to get rich. I will always stay on the path of justice and serve the people. I will never compromise with irregularities or corruption. Everyone will get justice from me.
"I know the struggles of a person growing up in a poor family. Money is not a barrier to education. Those with the willpower will find a way."
Meanwhile, Sweets father said, "My son told me to quit my job as a security guard. He said that he has got a job and I don't have to work anymore. I am thinking of starting a small business in the area."
Sweets mother became emotional while talking about her son's success.
With teary eyes, she said, "I used to work as a housemaid. My husband and I did our best to help our son continue his studies. We prayed for our son, and our prayers were heard by the Almighty. I am very happy. Please pray for my son."
Speaking about Sweet's success, Deputy Commissioner SM Mostafa Kamal said, "Not everything can be achieved only with money. Hard work leads to success. Sweet became a judge because he worked hard.
"I want to convey my sincere congratulations to Sweet for his tremendous achievement. I also have the utmost respect for his parents."