From the 22-year-old whose mother rolled out thousands of rotis to pay for his education to the man who slept on platforms to get free coaching and cracked IIT, over the last few years, we have seen candidates who have crushed crippling poverty and fought odds to follow their UPSC dreams.
These achievers prove that no financial crisis, hardship, and adversity can be a deterrent from attaining their goals because they were willing to do everything it took. They gave it their best shot, and the results are out for everyone to see!
1. How Thousands of Rotis Made By This Mother Fuelled her Son’s UPSC Dream
22-year-old Hasan Safin, who cracked the Union Public Services Commission exams 2017, with an all-India rank of 570, credits his success to the unconditional love and support of his mother.
Hailing from a low-income family from the village of Kanodar in Palanpur district of Gujarat, his parents worked in a small diamond unit. There were several days when he would go to sleep on an empty stomach. But his parents knew Hasan’s hunger for education was far beyond the physical need to fill his stomach. So his mother Naseem Banu began rolling out hundreds of rotis for local restaurants and marriage halls.
Waking up at 3:00 a.m. every day, she would make anywhere between 20 to 200 kilos of medium-sized rotis earning Rs 5,000-8,000 a month–all of which was collected to fund his education.
Such was his dedication that he also received help from a local businessman who spent Rs 3.5 lakh to fund Hasan’s two-year stay in Delhi, including the fees of a coaching institute, travel, and accommodation. Read his success story here.
2. How 75 Percent Loss of Vision Could Not Keep Jayant From Cracking UPSC!
While clearing the UPSC is no cakewalk, doing it while being a visually-challenged candidate with no financial resources even to afford audio books or screen readers for preparation can be taxing.
“I could not afford audio books or a screen reader. Therefore, I started listening (to) various debates on the radio, Lok Sabha, and Rajya Sabha TV. I took pictures of pages through my mobile and often zoomed in to read them. I have never read a National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) book, and I couldn’t use hand-written notes, which made preparation very difficult,” says Jayant Mankale from Beed district.
Despite all odds, this visually-impaired man who lost 75 percent of his vision in 2014 to retinitis pigmentosa secured the All-India rank of 923 in his fourth attempt for UPSC this year.
While his mother and sister sold homemade spices, pickles, and other food items to help him, his late father’s pension did little to pay off his college loans. But he was fortunate to get guidance from Pravin Chavan and Manohar Bhole free of cost. Read his story here.
3. Farmer’s daughter ranks 23 in UPSC
25-year-old Tapasya Parihar nailed the UPSC exams this year after she secured an AIR 23 among the 990 selected candidates. The young daughter of a farmer hails from the underdeveloped village of Jowa in Madhya Pradesh, that has a sparse population of only 800 people and an overall literacy rate of 63%. Most girls in this village never had the opportunity to pursue education as many of them have to get married and become mothers at a tender age.
But Tapasya, whose educational dreams were also supported by her father and family cleared the exam in her second attempt. Although she attended coaching classes in Delhi for her first attempt, she failed to make it through the preliminary examination.
So the law student decided to quit coaching and decided to prepare on her own the second time around. She proved all naysayers wrong when she not only cracked the competitive exam but also managed to rank among the top 25!
Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan praised the “farmer’s daughter from Narsinghpur” who left no stone unturned to reach her goal.
4. TN Man Slept on Platforms, Overcame Poverty to Fulfill His Dreams!
M Sivaguru Prabakaran had dreamt of joining the civil services since 2004. But with his father drowning in alcohol and his mother and sister struggling to get through the day, selling coconut fronds, becoming an IAS officer was a distant dream.
Prabakaran, the young man from Melaottankadu village in Thanjavur district was forced to give up engineering after class 12 to support his family. But he worked as a sawmill operator, managed his younger brother’s engineering education, got his older sister married and returned to complete his education.
He finished civil engineering at a Government institute in Vellore in 2008 and travelled to Chennai in the hope of cracking the IIT-Madras entrance examination. His friend referred him to a tutor at St Thomas Mount who coached disadvantaged students at no cost.
Prabakaran would attend college in Vellore on weekdays, working part-time at a mobile recharge outlet and travel to St Thoma Mount on weekend for tutoring. Often with no place to live there, he would sleep at the railway station.
Not only did Prabhakaran successfully crack the entrance, but he also topped his M.Tech programme in 2014 with a 9.0 GPA! He took one step closer to his dream of becoming an IAS officer after he cracked the UPSC civil services examination in 2017 and secured the 101st rank among the 990 who made the cut. Read his story here.
5. The son of a security guard who cracked UPSC in 2015.
Surya Kant Dwivedi worked at the University of Lucknow as a security guard. His meagre income barely helped his family of five meet ends. But this humble security guard knew that only education and hard work could pull his family out of the abyss of poverty.
And so, when his youngest son, Kuldeep expressed interest in attempting the UPSC exams–not once, but thrice–Surya was supportive.
Surya’s hard work and Kuldeep’s single-minded focus paid off when Kuldeep secured the 242nd rank in the Civil Services Exams in 2015. His dream of becoming an IPS officer could now be a reality. Read his story here.
6. The son of a rickshaw driver who cracked the civil service exams at 21, in his first attempt in 2015!
Nestled in the drought-hit region of Marathwada, Maharashtra, Shelgaon is home to Ansar Ahmad Shaikh. He rose to limelight after he cracked the UPSC exam in his very first attempt at 21 years of age!
While Ansar’s father Yonus Shaikh Ahmad, worked as an autorickshaw driver, his mother worked in the fields. His younger brother, Anees, dropped out of school and worked as a mechanic to support Ansar’s UPSC dream.
Despite all odds, Ansar secured 91% in his Class X board exams and moved on to get a degree in political science from Fergusson College, Pune. He studied for over 12 hours a day for three years to prepare for the civil services and made headlines when he became one of the youngest candidates to crack the competitive exams in 2015. Ansar secured an All-India rank of 361. Read his story here.
We salute each of these exceptional high-fliers and wish them continued success in life. We hope their stories inspire youth across the country to not let any financial crisis or internal struggle become roadblocks on their journey to success!
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)