S Asker Ali, the protagonist of this story, belongs to a community in Manipur called Meitei-Pangal. Forming a mere eight per cent of the state’s population, the Meitei Pangal has been a marginalised community, with hardly any opportunities for exposure.
With limited access to resources and an insignificant number of community members participating in the rungs of administration, Asker’s dream of becoming an IAS officer did not come easy.
A graduate in Physics from Delhi University, Asker enrolled at a coaching institute after he completed his graduation. The second of five siblings, Asker went through various difficulties, economic and financial, while he was pursuing his academic interests. He cleared the UPSC in 2015 and became the first from his state to do so.
In a post made by Humans of Lbsnaa, 167th rank holder, Asker says, “I have wanted to be an IAS since class 9.”
“During school, I used to work with my parents in our agricultural fields. That ingrained in me the value of hard work.”
He goes on to say, “Today, I am the first direct IAS – that’s a feat that is mine forever, something I will always be proud of. I also believe its special because it may be a small success but it will be an example for others to follow in our community. How education can be a game-changer will be seen by the community, and that’s a step towards a better future.”
Here’s hoping that Asker’s accomplishment propels many more from Manipur to follow his steps.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)