The announcement of the UPSC results this week brought great cheer to more than a 1,000 candidates and their families across the country. The moment of celebration was sweeter still in the Dwivedi household in Lucknow.
Surya Kant Dwivedi works untiringly at the University of Lucknow as a security guard. Making ends meet for his family of five is a struggle on his meagre income. When his youngest son expressed interest in attempting the UPSC exams – not once, but thrice – Surya agreed, despite the fact that his son’s pursuit would mean one less earning member in the family.
For Surya Kant’s son, Kuldeep, his family’s acceptance and support was all the encouragement he needed to pursue a childhood dream: “Since my childhood days, I have seen the amount of power a district collector or SSP of a particular district enjoys. It always inspired me. I always wanted to become like that. It was always there in the back of my mind”
Today, Surya’s hard work and Kuldeep’s single-minded focus have paid off with Kuldeep securing the 242nd rank in the Civil Services Exams, paving the way for his future as an officer with the Indian Police Service.
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The Hindustan Times reports that it took Kuldeep nearly half-an-hour to explain the significance of his rank to his family.
“They do not understand what IPS is all about. They just think that a sub-inspector is the most powerful person in the police department. I had to tell them that after completion of training I will be posted as assistant superintendent of police (ASP) in some district. And when they realised that I have now become an officer. There was complete silence. Tears rolled out from their eyes,” says Kuldeep
This is the 27-year-old post gradudate’s third attempt: “I had cracked few other examinations in the past but did not join because I wanted to crack the civil service examination.”
In 2013, Kuldeep was selected as an assistant commandant in the Border Secuirty Force, but did not take it up.
“I was determined that somehow I will have to crack the UPSC examination with a good rank. I kept myself engaged in academics. Luckily the family never troubled me in my pursuit. I’m now all ready to don the uniform and work for country’s development.”
Surya Kant’s joy knows no boundaries: “I shared the news with other security guards of the university and went straight home. I cannot thank God more. We have seen difficult times. Now it is for him to change family fortunes. I’m proud that my hard earned money did not go waste,” he said.
In the dusty by-lanes of Shelgaon village, Maharashtra, one is likely to come across similar scenes of jubilation. Nestled in the drought-hit region of Marathwada, the village is home to Ansar Ahmad Shaikh.
The 21-year-old is the son of an auto-rickshaw driver and brother of a mechanic. He has also cracked the UPSC exam on his very first attempt!
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Talking to the Hindustan Times, an emotional Shaikh said, “My brother, a garage hand, supported me throughout, without which this would have been impossible to achieve. I am indebted to him.”
The graduate is believed to have devoted more than 13 hours a day to his studies.
Sweta Agarwal’s is yet another heart-warming story of overcoming the odds. The only daughter of a grocer from Bhadreshwar, Sweta has finally realised her dream of becoming an IAS officer by securing the 19th rank in the UPSC exams.
“It’s like finding your goal at last,” she told The Times of India.
Sweta’s father has studied till the 12th Std. and her mother was married off when she was around 16. Despite struggling to make ends meet, the family strove to provide their daughter with a good education: “They are the world’s best parents. Despite going through abject poverty, they sent me to the best schools possible,” she says.
Sweta had cracked the UPSC exams twice before, qualifying for IRS and IPS. Currently, she is undergoing her IPS training in Hyderabad and wishes to get the Bengal cadre in IAS.
With a success rate of less than one percent, the Civil Services Examinations conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) are dubbed the most competitive exams in the country. But these three achievers have proved that with grit and determination, you can write your own success story.