IAS officer Anshuman Raj grew up in a Bihar village that lacked basic amenities like road connectivity and power. He studied under a kerosene lamp during his schooling.

He also saw his mother toil day and night to feed them. “My mother worked as a shiksha mitra (para teacher). Her monthly income was Rs 1,500,” he shares.

“She became the sole breadwinner of our family after my father suffered huge losses in his rice mill business in 2002. Later, he was also diagnosed with liver cirrhosis that restricted him to the bed,” he adds.

Being the elder son of the house, he aspired to cater to his family’s needs. So, after his graduation in 2013, he took up a job to work as a marine engineer for a Hong Kong-headquartered company.

While juggling a full-time job at the ship, Anshuman started preparing for the UPSC examination.

In 2016, he cleared prelims in his first attempt but failed to clear the Mains examination as he missed the cut-off with a very low margin.

In his second attempt in 2017, he cleared the Mains examination but could not clear the interview stage.

Without losing hope, he again appeared for the UPSC examination in 2018. With roughly a month left until the Mains examination, Anshuman suffered from Appendicitis.

“I was in severe pain. The doctor had misdiagnosed me and reasoned that the pain was due to food poisoning. I studied with pain and frequent vomiting,” he shares.

In 2018, he cleared the exam and was selected for the Indian Revenue Service but he again appeared for the exam as he wished to join the Indian Administrative Service with a better rank.

Finally, he cleared the examination in 2019 with an AIR of 107. Currently, he is posted as a Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) Narsinghgarh in Madhya Pradesh.

“Like me, many people want to appear for the UPSC exam but they are hesitant to quit a job for preparation as it requires family support,” he says.

“I have been fortunate that my family never imposed their decisions on me irrespective of our financial constraints and always encouraged me to chase my dreams,” he adds.