At a young age, Ramesh Gholap, aka ‘Ramu’, had to help his mother in her bangle business to support the family.

Since a young age, his left leg was affected by polio. But nothing deterred him. He wanted to study further and moved from his village Mahagaon to Barshi with his uncle.

His sincerity and dedication made him a star among his teachers. But, in 2005, when he was in Class 12, he got the news of his father’s death.

Despite his tough circumstances, Ramu scored 88.5 per cent and went on to pursue a DEd. He then started teaching in 2009, but wasn’t entirely satisfied.

He’d seen the corruption in the system. He’d seen his parents at the mercy of government officials due to their poverty.

During his father’s tuberculosis illness, he’d seen how he did not get adequate attention in the government hospital.

But he knew from his college days that people in higher positions, such as tehsildars, had power. Ramu decided he wanted to become one.

In September 2009, he went to Pune to prepare for the UPSC exam. “I didn’t even know the meaning of MPSC and UPSC since I had always lived in small villages,” he recalls.

However, a teacher’s words inspired him — “there is nothing to stop you from taking the UPSC”.

His mother stood as a candidate for sarpanch, but lost by a few votes. This fuelled him to fight the system.

He announced in front of everyone that he was leaving the village and would come back only when he became a powerful officer.

He left his job and cleared the State Institute of Administrative Careers (SIAC) exam and finally the UPSC with an AIR 287 in his second attempt.

He was selected to be an IAS in the year 2012 and topped the Maharashtra Public Service Commission (MPSC) exam the same year.

Ramu is now posted in Jharkhand as Joint Secretary in the Energy Department.

"Whenever I help a widow, I remember my mother begging for a house. Whenever I inspect a government hospital, I remember my father who just wanted better treatment..."

"...Whenever I help a poor child, I remember myself," says the IAS.