Your background does not matter, and marks don’t define your intelligence. Only hard work and determination will fulfil your goals.  IAS Ansar Shaikh is a living proof.

Born and raised in a low-income household in Maharashtra’s Jalna district, he grew up observing the social menaces of domestic violence and child marriage up close.

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His mother worked as a farm labourer and his father was an auto driver who was an alcoholic. But that did not stop Ansar from cracking the UPSC in his first attempt, with an All-India Rank of 361 in 2016.

With support from his brother, school teacher, and UPSC coach, he overcame his inferiority complex and insecurities, and studied for 13 hours daily.

The key to passing prelims, Mains and the interview round….

“I was often mocked when I would ask silly questions. But I never really stopped asking questions. The spirit of inquiry is essential to a UPSC aspirant,” he says.

‘Your competition is you’...

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“If you think your competition is with other lakhs of aspirants who give the exam, you are mistaken. Your only competition is you. So get rid of all of your pessimistic thoughts and success will come your way.”

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