After his father abandoned his family, P Balamurugan was raised by his single mother along with eight siblings.

The family lived in a thatched-roof house with two rooms.

His mother, Palaniammal, who had studied only till Class 10, pushed her children to study.

A strong proponent of putting education first, his mother even sold 1,200 sq ft of land for Rs 1.25 lakh to continue her children’s education.

One day, when he approached a newspaper vendor to request him to allow Balamurugan to read a Tamil newspaper, he was asked to pay Rs 90 for a monthly subscription.

“I admitted to having no money but he offered me a job and promised to pay Rs 300,” Balamurugan recalls.

So, he started distributing newspapers when he was in Class 4.

He recalls that at times, the family slept hungry, but never without studying.

In 2011, he graduated as an engineer from Madras Institute of Technology and even got placed in Tata Consultancy Services (TCS).

By 2012, the economic condition of the family improved. The family started living in a permanent house with five rooms.

But in 2013, a life-changing incident took place.

“A politically powerful person tried to encroach on our land. Once the land was encroached, we would get only 10 feet of space to enter our house,” he recalls.

Around the same time, Balamurugan read about a dynamic IAS lady officer heading the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Cell to resolve complaints.

“To my complaint, an order was issued to all the government agencies to ensure no encroachment takes place on the land,” he says.

That incident made him realise the power of good governance.

In 2015, he quit his corporate job and in 2018, he cleared the examination in IFS cadre and got inducted in 2019.

“I realised there is so much needed to change and improve our country. I feel it is the right time to be a part of the system to bring about an efficient change.”