On Friday evening, as the results of the 2017 Civil Services Exam were released by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), it became known that Anudeep Durishetty has emerged as the topper.
For the 28-year-old Indian Revenue Service Officer from Telangana, clearing the exams was anything but a cakewalk. He attempted the highly competitive exams five times before he got through.
"This is my fifth attempt. I have failed thrice before, and the journey was not easy for me," he told NDTV.
Here are five other motivating tales of successful UPSC rank-holders:
M Sivaguru Prabakaran
He had to sacrifice his dream of pursuing an engineering degree as his family didnât have the money to afford his counselling sessions in Chennai. But this son of an alcoholic from Melaottankadu village in Pattukottai in Thanjavur district was determined not to give up. He not only secured an entry into IIT Madras, where he finished his M.Tech programme as the top ranked student in 2014, but also got 101st rank among 990 candidates selected by the UPSC in the Civil Services Exam 2017.
Recalling the hardships he faced, Sivaguru said, âI worked as a sawmill operator for two years and did a bit of farming. Whatever money I could muster, I spent some towards my family and saved some for my education. I wasnât prepared to let go of my dreams,â he said.
Read his story here.
Ramesh Gholap or Ramu as he was called at his native village Mahagoan in Barshi Taluka, Solapur district of Maharashtra, had a difficult childhood and with his left leg being affected by polio, it made things worse. His father managed a cycle repair shop but the meagre income which was enough to sustain a family of four, soon dried up, as he took to drinking and the business wound up.
Ramuâs mother then started selling bangles in nearby villages to provide for the family. Despite being affected by polio, Ramu and his brother lent a helping hand to their mother.
After his father passed away when he was in class 12, it was his neighbours who helped with some money for him to be able to attend the last rites of his father.
Ramu first appeared for UPSC exams in 2010 but failed to get through. He finally aced it two years later topping the Maharashtra Public Service Commission (MPSC) exam, scoring the highest ever marks of 1,244 out of 1,800.
âWhenever I cancel the licence of a PDS shop owner who has been black marketing kerosene, I remember my days when I had to turn off the lantern for lack of kerosene. Whenever I help a widow, I remember my mother begging for a house or for her pension. Whenever I inspect a government hospital, I remember my fatherâs words when he had left drinking and just wanted better treatment. He would ask me to become a big man and take him to a private hospital. Whenever I help a poor child, I remember myself, I remember Ramu,â said Ramesh Gholap, IAS.
Read his story here.
Mohammed Ali Shihab
Mohammed Ali Shihab cracked the Civil Services exam in 2011, but it was anything but smooth sailing for him. The 31-year-old hailing from a remote village in Malappuram district grew up in an orphanage.
Born into abject poverty, Shihab spent his childhood in a village known as Edavannappara near Kondotty. He used to help his father sell betel leaves and bamboo baskets for a living. After his father passed away in 1991, he was sent to Mukkam Muslim Orphanage in Kozhikode district the very next day as his family couldnât afford to support him.
Recalling his days spent burning the midnight oil, he said, âI used to read in scant light under the cover of bed sheet and pillows in order not to disturb my friends sleeping in the neighbouring beds of the dormitory. In fact, I was violating the orphanage rules.â
It was Aboobacker Siddique, an IAS topper from Malappuram working as the District Collector of Simdega in Jharkhand, who served as an inspiration for him to crack the Civil Services exam.
Mohammed secured 226th rank in the exam.
Read his story here.
Ummul Kher had a rare bone disease since childhood and grew up in a slum, but what made matters worse for her was her parents refusal to fund her education beyond class 8. They threatened to sever all ties with her if she studied further. But Ummul fought against the odds and started earning for herself at the age of 14 by taking tuition classes.
âI got between Rs 50-100 from each student. I couldnât have expected more as these were the children of labourers, iron smith, rickshaw-pullers, etc,â she said.
She put this money to good use for her education.
Battling all along with the rare bone disease, she secured 91% marks in her 12th exam and did her Psychology (Hons) from Gargi College before enrolling herself at JNU for MA in international studies.
In 2013, she started getting Rs. 25,000 per month after she got a Junior Research Fellowship (JRF).
She cracked the Civil Services exam in 2017, securing all India rank 420.
Read her story here.
The adage âKeep trying till you succeedâ fits perfectly on K Jayaganesh who failed a total of six times before finally clearing the Civil Services exam in the seventh attempt, which was incidentally also his last chance.
During the course of attaining his goal of becoming an IAS officer, he also worked as a waiter.
He was born and brought up in a small village called Vinavamangalam in Vellore district of Tamil Nadu.
After passing out of a polytechnic college securing 91% marks, he joined the Thanthai Periyar Government Engineering College and studied mechanical engineering.
After completing his course, he went to Bengaluru where he got his first job at a salary of Rs 2,500. It was here that he decided to become an IAS officer.
âI resigned and went home to prepare for the examination. I never thought resigning was risky because I had the confidence and knew I would do well. My father also supported me wholeheartedly. He had just got a bonus of Rs 6,500 and he gave me that money to buy study material. I sat in my village and studied from the notes I received by post from Chennai.â
When most would have given up, Jayaganesh kept at it and secured 156th rank out of over 700 selected candidates, in his seventh attempt in 2008.
Read his story here.