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Guiding Stars: Ashok Kumar’s Journey from IPS Officer to UPSC Mentor

Former DGP of Uttarakhand, IPS Ashok Kumar launched 'Abhiyaan UPSC' to bridge the gap in personalized and accessible UPSC exam preparation, particularly for underprivileged students.
Indian Masterminds Stories

Ashok Kumar’s name evokes a sense of dedication and leadership.  A retired Indian Police Service (IPS) officer of the 1989 batch Uttarakhand cadre, he rose to the prestigious position of the 11th Director General of Uttarakhand Police.  However, his story extends beyond his distinguished police career. Today, he plays a pivotal role in shaping the aspirations of future civil servants, through his pilot project, ‘Abhiyan UPSC’.

Speaking exclusively to Indian Masterminds, the officer shared how he got the idea for the project and how successful has it been till now.

FROM SERVICE ON THE GROUND TO ONLINE MENTORSHIP

Following his retirement, Mr. Kumar embarked on a unique mission – guiding young minds towards cracking the prestigious UPSC Civil Services Examination (CSE).  Witnessing the limitations of traditional coaching institutes, he recognized the need for a more accessible and personalized approach. The officer, who himself had cleared the UPSC exam, decided to leverage the power of social media and launched a free online initiative called ‘Abhiyaan UPSC’.

He received the idea after realizing how coachings from across the country usually keep aspirants in the dark. According to the officer, with no SWOT analysis, how could an aspirant determine where their strong points and weaknesses lie and study accordingly? These aspirants enter an atmosphere where they are unable to realize their talents, even after being talented.

“They are nothing else but money suckers. They don’t really care about an aspirant’s future but are more focused on the money that they are bringing to the table. They are just like stores that promise to give them apt guidance and counseling but loot them for six years till they are preparing and ultimately let go of them when they fail to clear the exam repeatedly,” he shared.

EMPOWERING ASPIRANTS THROUGH SOCIAL MEDIA

Mr. Kumar’s initiative focuses on empowering UPSC aspirants, particularly those from underprivileged backgrounds. He identified a crucial gap in their preparation strategies: a lack of self-assessment and a clear understanding of their strengths and weaknesses. Through his social media handles on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, he provides invaluable guidance and tips, conducting interactive sessions and recording insightful videos.

“Such students are highly vulnerable to getting into anti-social practices and activities, including major and minor crimes. One of my key aims is to target such students and provide them with proper and apt guidance so that they are engrossed in their preparation and lead respectable lives when they come into the service rather than deviating in their career,” he told Indian Masterminds.

SUCCESS STORIES AND A GROWING MOVEMENT

He has been providing guidance and counseling to students through his social media handles, via Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, free of charge.

Abhiyaan UPSC has already borne fruit. In the 2023 UPSC CSE results, 10 students mentored by Mr. Kumar for the interview round achieved success, including Shaurya Arora, who secured an impressive All India Rank (AIR) 14. This pilot project has proven its effectiveness, motivating Mr. Kumar to continue his mission.

“My pilot project just included my own self-made videos that I have been posting and promoting on social media. However, I will soon expand this and conduct full-fledged interactive online classes and sessions on the Telegram app so that it becomes easy for anyone and everyone to connect with me,” he stated.

BALANCING COMMITMENT WITH PASSION

Despite his demanding role as the Vice-Chancellor of Haryana’s Sports University, Mr. Kumar prioritizes his commitment to Abhiyaan UPSC. He dedicates time each day, even amidst his busy schedule, to record videos offering valuable advice to aspirants. He ensures consistency by recording multiple videos on weekends, safeguarding against any interruptions during the week.

BEYOND ONLINE GUIDANCE: A LEGACY OF KNOWLEDGE

Mr. Kumar’s passion for mentoring extends beyond online platforms.  He has authored several books specifically designed to aid UPSC aspirants.

His book “Ethics Made Easy” addresses a critical gap in available resources by focusing solely on the Ethics paper of the CSE. His other publications include “Humans in Khaki,” “Cyber Encounters,” “Internal Security of India,” and insightful works on International Relations.

Ashok Kumar’s journey exemplifies selfless service and a commitment to empowering future generations.  His innovative approach through Abhiyaan UPSC is a guiding light for aspiring civil servants, equipping them with the knowledge and confidence to succeed.


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