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From Rural Rajasthan to UPSC Triumph: The 7-Year Journey of Vinod Kumar Meena

Vinod Kumar Meena, hailing from rural Rajasthan, persevered through setbacks as an introvert to achieve UPSC success, securing AIR 798 in UPSC-23.
Indian Masterminds Stories

What constitutes a perfect roller coaster ride for a UPSC aspirant, particularly an extreme introvert? Among the myriad of inspiring stories, the journey of Vinod Kumar Meena stands out as truly remarkable. Originating from a rural background in Rajasthan, Vinod completed his primary education in Hindi and accomplished an extraordinary feat by securing the 798th rank in his sixth attempt in UPSC CSE-23, with aspirations to become an IPS officer.

However, Vinod’s journey was far from smooth. Despite advancing to the interview round, he encountered a setback by failing the CSAT. Hailing from a Hindi medium background with geography as his rare optional subject, Vinod faced challenges during his 7-year UPSC journey. Despite moments that could have prompted him to rethink his path, he persevered with unwavering determination and resilience. His journey was marked by a lack of significant financial support, but he found strength in the steadfast encouragement of his friends.

In an exclusive interview with Indian Masterminds, Vinod recounted his inspiring journey.

BEING AN INTROVERT

Introverted individuals often face unique challenges, much like Vinod did. During his early years of preparation, he struggled to express himself. Asking questions or seeking clarification on topics felt impossible, hindering his ability to address doubts and obstacles in his studies. This difficulty persisted for a long time, significantly impeding his learning and progress toward success. However, with the support of his friends, he gradually overcame these daunting challenges.

Reflecting on his journey, Vinod acknowledged the paradoxical nature of being an extreme introvert. He saw it as both a challenge and a hidden blessing, noting, “Being an introvert, I knew that no one would come to save me. I always had to advocate for myself and fight for what I wanted. I had to become my savior.” Vinod’s story underscores the resilience and inner strength that can emerge from navigating adversity with determination, regardless of one’s personality traits.

REDEMPTION FROM HIS OWN MISTAKES

He embarked on his Civil Services journey in 2018 after completing his engineering degree. Starting with Hindi Medium coaching, Vinod Kumar Meena persisted through six attempts in the UPSC examinations.

His initial two attempts in 2018 and 2019 ended at the prelims stage. In UPSC-20, despite advancing to the interview round, he faced disappointment again due to CSAT failure. The following year, in 2021, he reached the interview stage but narrowly missed making it to the final list, leaving him deeply disheartened.

Throughout these setbacks, Vinod demonstrated unwavering resilience and determination, holding steadfast to his belief in the virtues of patience and consistency, crucial for success in the demanding UPSC journey.

In UPSC-22, his fifth attempt, he faced another setback with yet another CSAT failure, marking a particularly challenging moment in his journey.

However, in his sixth attempt, after a dedicated seven-year-long pursuit, Vinod’s perseverance finally paid off with an impressive rank of 798, marking the culmination of his efforts on a triumphant note. Hailing from an ST background, his achievement likely secured him a position in the IPS cadre.

Reflecting on his journey, Vinod remarked, “For a Hindi Medium aspirant, this journey becomes even more challenging. I managed to complete my syllabus in just two years.” Vinod Kumar Meena’s story is a tribute to the power of perseverance and dedication in the face of adversity, inspiring aspirants from all backgrounds to pursue their dreams relentlessly.

BACKGROUND

Vinod hails from Sikar district in Rajasthan. His father works in Delhi Police, while his mother is a housewife. He has 5 siblings.

Coming from a rural background, he studied up to 10th grade in his village and later completed his engineering from IIITDM Jabalpur.

UPSC PREPARATION

Vinod Kumar Meena adopted a focused and resourceful approach to his UPSC preparation, limiting himself to one or two books per subject. He emphasized practicing previous year questions (PYQs) and thoroughly covering the syllabus to grasp the exam’s intricacies.

While proficient in his General Studies papers, this year he devoted considerable attention to his optional subject. Reflecting on past attempts, he recognized his shortcomings in answer writing, particularly in omitting factual details and neglecting map illustrations.

Regarding his friend’s assistance in preparation, he expressed, “Studying with friends broadened our perspectives, enriching our understanding. Engaging collaboratively in test series and peer reviewing each other’s work proved immensely beneficial. Our collective preparation extended to interview readiness, where we found strength in unity.”

INTERVIEW

During his interview focused on Geography, his optional subject, Vinod fielded questions ranging from his background to current global scenarios.

One of the board members asked him, “How would you prevent a revolt by the ST community protesting against the construction of a dam?” Another member queried, “What are two factual aspects in Rajasthan that stabilize India climatically?” Vinod responded, “The Thar Desert and the Aravalli Mountain Range.”

MESSAGE

In a message to aspirants, he advised, “Never fear failure and always maintain your confidence. UPSC success hinges on self-confidence and dedication to your goals.”


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