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Don’t Make UPSC Ultimate Goal, Family More Important: Utkarsh Narayan

Utkarsh Narayan, who hails from the Terai region of Uttar Pradesh, cracked UPSC 2020 with 740th rank. Although he is happy that he cleared the exam, he appeared in the Prelims again this year to better his rank. However, he advises aspirants not to consider UPSC as the ultimate goal, as there’s more to lifethan an exam.

Utkarsh Narayan, who secured AIR 740 this year, believes that what matters more than success in life is to inculcate a spirit of never giving up, and to keep fighting even after a lot of struggles. The recent loss of human lives during the height of Covid 19 epidemic made Utkarsh so resilient that his fear of failure disappeared forever. Talking to Indian Masterminds, he says that UPSC is not the end of the road, there’s more to life beyond an exam.

COVID ORDEAL

Utkarsh himself went through bad times during the second Covid 19 wave. Just before his interview, he along with his family members were infected with the virus, which left him mentally exhausted. He narrates his ordeal: “The only thing on my mind was that everyone should be fine in my family. I wanted nothing more than that. At that moment,I realized that UPSC is not everything. Family is the most important thing in this world, and if they are with you, then you can achieve anything.”

Utkarsh honored by his school ‘Sacred Heart Inter College Sitapur’ after selection in UPSC

He reveals that the UPSC race seemed meaningless to him at that point of time. “Its importance had diminished in my mind. Maybe that’s why I was able to give the interview very well. I felt that now that my family was fine, everything will be okay, and whatever I get extra will be a bonus. So, there was no fear of failure in my mind,” he says.

UPSC JOURNEY

Utkarsh was inspired by his father to join civil services. His father used to tell him that if there’s God above, there’s DM below -both have immense strength to help people. These words created a deep impression in Utkarsh’s mind, and he decided to become a civil services officer. His father is a Reader in Sitapur Criminal Court and is also the secretary of the Uttar Pradesh Civil Court Association.

Happy Moments: Utkarsh Narayan (second from right) with his brother (second from left)

Utkarsh completed his class 12 from Sacred Heart Inter College in Sitapur and went to Delhi for further studies. He graduated in B.Sc (Chemistry Honors) from the prestigious Hindu College of Delhi University in 2017. Immediately after that, he started preparing for UPSC.

He took coaching only for his optional subject, Geography, and kept himself completely away from social media during his preparation. He even kept his mobile phone switched off. Initially, he studied for 12-14 hours a day, but after he finished his syllabus, the hours were reduced to 8-10 hours a day.

Utkarsh with his father Prem Narayan

As far as his strategy goes, he did a lot of test papers, studied old UPSC papers, and attempted as many MCQs (Multiple Choice Questions) as he could for prelims. For the mains, he focused on practicing answer writing frequently. For the interview, he says, “knowing yourself, knowing the things around you, and self-awareness is very important.”

Utkarsh (in between) celebrates with his family friends after selection

QUESTIONS IN INTERVIEW

Most questions were about his home state Uttar Pradesh and his district Sitapur. He was also asked about his alma mater, Hindu College. Since he was the cultural president of Delhi University, he was queried on the importance of students’ union, and whether students should be in politics or not. He was also asked what measures Uttar Pradesh was taking to prevent a third wave of Covid.

Swag of Success: Utkarsh Narayan

ADVICE TO ASPIRANTS

Utkarsh advises to read The Hindu newspaper and NCERT books regularly, and to focus on old question papers and MCQs. He advises against running after coaching materials.

With his mother (first from left) Utkarsh (second from left) being felicitated by his school

IMMEDIATE PLAN

Utkarsh again appeared for UPSC prelims this year. Why? In his words: “If the result goes in my favor, then I will take EO (Extra Ordinary Leave) from my current job to prepare ahead. I want to become an IAS officer by improving my rank.”

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