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From Security Guard’s Son to IAS Topper: 4 Attempts, 2 Marks, and a Dream Realized

His father, a security guard, stood watch over a school. Atul, his son, would conquer a much bigger battlefield - UPSC - but the journey was fraught with 'almosts'. What turned the tide?
Indian Masterminds Stories

Forget the silver spoon. This IAS topper’s success story is forged from the steely resolve of a son who watched his father stand guard, not just at a school but for his entire family’s dreams. Buckle up for a tale of spirit, near misses, and a victory that’s worth an AIR 67!

Atul Singh, a young man from Ranchi, Jharkhand, has etched his name in the coveted list of UPSC CSE 2023 achievers, securing an impressive All India Rank 67. His story, however, goes beyond the glory of the rank. It’s a demonstration of determination, the power of family, and the ability to overcome adversity.

A FATHER’S SACRIFICE, A SON’S DREAM

Atul’s journey began in the heart of Bihar, where his father toiled on the farm. Facing financial limitations, his mother took a bold step, moving with his younger brother to Ranchi, Jharkhand, where Atul already lived with his uncle and aunt, to ensure a better education for them.

This decision came at a cost. Atul’s father, to support the family, took up the demanding job of a security guard at a school in Odisha’s Bhadrak.

BRILLIANCE MEETS AMBITION

Atul, ever the bright spark, thrived academically. He excelled in school, aced the JEE exam on his first attempt, and went on to pursue Mechanical Engineering at MNNIT Allahabad. After a successful stint at Reliance Industries, a new ambition ignited within him – the dream of becoming an IAS officer.

“By God’s grace, my parents did not need to invest a lot of money into my education, as I got scholarships until class 10th every year. Also, I was staying with my uncle, which minimized my expenses even more. Post class 12th, I got an education loan for myself, as MNNIT gives loans at a rebate, which was one of the reasons why I also took up the Reliance job, to repay my loan. After clearing my debts, I also saved up some money and began my UPSC preparation,” he told Indian Masterminds.

FOUR ATTEMPTS, FIRM RESOLVE

Atul’s path to success wasn’t a straight line. He embarked on his UPSC journey in 2020, facing heartbreak as he missed the mark by a mere two points. Yet, his spirit remained unbroken. In 2021, he cleared the prelims and mains but fell short in the final cut-off by 28 marks. The following year brought him even closer, reaching the interview stage again but missing out by 25 marks.

“Instead of focusing on how I failed from just a few marks, I focused on how close I got to cracking it with every attempt and took it positively. I convinced myself that if I pushed myself just a little bit, I would definitely be able to crack it. This was my prime motivation,” he shared.

Most would crumble under such relentless near-misses. But Atul, fueled by a positive attitude and the unwavering support of his close friends, refused to give up. He dedicated time to physical fitness, finding solace in walks, meditation, and yoga to combat negativity.

“When you lose your belief, you need someone to believe in you. My friends believed in me, which helped me overcome my struggles and start from scratch after every failed attempt,” he shared with Indian Masterminds.

CHALLENGES AND SOLUTIONS: A SELF-MADE STRATEGY

Financial constraints were another hurdle. While Atul had some savings, it wasn’t enough. He took initiative, engaging in freelance work like checking answer sheets, framing questions, and mentoring students – activities that not only honed his knowledge but also eased his financial burden.

Interestingly, he opted for self-study for most of the preparation, taking coaching only for his optional subject – philosophy.

THE SWEET TASTE OF VICTORY

Finally, in his fourth attempt (2023), Atul’s relentless efforts bore fruit. He conquered all three stages of the exam, securing a phenomenal AIR 67. His success wasn’t just his; it was a victory for his parents, especially his mother, whose sacrifices and grit paved the way for this incredible achievement.

Atul’s story is more than just an account of cracking a prestigious exam. It’s a powerful message for all aspirants – success doesn’t come easy, but with a positive outlook, determination, and the right support system, even seemingly insurmountable challenges can be overcome.


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