From Teaching Sex Workers’ Kids To Serving The Nation By Getting AIR 52
- Muskan Khandelwal
- Published on 16 Oct 2021, 5:00 pm IST
- 5 minutes read
- Ashish Mishra secured AIR 52 in UPSC CSE 2020 in his second attempt
- He took a Mechanical Engineering degree from IIT BHU, Varanasi and used to teach sex workers' children in NGO Guria
- He believes UPSC is a journey of self-evolution and continuous self-improvement
- Ashish Mishra - UPSC CSE 2020 AIR 52
“My grandfather used to always tell me, ‘Khandaan ka naam uncha karna (Bring glory to the family)’,” Ashish Mishra says, reflecting on his journey from childhood to UPSC. These words were to stick with him all throughout his student life, eventually getting him the rank 52 in CSE 2020. In an exclusive interview with Indian Masterminds, Ashish shared how his grandfather’s words inspired him to go for Civil Services and do something for the greater good of society.
KEEN ON SOCIAL SERVICE
Ashish Mishra belongs to a humble background from Purnea district of Bihar. He did his graduation in Mechanical Engineering from IIT BHU, Varanasi in 2018. His grandfather used to always encourage him to study hard and reach a level from where he could serve the society. And that’s what Ashish did. He cleared CSE with a good rank and is now all set to enter the IAS.
Ashish always wanted to give something back to the society. He recollects, “During my college days I was associated with a social service group, Guria (Doll) which fights child prostitution. I used to go to red light areas in Varanasi and teach the kids of sex workers. These were the kinds who couldn’t take admission in a regular school because of social stigma and ostracisation associated with their mothers’ profession.” He saw to it that some of them get out of the rut and take up a respectable job like that of a police constable or even a clerk.
While teaching the kids at the NGO, Ashish realised that some people face many challenges and discriminations in society. That’s when he made up his mind to expand his canvas. The only way, he realised, was to have a go at UPSC and do something for these marginalised people. That is how his journey to the civil services began.
SELF-IMPROVEMENT STRATEGY WORKED
Ashish went to Delhi for UPSC preparation. He says that “it was 80% my effort (notes, revision, and brainstorming), 10% my teachers’ and friends’ efforts, and the remaining 10% was blessings and luck.”
Ashish strongly believes that all aspirants require some form of guidance, be it from a professional coaching institute, friends, or family. “You need at least three to four people around you who have faith and belief in you,” he says.
During his first attempt, he could realise what were the issues in his preparation but instead of trying to resolve them in time, he usually got bogged down by enormity of the problems – like running behind schedule. His mind was clouded with negativity. His fears came true and he couldn’t crack the exam that time. But, he was able to identify what was wrong with his approach and worked on timely resolution of issues . He especially worked on improving his mental strength. In the end, self-belief, thorough preparation, mental fitness and meditation saw him through, and he cracked the exam in his second attempt.
However, it wasn’t just positive attitude. Ashish credits his friends, too. He says, “I focused on having the right people around me. I came in contact with people from whom I learned a lot, which again helped me to correct my mistakes. You always need to have a guru who can provide you with right guidance and who is there in your thick and thin.”
On choosing Physics as his optional subject, Ashish says, “I had a science background so I wanted to go for a science subject. I tried out six different subjects – from maths, forestry and physics to mechanical engineering. I also tried out humanities like anthropology and sociology, Eventually, I chose Physics as, I was more certain about it.”
Ashish says, “My interview lasted for 10 minutes. I was mainly asked about my home town, education system, automobiles especially driverless cars, mechanical engineering background and about the work I did in the NGO, Guria – especially what kind of policies I would like to make for sex workers for their rehabilitation. I was also asked some situational questions like what kind of development I will do as a DM of an area.”
Was there a tricky question as well? “Well, they asked me what will I do after the interview is over? I said, I will take a meal and go to Ram Krishna Ashram for meditation. I have prepared for this test for past four years. I have done my bit and now my fate lies in your hands. They started smiling”
MESSAGE TO ASPIRANTS
Ashish calls out for self-improvement. He says, “UPSC is a journey of self-evolution and continuous self-improvement. Aspirants should always try to improve and correct themselves. Identify your weakness, and rather than dwelling on them, look for solutions with a positive approach.”
Even after getting a high rank in UPSC, Ashish is not sitting idle. He is back in Delhi, teaching and mentoring the aspirants preparing for UPSC mains exams, due later this year. “I always want to share whatever I have with anyone in need.”
VISIT TO HIS SCHOOL
After clearing UPSC CSE with flying colours, Ashish went to his school and took blessings from his teachers and staff members. “I come from a humble background, and when I got selected, I realised that if someone like me can clear the UPSC exam, then there are many students who can do so. All they need is motivation and the right guidance to stoke that fire which I believe is in each one of them,” he said. And to stoke that small fire into a bright flame, he is ready to give lessons on whatever he has learnt so far to the students in his school.
END OF THE ARTICLE
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