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The IAS Officer Who Wrote Mains with Broken Fingers

2022 batch IAS officer Swapnil Sisle’s determination shone through when he faced a serious accident that left him with two broken fingers right before his Mains exam. Despite coming from an engineering background, he embraced the holistic training at LBSNAA. Read on to know more about him.
Indian Masterminds Stories

Picture this: a young aspirant from Yavatmal, Maharashtra, brimming with aspirations, navigating life’s twists and turns with a blend of grit and grace. 2022 batch IAS officer Swapnil Sisle’s tale is not just about triumph; it’s a saga of overcoming mishaps, embracing challenges, and emerging victorious against all odds.

Indian Masterminds exclusively spoke with him to learn more about his journey.

EARLY LIFE AND EDUCATION

Hailing from Yavatmal, Maharashtra, Swapnil spent most of his early life in a village environment. His father, a government officer, played a crucial role in shaping Swapnil’s aspirations. An opportunity arose when his father topped a district-level exam organized by the CEO ZP, leading to Swapnil’s exposure to a broader educational environment.

Switching from Marathi to English medium schooling marked a pivotal moment in Swapnil’s life. He embraced the challenges and thrived in the new environment, which eventually led him to discover the IIT-JEE examination through his friends.

ACADEMIC AND PROFESSIONAL PURSUITS

Driven by his newfound goal, Swapnil took coaching from Hyderabad to crack the IIT-JEE exam successfully. He secured admission to IIT-Kanpur and completed his B.Tech., followed by a stint at Jindal Steel and Power in Odisha.

Furthering his academic journey, Swapnil pursued his M.Tech. from IIT Mumbai and gained valuable experience at the Tata Centre for Technology and Design. However, his realization in 2019 about the limitations of the IT sector spurred his decision to prepare for civil services – a path that offered not just diverse roles but also the chance to make a tangible difference in people’s lives.

A HORRIBLE MISHAP

He returned home and began preparing for the exam. The officer gave four attempts in total, including three Mains exams. However, the journey was far from easy. Swapnil was about to take his Mains exam for the second time in January 2020 when he was involved in a serious accident while riding his scooter to get some notes photocopied. The mishap caused two broken fingers on his right hand, which is also his dominant hand!

“Me and my entire family were heartbroken and I almost decided not to take the exam that year. However, my mother and my best friend motivated me to attempt the exam and not waste the opportunity, even if I don’t pass,” stated Swapnil.

“GET UP, DRESS UP, SHOW UP”

Keeping his personal mantra of ‘Get Up, Dress Up, and Show Up’ in mind, Swapnil kept his preparation ongoing. His brother advised him to change his pen to a pilot pen, as it is lighter in weight compared to other pens. He avoided getting plaster on his broken fingers and somehow managed with just a crepe bandage on his fingers, battling pain for over 20 days.

With all these preparations, he went to the examination hall and wrote the second Mains paper. He was able to complete the essay, GS-1, and GS-2, but was unable to complete GS-3 and GS-4, and had to leave out 3–4 questions in both papers due to unbearable pain.

“My mom put raw turmeric with the crepe bandage on my fingers, which allowed me to write as much as I could. The pain was definitely unbearable, but I still went to write the exam. Later, I thought to myself that if I could write this much in such a situation, I would surely be able to write my next attempt properly and clear the exam,” he shared with Indian Masterminds.

CRACKED AT LAST

For his third attempt, he went to Delhi to take classes for the Mains test series and his optional subject, Chemistry. After dedicated preparation and overcoming setbacks, Swapnil cracked the UPSC examination and became an IAS officer, securing an impressive AIR-395.

His perseverance and hard work paid off, leading him to be allocated to the Gujarat cadre and serve as an Additional Collector in the state.

LIFE AT LBSNAA

Swapnil’s experience at LBSNAA was transformative. Coming from an engineering background, he embraced the holistic training at LBSNAA, which included not just academics but also aspects like table etiquette and public speaking.

“Being an engineer from IIT, this was very new to me, and the life at LBSNAA fascinated me immensely. We received so many opportunities to participate in various activities besides academics, including sports, village visits, etc.”

His interest in adventure sports and rock climbing led to his appointment as Adventure Sports Secretary at LBSNAA, where he organized training workshops and gained valuable management experience.

“Being the secretary there, I was the first person to conduct training workshops there by calling ITBP personnel to the academy. Such management experience, we can’t get from anywhere else, which is what made the entire journey even more exceptional,” he shared with Indian Masterminds.

Swapnil Sisle’s story is a reminder that greatness is not defined by where one starts but by the courage and determination to keep moving forward. As his journey continues in the realm of civil services, it inspires us to dare greatly, dream boldly, and never falter in our pursuit of excellence.


Indian Masterminds Stories

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