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With Just Three Fingers, Suraj Succeeds In UPSC (Exclusive)

Suraj Tiwari got 917 rank in his first attempt inUPSC CSE-2022 He lost three limbs in an accident, with three fingers he wrote the exam He was asked about Russia-Ukraine war indetails in his Interview
Indian Masterminds Stories

In ancient Greek mythology, phoenix is a magical bird that lives long, dies into flames, and is born again from its ashes. That is just a lore but in 21st century India, we do have a real life phoenix in Suraj Tiwari.

Thousands of inspiring stories come out of UPSC each year and yet Suraj’s is extraordinary. One whom people never expected to be self-reliant after losing both his legs and one hand, has proved everyone wrong, rising above all odds each time.

The boy from Uttar Pradesh’s Mainpuri has now cleared the coveted UPSC CSE-2022 in his first attempt with AIR 917 and 2nd rank in PwBD (physical disability) category.

He only has three fingers in his left hand, but they were enough to crack one of the toughest exams in the country.

Speaking to Indian Masterminds, Mr Tiwari said,“This journey was full of struggles. I fought many battles every day, both with myself and with the challenges that came my way. That’s why I am relieved with immense satisfaction. I have no words to describe this moment.”

LIFE CHANGING

On January 29, 2017, Suraj slipped off an overcrowded moving train while travelling from Delhi to Aligarh. In the accident near Dadri, Suraj was grievously injured. Police rushed him to AIIMS, Delhi.

Days later, when he regained consciousness, he found his both legs amputated below the knees, his right hand and two fingers of his left also gone.

His accident broke the family, who were plunged into debt apart from the personal misfortune as another one struck.

Even while Suraj’s treatment was underway, his brother Rahul died by suicide in May. It was the darkest phase of their life.

Suraj and his mother

NOT DISABLED

Suraj said, “One can only imagine but may not conceive the way my whole world changed. There was only way before me, to fight. I chose to never give up.”

He does not consider himself disabled. He feels society’s definition of disability is misplaced. “There is nothing that can stop one except the self.People’s interpretation of disability is wrong. Mental disability is a bigger problem than the physical one.”

HAPPIEST PARENTS

Suraj’s parents are the happiest on earth right now.His father, a tailor, said, “My son has made me proud. He is very brave. His three fingers are enough to succeed.”

“He had told me not to worry, he still has three fingers left. But even with one finger he would not let me down. And today he has done just that,” the man almost chokes with emotion.

Suraj’s mother recalls: “With my elder son gone, we were left with only my husband’s income. Suraj accepted God’s decision and decided to do something big. He worked harder to beat all odds. He is an inspiration to his younger siblings.”

Suraj Tiwari with his family

BIG DREAMS

Belonging to the EWS category, Suraj’s early education was from Maharshi Parshuram Public School in the city. He passed the intermediate from Sampurnanand Inter College in 2014 after failing once under CBSE.

Due to their economic situation, he couldn’t complete B.SC. It was not until after his life altering accident in 2017, that he got admission in JNU entrance in 2018 to restart his education and even completed his graduation in Russian language in 2021.

At JNU, he exposed to the civil services and started preparing for it in 2019.

His father said, “During the four months in AIIMS, he met a boy who helped him prepare for JNU. He failed the JNU exam once, before qualifying in his second time. The government took the responsibility of his studies.”

UPSC

Suraj never took coaching and depended on self-study. He studied NCERT thoroughly more than once and made short notes. He then focussed on reference books for UPSC. He took help from JNU seniors and toppers’ videos on YouTube.

At the Interview, the panelists were cordial. They asked him about his hometown and his choice of Russian language for graduation.

They quizzed his on the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, its possible outcomes and how it has affected globally.

Suraj’s advice to aspirants: “Never stop, keep going. In life you will find many difficulties. But stopping means losing the race. Keep trying, your destiny awaits you.”


Indian Masterminds Stories

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