The UPSC civil service exam is considered one of the toughest exams in the country. Lakhs of people take the exam and only a few hundred make the cut in the end.
Only a proper combination of hard work, guidance and tenacity can help UPSC aspirants crack the IAS exam.
Many candidates, despite having all the comforts and coaching that money can buy, fail to clear the IAS exam. But some determined and zealously diligent candidates achieve success despite all odds stacked against them.
One such inspiring person is IAS Topper Ansar Ahmad Shaikh, who cleared the UPSC 2015 in his very first attempt.
He secured AIR 361 and he was just 21; beating Roman Saini who was 22 when he became an IAS officer.
Youngest IAS Officer
- Ansar is the son of Yonus Shaikh Ahmad, an autorickshaw driver from Jalna’s Shedgaon village in the Marathwada region of Maharashtra.
- His mother worked in fields.
- His younger brother, Anees dropped out of school in standard VII. Anees worked in a garage to support the family and help his brother prepare for the IAS exam.
If you want to know how to become the youngest IAS officer of India, click here.
- Ansar worked 12 hours a day for three years to achieve his IAS dream.
- His success is especially commendable counting the fact that education wasn’t a priority in his family.
- In his own words Ansar describes his domestic situation, “Education has never been a watchword in my family. My father, a rickshaw driver, has three wives. My mother is the second wife. My younger brother dropped out of school and my two sisters were married off at an early age. When I told them that I had cleared the UPSC and in all likelihood will be an IAS officer, they were stunned shocked.”
- Even though Ansar’s large family struggled to make ends meet, he remained a bright student throughout.
- He had secured 91% in his X board exams (SSC Board).
- He has a degree in political science from Fergusson College, Pune.
- Ansar had attended a private IAS coaching class for his UPSC civil services preparation.
- His family had to bear great expenses in this regard but were more than delighted when they got the result they all had awaited.
- He thanked Rahul Pandve, his 30-year-old teacher for giving him guidance and support. (Pandve had also cleared the UPSC civil services exam that year with AIR 200).
UPSC Topper Ansar has said, “I was marginalized by three different categories. I am from a backward undeveloped region, I hail from a poor economic background and I belong to a minority community. I will tackle all these issues as an administrator since I have witnessed these issues at close quarters.”
Ansar Ahmed Shaikh IAS said on his success “There is no alternative to hard work. During my struggle, my friends helped me a lot mentally and financially and even my coaching academy waived a portion of fees due to my poor financial condition”.
Hard work, family and friends – played their part in leading Ansar to his dream job.
But more than anything, it is the attitude that sets him apart from others – the attitude to never back down and be steadfast in trying to achieve your dream.
Ansar Shaikh Facts
Age when cleared the exam: 21
Ansar Shaikh IAS posting: West Bengal cadre
Ansar Shaikh IAS date of birth: June 1, 1995
Medium of Mains and Interview: Marathi
Native place: Jalna, Maharashtra
Optional Subject: Political Science
Ansar Shaikh Preparation Strategy
- In the first six months of preparation, Shaikh concentrated on his optional subject preparation which was political science. It helped that it was also his graduation subject. For more on political science optional, click on the linked article.
- In the second six months, he focussed on the general studies papers. Stay updated with current affairs with our daily current affairs segment.
- In the next three months, he completed his revision and also the remaining portions of the IAS mains papers.
- In the next 9 months, Shaikh did his prelims exam preparation. After the prelims exam, he studied for his mains in the next 100 days. Finally, he prepared for his UPSC personality test in the last 40 days.
- Shaikh normally studied for 10 – 12 hours per day. For the mains exam, the hard worker that he is, Shaikh put in 14 – 15 hours on a daily basis.
You may also like to read another IAS success story, which is equally inspiring, that of Govind Jaiswal, the son of a rickshaw-puller who secured rank 46 in his first attempt.