“Your perseverance, consistency and your passion will definitely pay for you.” – Vivek Chauhan, AIR 300, CSE 2015
As a schoolboy, Vivek Chauhan’s day started by running after the early morning train that would take him from his hometown Ghaziabad to his government school in Delhi, almost 35 km away. His childhood dream of becoming a doctor remained unfulfilled but Chauhan has reached greater heights since then.
Vivek Chauhan cleared the UPSC civil services exam in 2015 in his 6th attempt. He got a commendable rank of 300. His happiness knew no bounds because this was the result of a struggle lasting 6 – 7 years. At the young age of 19, Chauhan started working in an MCD school in Delhi after completing his teacher’s training course. He pursued and acquired his MA and B.Ed. through correspondence courses. He was also pursuing his law degree.
Vivek Chauhan started thinking about civil services only when he was 25, after he had married. At that time in 2008, there were only 4 attempts for a general category candidate and he also had familial responsibilities to take care of. He gave a half-hearted attempt in 2010 which resulted in the loss of a precious attempt. Meanwhile, he got his brother and sister married off. In 2011, he thought it was time to give wings to his own dreams and goals.
Amidst serious preparation for the UPSC exam, he also encountered high officials in the government machinery as part of his role as the General Secretary (Shahdara South Zone) of the Teacher’s Association. Here, he witnessed what a bureaucrat’s power was capable of and this propelled him further towards his dream. However, in his second attempt in 2012, he lost the prelims by 7 marks. This gave him confidence thinking he could close this small gap the next time around.
In the third attempt, his wife Pooja Rani helped him study. But success eluded him by a mere 3 marks. He scored 206 in the prelims when the cut-off was 209. Chauhan was heart-broken and credits his friends’ support which helped him get over that agonising period. But now, he only had one more attempt left!
In the 2013 UPSC Prelims, Chauhan scored 232. He was ably supported by his friend Neelotpal (who incidentally got a rank of 98 in the 2013 CSE). But that year, the prelims cut-off was 241 and with it ended Chauhan’s UPSC dreams. Or so he thought.
Chauhan’s entire family was crestfallen at the results since they had high hopes from him. Not only did Chauhan had to face his family’s distress, he also had to face insensitive taunts and jibes from his teaching colleagues. He was a 30-year old with four unsuccessful UPSC attempts to his name.
But, fortune favours the brave. That year, the UPSC granted two more attempts and Chauhan grabbed at this opportunity. In his 5th attempt in 2014, he reached up to the interview level. Here he obtained only 102 marks which did not get him through. Now, aged 32, he had only one attempt left. He decided to gather his strength and give this last chance his all. With renewed focus and revised strategy for prelims, mains and the interview, he learned from his past mistakes and worked hard.
10th May 2016 is a date which Vivek Chauhan would never forget in his life since it was on this day that he got the UPSC CSE results in which he cleared with AIR 300. His toil of almost 7 years had come to a fruitful end.
Chauhan’s story is truly motivating since it proves that a middle class boy with no formal education (he only had correspondence courses) can clear the civil services exam with continued effort and relentless pursuit of his goal. He credits his never-say-die attitude and perseverance along with his parents’ blessings for his astounding success.
Vivek Chauhan Rank: 300
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