Meet Komal Ganatra: From Dowry Victim to Civil Servant

Komal Ganatra cleared the UPSC civil services exam in the year 2012 and secured an all-India rank of 591. She joined the Indian Revenue Service and has been working as an IRS officer since then. However, Komal’s is not any ordinary UPSC success story. She had to pull herself up from a mire of despair and hopelessness to study for the civil services. In this article, we bring you the inspiring story of Komal Ganatra, who is a pillar of strength and resilience for men and women alike.

Komal Ganatra IAS

Komal Ganatra was married to a New Zealand-based businessman in 2008 at the age of 26. However, her husband’s parents started demanding dowry from her and threw her out of their house for her inability to produce enough dowry. Her husband deserted her and left for New Zealand. All this happened just two weeks after her wedding day. A distraught Komal approached the police and government departments to ensure justice for herself. However, nothing came out of it. She then moved back to her parents’ house in Savarkundla, Gujarat. Back in her hometown, she and her parents had to face the taunts of relatives and neighbours. Komal, who had a diploma in engineering, then decided to live by herself in a remote village about 40 km from her hometown. She started working as a primary school teacher there and was living on a scant salary of Rs.5000 per month. She started preparing for the civil services there. Her inability to get help from the government motivated her to become a ‘part’ of the system and bring about a change in it.

Times were tough as she had to face hostile villagers as well as practical difficulties like intermittent power supply and the lack of a proper guidance for her IAS preparation. Komal also could not get an English newspaper there which is so vital to the UPSC exam. However, she did briefly go to the Sardar Patel Institute of Public Administration (SPIPA), an institution run by the Gujarat government to train IAS aspirants.

Finally in 2012, in her fourth attempt, Komal cleared the civil services. Her journey was full of frustrations, but it was worth it in the end. The spirited Komal, who made it in her last attempt aged 30, credits her father and brothers for encouraging and supporting her throughout. Her proud father, a retired school teacher had said after her success, “She has struggled a lot in her life, now I feel she should serve the society as much as she can.”

Education

Komal Ganatra did her diploma in engineering from Rajkot Government Polytechnic. She also acquired a BA degree from Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Open University, and a Primary Teachers Training Certificate from a college in her hometown.

Komal had opted for History and Gujarati Literature as her optional subjects. Her medium of interview was Gujarati.

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