The UPSC 2017 results have given a lot of inspirational stories for UPSC aspirants to take a cue from and renew their own IAS preparation for the upcoming exam. One such truly amazing story is that of Saumya Sharma, the rank 9-holder in the CSE 2017. Saumya’s success is stupendous not just because of the single-digit rank but also because of the fact that she has a hearing impairment.
A native of Delhi, Saumya is a graduate of the National Law School, New Delhi. When she was a final year student in that institution in 2016, Saumya made headlines when she wrote a letter to the Delhi High Court seeking the extension of reservation for physically handicapped students applying for the Delhi Judicial Services Exam to hearing impaired candidates as well. At that time, the quota was only for the orthopedically handicapped and the visually handicapped. Taking cognisance of the cogent arguments in her letter, the then Chief Justice G Rohini extended the reservation without any litigation.
Saumya Sharma completed her schooling from Delhi. Both of her parents are doctors. She started losing her hearing power from the eleventh standard. Since then, she uses hearing aids to help her hear.
Saumya is said to be a keen reader of the newspaper, a habit which she picked up at a very early age. She also has a deep interest in law, the subject in which she pursued her graduation. Law was also her optional subject in the UPSC mains exam. This was her very first attempt. She relied on the internet and other sources for a lot of material, and had not joined any coaching class. Studying only 5 – 6 hours every day, she acknowledges the support her parents gave during the crucial preparation period. Saumya’s dedication to the IAS dream is evident from the fact that she had quit social media a year prior to the exam!
Saumya says she had a lot of ground covered for her optional subject since it was the subject of her graduation and hence, she found it relatively easy.
Saumya Sharma’s advice to candidates:
- Do not take CSAT lightly.
- Time management is of utmost importance.
- Believe in yourself!
Saumya Sharma’s booklist for GS papers:
- Current affairs: The Hindu, online sources
- Polity: Laxmikanth, selected chapters from DD Basu and ‘Our Parliament’
- Ancient history: RS Sharma’s old NCERT, new NCERTs
- Medieval history: 7th NCERT, selected chapters from old NCERTs
- Modern history: Bipan Chandra’s old NCERT, Spectrum, India After Gandhi
- Art & Culture: 11th NCERT book on Art, NIOS, CCRT
- Geography: GC Leong, NCERTs, Oxford India Atlas
- Environment: Down to Earth magazine
All of 23 years, Saumya is one of the younger candidates that crack the IAS exam every year. Saumya’s preferred cadre is AGMUT and preferred service is the IAS.