“I hope this will be an inspiration and motivation to the future generations to overcome all hurdles.”
The 2018 UPSC civil services results were announced a few days back and amidst the many success stories of toppers, is one amazing story that is bound to inspire and motivate many to give it all and just go for their dreams. This is one such story. Meet Sreedhanya Suresh, a young woman of 26 from the most backward district of Kerala, Wayanad.
Sreedhanya secured an all India rank of 410 in the 2018 IAS exam, which was her third attempt. What makes her achievement truly remarkable is that she is the first tribal woman from the coastal state of Kerala to clear the IAS exam. A look at her journey would prove why this achievement is incredible and what it means for thousands of young women from poor and backward regions of the country.
Sreedhanya Suresh Background
Sreedhanya’s parents, Suresh and Kamala, are daily wage labourers who trade in bows and arrows in the local market to make ends meet. As a child growing up in an unfinished house, she did not have access to the basic amenities that many of us take for granted. To raise their four children, her parents mostly relied on the MNREGA scheme to earn a living.
Sreedhanya’s family belongs to the Kurichiya tribe. She grew up in the Ambalakkolly tribal settlement at Achooranam in Wayanad District. A leaking roof and even clothes lined up to make do for walls in the house did not deter Sreedhanya from her being a good student during her schooldays.
In spite of all the difficulties and poverty, education remained a priority and this proved fruitful for the whole family. Sreedhanya’s proud father says, “Despite the hardship, we never compromised on their education and Sreedhanya gave us a big gift today. We are proud of her.”
Education and Career
After her schooling, Sreedhanya moved to Kozhikode (Calicut) to pursue a degree in Zoology from St. Joseph’s College. After that, she completed her PG in Applied Zoology from Calicut University. Sreedhanya also secured a job with the Scheduled Tribes Development Department of the state government as a clerk after her education. She also worked at an Adivasi hostel in her native Wayanad as a warden.
Journey towards the IAS
It was at her job at the ST development department that Sreedhanya got an opportunity to talk to the Collector of Wayanad Sreeram Rao. Mr. Rao encouraged the young woman to pursue the IAS exam. After this, she made up her mind and went to Thiruvananthapuram for IAS coaching.
Preparing for the toughest exam in the country was not easy for the young but ambitious girl. She even lost two sacks of books during the Kerala floods last year. But the gritty Sreedhanya marched on hoping to crack the exam.
Sreedhanya opted for Malayalam Literature as her optional subject.
After the UPSC 2018 results were out, Sreedhanya was congratulated by the Kerala Chief Minister also, apart from various other celebrities. In her own words, “I am from the most backward district in the state. There are no tribal IAS officers from here even though there is a considerably large tribal population,”.
She hopes this success would prompt other tribal people to take up the IAS exam.
Sreedhanya Suresh Facts
UPSC Rank: AIR 410, CSE 2018
Optional Subject: Malayalam Literature
Education: M.Sc. Applied Zoology
Work Experience: Clerk with Scheduled Tribes Development Department, Kerala Govt.
Native State: Kerala
Do you want to be an IAS topper? Check out Target UPSC 2019 Prelims – Question Bank for IAS Prelims and bolster your chances of acing the prelims 2019!