The Amazing Story of Sreedhanya Suresh, the First Kerala Tribal Woman to Clear IAS

Sreedhanya Suresh, a young woman of 26 from Kerala’s district, Wayanad (one of the backward districts of the state.) 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.

This article would take you through her journey which would prove why this achievement is incredible and what it means for thousands of young women from backward regions of the country. Aspirants would find this article very inspirational while preparing for the IAS Exam.

Aspirants should begin their preparation by solving UPSC Previous Year Question Papers now!!

To complement your preparation for the upcoming exam, check the following links:

UPSC Topper Sreedhanya Suresh Background

  1. Sreedhanya’s parents, Suresh and Kamala, are daily wage labourers who trade in bows and arrows in the local market to make ends meet.
  2. 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.
  3. To raise their four children, her parents mostly relied on the MGNREGA scheme to earn a living.
  4. Sreedhanya’s family belongs to the Kurichiya tribe.
  5. 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.
  6. In spite of all the difficulties and poverty, education remained a priority and this proved fruitful for the whole family.
  7. 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.”
  8. The outstanding achievement against all the odds has won her an important place amongst the list of IAS Toppers.

In 2018, the first rank went to IITian Kanishak Kataria. Read his story here.

Sreedhanya Suresh – Education and Career

  1. After her schooling, Sreedhanya moved to Kozhikode (Calicut) to pursue a degree in Zoology from St. Joseph’s College.
  2. After that, she completed her PG in Applied Zoology from Calicut University.
  3. Sreedhanya also secured a job with the Scheduled Tribes Development Department of the state government as a clerk after her education.
  4. She also worked at an Adivasi hostel in her native Wayanad as a warden.

The journey towards the IAS

  1. It was at her job at the ST development department that Sreedhanya got an opportunity to talk to the Collector of Wayanad Sreeram Rao.
  2. 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.
  3. Preparing for the toughest exam in the country was not easy for the young but ambitious girl.
  4. She even lost two sacks of books during the Kerala floods last year. But the gritty Sreedhanya marched on hoping to crack the exam.

Optional Subject

Sreedhanya opted for Malayalam Literature as her optional subject.

For more on the literature optionals, you can check the articles mentioned in the table below:

UPSC Malayalam Literature Syllabus UPSC Mains: How to Write Answers for Literature Optionals?
Pros and Cons of taking Literature Optionals in UPSC Mains Exam How Many Candidates take Literature Optionals in UPSC Mains?

You can also download the Malayalam Literature Syllabus PDF from the link below:

UPSC Malayalam Syllabus:-Download PDF Here


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

  1. UPSC Rank: AIR 410, CSE 2018
  2. Attempt: Third
  3. Optional Subject: Malayalam Literature
  4. Education: M.Sc. Applied Zoology
  5. Work Experience: Clerk with Scheduled Tribes Development Department, Kerala Govt.
  6. Age: 26
  7. Native State: Kerala

Gear up for UPSC 2022 with BYJU’S study material and current affairs.

Related Links

IAS Salary UPSC Eligibility
NHAI Index of Industrial Production
Highest Mountain in India KUSUM Scheme
UPSC Lateral Entry Atal Bhujal Yojana

Daily News


Leave a Comment

Your Mobile number and Email id will not be published.