UPSC Success Story: Jaiganesh’s Journey from Serving Tables to Serving the Country

“Nothing is Impossible, the word itself says, ‘I’m possible’!” – Audrey Hepburn


The beauty of the UPSC civil services is that anybody can become a civil servant irrespective of the person’s family background, societal status, class, caste, religion or even past academic performance. The only thing needed is that he/she qualify the UPSC eligibility criterion and be an absolutely dedicated hard worker. There are a lot of inspiring stories associated with the IAS exam. Take the case of K Jaiganesh, who cleared the UPSC civil services exam in 2007 with an all India rank of 156 aged 29. What is amazing is that there were many odds stacked against Jaiganesh when he took the IAS exam that year. Read on to know more about Jaiganesh’s journey from waiting tables to the distinguished corridors of Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration in Mussoorie.

Jaiganesh had been working as a waiter in a small restaurant near Satyam Cinemas in Chennai, for the past eight months leading up to the civil services. Born into poverty in a backward class family, in a remote village called Vinavamangalam in Tamil Nadu, Jaiganesh had moved to Chennai to prepare for the IAS exam. He had taken up odd jobs in Chennai to support him through his IAS preparation. He had somehow acquired a degree in mechanical engineering from ThanthaiPeriyar Institute of Technology, a Government college in Vellore.

This was his sixth attempt for the civil services. He had taken the first three attempts from his hometown. Then having realized the need for a formal coaching, he had moved to Chennai city. In the city, he secured admission in a government-run IAS coaching centre. There he had to take up odd jobs in order to be able to pay the mess fees of Rs-600 and other travel expenses. Initially, he started working at the Satyam cinemas as a ticket issuer with a monthly salary of Rs-3000. But then this hardly left him any time to study. So, he quit that job and took up waiting tables at the restaurant nearby. There, he got some time to study. And study he did, and showed the world what a determined mind is capable of. Jaiganesh tasted success after 6 unsuccessful shots at the UPSC exam. In his own words, “It’s been a struggle all through.”

From serving tables to serving the country with his IAS tag, Jaiganesh’s story is motivational to many students who are riding the IAS preparation roller coaster.


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