Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.


The journey becomes special when you can see the hard work resulting to be very fruitful. The hard work, perseverance, dedication that you have already begun with to prepare for UPSC can be further fueled by these 7 inspirational stories of IAS aspirants who made it to the top.  These IAS stories definitely will inspire you and boost your confidence to face any challenge. 

1. The Mother Who Broke The Glass Ceiling

anu kumari prelims strategy- crackupsc

Anu Kumari, mother of 4 year old and 2nd rank holder in 2017 has been through a lot of highs and lows in her life. She left her job back in Haryana Sonipat and started living a life like any other homemaker despite having an MBA and Finance and securing a good job. Her life took a turn when she decided to be an IAS officer. While maintaining her life as a homemaker and an IAS aspirant at 31 years of age, Anu decided to do something meaningful and worthwhile for the society.

She did not disappoint anybody the day results came out. In her second attempt given her age, she was very worried about the kind of support and resources she would be able to gather.

With support from family and few friends, she finally cracked the exam. She came from a place where neither English newspapers nor coaching centres were available. For her to balance a life in a village where regressive mindset towards women is a norm. She has put on a smile and ever since moved forward to realize her dream and goals. 

Read: Anu Kumari’s Detailed Prelims, Mains and Interview Preparation Strategy

2. The One Who Left A High Paying Job Abroad To Serve His Nation


Abhishek Surana, 10th rank holder in 2017, was a boy with a vision. He grew up in Bhilwara, Rajasthan and went for further schooling in IIT Delhi. His inclination towards social cause was prevalent since an early age. He went to Singapore where a high paying corporate job had him, but he never had the job he truly wanted. “It was too comfortable for me.” With comfort, he experienced lack of challenges and missed the thrill of doing things for the society.

Without further thoughts, he came back to India to serve his nation. He had given three attempts, which got him a ticket to become an IPS officer as his second preference. At his fourth attempt he achieved what he truly wanted. He became an IAS officer with the help of his family’s support, especially his grandfather, who would instill thoughts of serving the nation. 

Read: UPSC 2018 Topper Srushti Jayant Deshmukh Preparation Strategy

3. The Incredible Story Of Mohammad Ali Shihab


Unlike any other story, his is to be heard and passed on. At a young age, this man from a remote village in Kerala had faced all kinds of hurdles. He had to stop going to school at an early age to support his father’s asthmatic problems and became a ‘paan’ seller as well as baskets. At 11, his father passed away.

With no one to take care of them financially, their mother sent him, another son and his sister away to an orphanage at Kozhikode. After receiving traditional schooling, he became a peon for Kerala Water Authority, then a clerk at Gram Panchayat, followed by the dream he achieved in 2011. At the orphanage he received the much needed training and discipline that was lacking in his life earlier. 

Read: UPSC 2018 AIR 1 Kanishak Kataria detailed strategy, life facts, age, caste.

4. Ramesh Gholap: From A Teacher To An IAS Officer


Back in 2012, after second attempt, Ramesh a.k.a. Ramu had achieved the dream he used to see and wished his father had seen too, who left his mother as a widow. Ramesh’s left leg was severely affected by polio, which was another hindrance in his way to achieve things easily. Not only his polio, but the grave poverty that surrounded him has always affected and shaped his aspirations. There used to be days when his house wouldn’t get decent meals.

There were attempts later in life after giving his higher secondary exam to study Diploma in Education, for which he got a teaching job. He had finally decided to take six months leave from his job and prepare for IAS. At his second attempt, he successfully became an IAS officer. 

5. Ummal Kher: An epitome of strength and perseverance


No disability can stop one from getting what they want. Ummal Kher has changed vision of common people through her feat. With a fragile bone disorder, she had to go through eight surgeries throughout her childhood. Her father was a street vendor who had disowned her when she wished to study beyond 8th standard. Her loved ones weren’t by her side when she wanted to move ahead in her life. She decided to stay away from her family and earn her living by giving tuitions to small children for small amount while going to school where she was given a scholarship.

She scored 91% in class 12, got into Gargi College and kept earning to pay up her college fees. But she faced a tragic accident and became wheelchair bound for a prolonged period. Later, she got into JNU with 100% scholarship and started earning Rs.25000 through a Junior Research Fellowship. That gave her exposure to international institutes in Japan, South Korea, etc., for International Conferences. She then decided to serve her nation for she thought she could bring a change in our society. She achieved her dream in 2016. 

Read: Meet Unmul Kher, The Girl who fought Disorders, Family but Cracked UPSC in her 1st Attempt

6. K Jayaganesh: From Waiter to IAS officer


Sometimes, the private sector doesn’t provide you the job you deserve. Such was the case of K Jayaganesh, an engineering student who emerged from a poor background and became an IAS officer after six attempts. He didn’t know when to give up. He just did not will to go back on his word. He hailed from a village where no one studied was willing to study. At Bangalore, he wondered if he could one day help all his friends get education and jobs.


He made errors through his preparation that did not allow him to get through UPSC. On the other hand, he dropped mechanical engineering and decided to appear for UPSC again. After failing his third attempt, he came across the All India Civil Service Coaching Centre in RA Puram, Chennai, which is a state-sponsored coaching centre.

He cleared his prelims at his fourth attempt. But the condition provided by the centre was that it would stop free accommodation or food if the student was to appear for Mains. That is when Jayaganesh had decided to work part time as a clerk for computer billing at a Cinema Hall canteen, and would often work as a waiter to serve food during intervals.

However, he failed his fourth attempt due to lack of spoken English skills during the interview. The fifth attempt was more harrowing for him as he couldn’t clear the prelims. By then he obtained a job at a coaching centre as a sociology teacher. In his sixth attempt, he fell short again in the interview. He was capable of getting a job at the Intelligence Bureau but he stuck to his goal. Finally, at his seventh attempt, he earned a high rank that led to his achievement of being an IAS officer. 

Read: 10 Must Read Books for UPSC Prelims 2020

7. Saumya Sharma: First Attempt Success


With sincerity and hard work, this lawyer with only four months of preparation had achieved ninth rank at her first attempt in 2017. She was in fifth year of her graduation in National Law School when she decided to appear for this difficult exam. While preparing for Mains, she decided not to go back home from her hostel every Saturday and Sunday. And started studying hard for IAS. Few days before her Mains, she fell sick due to muscle spasms in her right hand.

Saumya gave the whole exam in a situation that was really hard to negate. She could not revise properly the nights before her exams as well as couldn’t get sound sleep due to high fever. Her parents were doctors and provided her with all comfort they could. She did not stop even in a situation, which for all aspirants is a nightmare. What she believed in was perfection and clarity that truly prepared her even for such an uncomfortable situations. Saumya studied smartly, made sure she didn’t leave any stones unturned and focused on her weaknesses. 

Read: One Year Strategy To Crack UPSC Civil Services Exam

Thus, one can easily assume what amount of dedication, determination, perseverance, hard work, balance, focus and hunger to learn one must have in order to crack UPSC. These aspirants more or less took a sometime to crack UPSC who were not sure where their weaknesses laid. It is highly inspiring and stories worth cherishing and with loads of feel good factor that will make you want to prepare for UPSC with more power and zeal for the profession.

The lesson we learn is that no number of attempts can be enough, until you learn how to crack the UPSC. You must never give up if you know why you are willing to be an IAS officer. Wake up and smell the coffee, pull up your socks and get to work! 

If you have any doubts regarding IAS stories then do share your doubts with us.


  1. Cover the story of Payal Nanjiani. She is a great inspiration to the people of India as a woman who’s made a big name in USA.


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