Ansar Ahamad Shaikh, 21, is one of the candidates who cleared the UPSC exam in the first attempt itself; he secured an All-India rank of 361. But there is more to it; Shaikh had to fake his identity while he was preparing for the exam just to get accommodation and food in the city of Pune.

 

As reported in The Indian Express, he said that when he went to look for a PG accommodation in Pune, his friends who were Hindus got rooms but he was refused. It is only after he started using his friend’s name - Shubham - he got an accommodation. “I can finally say my real name proudly now,” he added.

 

He literally fought all the odds to get where he is today. His father is an autorickshaw driver and hails from the drought-hit Marathwada region of Maharashtra.“My father has three wives, my mom is the second. In my family, education wasn’t so important. My younger brother dropped out of school and my two sisters were married off at an early age and didn’t study much. When I called home and told them that I cracked UPSC and in all likelihood will be an IAS officer, they were shell-shocked,” he said.

 

He further said, “I am marginalised in three categories - I come from a backward region, I am a Muslim and am from a poor economic background,” Yet nothing stopped him, he was a topper throughout his school and college and studied for 10-12 hours at a stretch for three consecutive years to reach his ultimate goal.

 

Going forward he wishes to work for religious harmony, women’s empowerment and rural development. “As an administrator, I will be able to work on these issues. I want to work for Hindu-Muslim harmony as I have seen religious tension in my village. My sisters were married off at the ages of 14 and 15. My father beats my mother. Therefore, I have decided to work for women’s empowerment. Farmers’ suicides are a serious and administrators can do a lot to solve this issue. I want to serve the people of my country honestly. It takes patience to clear competitive examinations,” he added.