Dedicated to the purpose of women empowerment, Nandini KR had the determination of steel. She could not crack the IAS thrice, but was working as an IRS for her low rank in the previous attempts, but she wanted to achieve higher. Belonging to a humble background, Nandini's father- 56 year old K.V Ramesh-is a Hindi teacher in Mudiwadi and her mother- 54 year old Vimala- a homemaker. Her brother-24 year Throun Patel-is genius in equal sense as he pursuing post-graduation at the Indian Agriculture Research Institute in New Delhi and also aspires for the IAS.  

Earlier Days

Hardships came her way easily, but Nandini was a fighter and so was her father. Born in a small village-Kembodi- in the Kolar district, she studied in the Thimmaiah Vidyalaya, a Karnataka Government aided school. A Kannada medium school, this was all her father could afford from his meagre salary. However, the father and daughter duo never gave up. The father dreamt and the daughter lived it. Ramesh did all he could to gather his earnings for the education of his two children.

Nandini did pre-university from Alva College, Dakshina Kannada. She completed BTech in civil engineering from the M S Ramaiyah Institute of Technology, Bengaluru. This was her first introduction to English language because  till now, her medium of instruction was Kannada. 

Her stint with IRS

IAS did not come to her easily. She failed in the first attempt, but cleared the exam in the second one. She ranked 839 in the second attempt and was inducted in the Indian Revenue Services. However, her aspiration for the IAS did not die. She prepared again, but could not clear the 2015 UPSC exams because she was diagnosed with Dengue. A year later, she again sat for the civil services, irrespective of the fact that she was undergoing training for IRS. She secured the first position. 

As an IRS officer, she was undergoing training at the National Academy of Customs, Excise and Narcotics in Faridabad. But now she has different plans. "Education and Women Empowerment would be my priority areas of work," she says. Nandini was appointed as a probationary officer with the Revenue Department in the Union Finance Ministry in 2016 after she was selected in 2015 under the Indian Revenue Service (IRS) category.

“I put in a lot of effort. After getting selected in the IRS in 2014, I had taken the exam again in 2015 but could not crack it. I took the test again and topped it. It is a wonderful experience,” Nandini told the PTI

Nandini KR is the second woman from Karnataka to top the UPSC exams after Vijayalakshmi Bidari in 2001

Nandini got help from DK Ravi 

According to some Kannada newspaper reports, Nandini was working with the PWD department in Karnataka when she was preparing for the IAS exams. For advance preparations, she got herself transferred to the Karnataka Bhavan in Delhi as an assistant engineer. And in order to support her, her father, too took a transfer to the city. She got herself enrolled in a special coaching center-Vajiram and Ravi Coaching Institute, Rajendra Nagar- where she honed her knowledge required for the elite exam. It is also reported that she may have been mentored by IAS officer- DK Ravi who had allegedly committed suicide in 2015.

Interestingly, she chose Kannada literature as the optional subject and is also said to have answered the paper in Kannada, which in itself is a revolutionary move. While this shows her love and respect for her culture and heritage, she has a wider perspective of life. She loves to play volleyball and read Kannada literature during her free time and
believes that women will hold the key to the future. 

[Read: Nandini NR Makes Karnataka Proud, Becomes The Third Woman To Top IAS In Three Years]

The reaction

When IANS contacted her for her reactions, she said, "I want to join IAS and not IFS (Indian Foreign Service), as I want to be in India and serve the people. Though challenging, I will get an opportunity to learn and work for the people." She said that she did not believe her friends who said that she would be a topper. "I didn't believe when they said so. I told them not to joke but wait for the results. I feel very happy and also relieved as the anxiety is over."

Her father, however, was sure of his daughter's success. He said,"I was sure of my daughter's success as I know her dedication and hard work since her childhood."

Belonging to the OBC community, it makes us proud to say that she is the second woman from Karnataka to to top the elite exams after Vijayalakshmi Bidari in 2001. 

The sky is the limit for you Nandini. Even these dignitaries believe so.