UPSC is one of the toughest exams attempted not only in India but also in the world. The main reason may be the success rate of this exam. About 10 Million aspirants compete for about 1000 vacancies. This suggests the ratio of success is about 0.001
This story is about two brothers from a poor family background clearing the UPSC exam when all odds were against them. Manoj Satyawan Mahajan became an IAS officer & his younger brother Sachin Satyawan Mahajan IES officer by cracking UPSC services in 2019 and joined Indian government services.
Please Watch this 2 mins video to get glimpses of how their journey. Do read their full interview with Inspirational Beings team to know how their family sacrificed, how a father and a mother managed to educate their sons in difficult situations, how brothers helped each other to complete their studies to get one of the topmost government jobs, what problems they faced during their journey, how did they manage to overcome those challenges and what are their learnings.
We interviewed IAS Manoj Mahajan.
Please let us know your background?
We are native of Galan BK, a small village from Pachora Taluka, Maharashtra, India. We were raised in a lower-middle-class family. Our father is a teacher and mother is a housewife, a loving soul. We are 3 siblings, one sister, and two brothers. My sister got married and brother Sachin Mahajan also cleared the IES exam with impressive rank 33.
Our childhood was spent in a scenic and peaceful village.
We came to Pachora for school admission, but our admission was rejected due to our rural background. My parents were committed, and they did not give up. They worked hard on our academic developments. Later, after following up with school many times we were finally admitted to the school.
After completing SSC in 2009 from late P.K. Shinde Madhyamik Vidyalaya, with flying colors (91.53% and out of marks in the math), I moved to Jalgaon-district place at the age of 17 for the higher secondary education. I passed the HSC Exam with 92 % and secured the third rank in the district with 176 marks out of 200 in CET. I was confident that I could get admission to the College of Engineering Pune (COEP) and I did so. I completed engineering. As my teacher, Desale Sir used to say to me in 7th grade “Manya hoshil tar Collector nashi mhashi charanya” which means “Manoj, either become collector (IAS) or a herder”. I started developing an inclination towards IAS. After completing engineering. I initially decided to go for a job then realized my passion for cracking UPSC exams. Finally, I decided to pursue my interest in civil services though this field is chock-full of incredible stories of hardships and resilience.
Please let us know about you and your brother’s journey of achieving your dream
I was deeply passionate about my dream of becoming IAS. I wanted to make my dream come true. So, having that in mind, I started my studies. At that time, my brother was about to complete his engineering, I motivated him to start UPSC preparations.
We noticed a massive crisis of resources, persons, mentors, professionals in this field in rural areas. Most of the UPSC aspirants neither had any awareness regarding the proper guidance nor did they have any idea where to go. We went through this situation for some time but still we managed to gather information about tutoring, mentoring, and overall guidance for a UPSC path.
It was quite difficult to spend money on UPSC preparation for a student like me who belonged to a poor family. Since my Father is a teacher, he could manage a loan for my UPSC studies. Since I was not doing a job, it was difficult for my family to manage within the single earner’s salary. Looking at our financial situation and to support my dream, my younger brother started a job after his engineering.
After overcoming all these challenges, I cleared UPSC's exam in 2017 with 903 rank. I reached a professional ladder by grabbing the post of ASC (Assistant Security Commissioner in RPF) which itself was a big pride for my family.
I joined as ASC in RPF and worked there for half a year. Many people become complacent and stop pursuing their dream after they get into a comfort zone. But deep inside I felt that I could achieve more.
I also wanted to prove myself and others who mocked me saying “How can a son of teacher get through the toughest exam to become IAS?” I started preparing for giving another attempt for bettering my UPSC rank for IAS or IPS.
I also motivated my brother to resign his job and resume UPSC studies as I could support his educational expenses with my savings. My brother started his preparation for cracking UPSC.
This time my confidence level was boosted up and my self-esteem was high because of my first achievement. I came with strong determination and great commitment to face the next attempt and it resulted in fabulous achievement offering me the top rank 125, and I became IAS.
In the same year, my brother Sachin also succeeded in cracking UPSC and became IES
What did you learn from these challenges?
There is always learning from the challenges we face. We focus on the lesson. One thing throughout our journey is patience and prayers that can help you throughout the toughest days of life.
Challenges make us strong and passionate about our dreams to excel in this field. Challenges helped us to make brave choices in our careers and create diverse and unique platforms.
What is a definition of success to you?
Believing in something and not giving up on our dream is a success to me. And to be truly kind, co-operative, and capable to support of our people and in lifting the morals of others who are in their troubled times.
What was your best and worst experience in this journey?
The best moment of my life was seeing my parents felicitated and a grand procession arranged in my hometown by the people of Pachora, my friends, and relatives in an open car. I was also immensely happy seeing an ecstasy on their face when I informed them about my grand success.
After my selection and felicitations, I heard people stating how they have given up suicidal thoughts and decided to fight the battle of life bravely and confidently after watching or listening to me. These are the golden treasures for me.
My worst experience was to see people around me try to pull me and my brother down when we wanted to achieve our dreams. They used to make fun and tried demotivating us for dreaming big.
What is your message to our readers?
Cherish and nurture your dream. Be optimistic, yet realistic, and quite firm, resolute while achieving your goal. There will be many challenges on the way. These challenges are meant to check how serious you are about your dreams. Do not give up during these challenging times. Once you achieve your dream, you will realize that it was more than worth all your efforts and sacrifices.
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