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The rickshawallah's son who cracked the IAS

June 7, 2007
The 2006 competitive examinations for India's civil services is notable for the number of young people from non privileged backgrounds who feature in the merit list. For the first time, none from India's elite metros feature in the top ten.

We will bring you some amazing success stories in this special series. Today, meet a rickshaw vendor's son from Varanasi who is one of the IAS toppers this year.

Text: Archana Masih | Photographs: Seema Pant

Tears ran down Govind Jaiswal's face and refused to stop. Staring him in the face was the only thing he had ever wanted, and now that he had achieved it, he couldn't even reach out for the keys on his cellphone.

He waited till the tears dried up, till the news sunk in and made that one phone call on which depended the hopes of his entire family.

Govind, 24, the son of an uneducated rickshaw vendor in Varanasi, had grown up with cruel taunts like 'However much you study, you will still be a rickshawpuller.' He had studied with cotton stuffed in his ears to drown the noise of printing machines and generators below his window in a poor neighbourhood where small workshops existed cheek by jowl with tiny residential quarters.

He had given Math tuitions to supplement the paltry sum his father could afford to send him each month. His ailing father had sold a small plot of land to give Govind about Rs 40,000 so that he could move to Delhi which would provide him a better place to study.

Throughout his life, he had lived with only one dream -- to become an officer of the Indian Administrative Service. For him that was the only way. And when he broke the news to his family, that he was ranked 48 among 474 successful candidates in his first attempt at the exam -- it was the turn of his three sisters and father to weep with unbridled joy.

  • Also see: The lorry driver's son who topped the civil services exam in Tamil Nadu
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