Every year when the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) declares results for the Civil Services Examination, there are a few aspirants whose success tales stand out and motivate others.
This year, it was no different.
Last month, when UPSC declared result for Civil Services Examination, 2022, among the 933 candidates who cracked one of the toughest exams in India, was Ram Bhajan Kumar, a constable with the Delhi Police’s (South-West) cyber cell.
He secured 667th rank and his is a tale of resilience and hard work.
The 34-year-old Kumar, son of a labourer, had been persisting before clearing it in his eighth attempt. He is now set to become an officer.
“My parents used to earn livelihood by working as labourers. After some time, my father got afflicted with tuberculosis. It forced me to join my mother as labourer in a limestone kiln after school hours.”
But studies remained a priority for him.
“I was the only one in my 10th class who got first division. After 12th, I took admission in B.A. programme in Government PG College, Dausa. When I was in the 11th standard, I started preparing for police service. I started running as part of training,” he recalls.
His preparations have paid dividends. He was selected in Delhi Police while pursuing second year of B.A. course. He joined the police force in 2009 as constable.
Self-study led to police job
Kumar says that he cleared the police exam through self-study as he did not have money for coaching.
“I had purchased only a guide. Otherwise, I borrowed books from friends,” he added.
“That success was akin to clearing civil services examination at that time for my family. In my village, not a single person had been selected for a government job over the previous 20 years. The belief was that without money there is no government job. But after my selection, perception changed and my friends also started preparing for it. Some managed to get selected in government jobs,” he said further.
The financial problem was solved after he joined the police. But he wanted to rise to the position of Sub-Inspector and for that he needed an under-graduate degree.
“So, I completed my graduation and post-graduation in Hindi literature as a non-collegiate from Rajasthan University while working. I also cracked JRF (Junior Research Fellow) in Hindi in 2012 [for a PhD]. I got more confidence and thought of doing something big, so that I could help the marginalised society,” he said further.
He couldn’t get admitted to PhD course because it is full-time and the department did not allow him to pursue it. So, he decided to opt for civil services.
A reader since childhood
“I was very fond of reading stories since childhood. I would pick even a pamphlet from the road and read it. In fifth class, I would be reading 10th standard books. After college, I would visit the library regularly,” Kumar shared.
An advertisement of a convent school used to attract him in his childhood but due to financial problems, he couldn’t get enrolled there. It remained a wish.
“In 2013, I started preparation for civil services and qualified three times for Rajasthan PCS (Provincial Civil Services) pre-exam but couldn’t qualify for the mains. I then switched to preparing for UPSC in 2015 and joined coaching at Civil Service Chronicle (CSC) in Delhi. I performed my duty at night but during day-time, I managed coaching and preparation.”
Father’s death in 2021 came as a setback. Kumar wanted to give up on his dreams.
“I would weep at night in my thana. But, one day, I thought to myself that if I give up at this stage, I will not forgive myself. So, I restarted and also encouraged my wife to go for personality development. Even when I used to travel to my hometown every two weeks, I would carry books and read on the train during the journey.”
He had cleared prelims earlier, but finally got selected on the eighth attempt.
“The department also supported me this time unlike earlier (when he was planning to do PhD). The result is in front of you with 667th rank,” he adds.
The Civil Services Examination is one of the most challenging competitive examinations in India, with a rigorous process spanning around one year.
Though the examination candidates are recruited for higher civil services of the Government of India, including the Indian Administrative Service, Indian Foreign Service, and Indian Police Service.
Kumar credits his wife for encouraging him and becoming his pillar of strength.
Back in 2012, he married a girl who had completed only class eighth. He, however, resumed her education. He now wants to become a good father for his two girls.
“My wife took on the family responsibilities, and I, in turn, motivated her and empowered her. I made her go back to regular school. It was a challenge in the village that a daughter-in-law, who traditionally stayed indoors, should go to school in uniform. But we persisted and today she has completed her M.A. and B.Ed. She supports me constantly at every stage,” he revealed.
Tribute to many
Kumar says that many people have supported him in his successful journey.
“There are many people who have supported me, including my wife and friends. This success is dedicated to all of them. After joining civil services, I would like to give back to the society. If a person comes to me for any help, I will try my best. He should not return empty-handed. I will do my duty with full enthusiasm and hard-work. I want to give a message to civil services aspirants – keep trying and never give up,” Kumar concluded.