Among the 1,236 people who cracked the final civil services exam on Saturday, Hrudaya Kumar Das was one. What makes Das' case unique is the fact that he's the son of a BPL (below poverty line) farmer.
The 28-year-old from a remote village in Odisha's Kendrapara district was ranked 1,079 in India's toughest exam. Das had appeared for the exam twice earlier, but was not cowed when he didn't make it. He perseverance paid off when he was rewarded in his third attempt.
Though Das has not been educated in an English-medium school, or had access to extra help, his father had to sell off part of the 1.5-acre irrigated farmland he owned to meet with his academic expenses.
Das' father tends to his field every day to support his family, and has sent his younger son Rashmi Ranjan to study for an MBA.
While Das excelled in studies in school, his class 12 results fetched him a second class. In fact, he was torn whether he should pursue higher studies or cricket — Das had represented his district team in the Kalahandi cup inter-district cricket tournament.
"But my father advised me for higher studies," said Das to PTI. "Later I studied five-year integrated MCA in Utkal University. Since then I never looked back."
Das since then has worked as a Prime Minister Rural Development Fellow (PMRDF) in Jaipur, where he would interact with tribals in Naxalite areas as well as oversee implementation of poverty alleviation and welfare programmes in poorly developed areas.
Last month, he was appointed as Assistant Commandant in the Central Reserve Police Force.
"I believe that sincere labour never goes unpaid. By dint of determination and will power, I had set the civil service target," he said. "But for family support, my civil service dream could never have been realised."
(with PTI inputs)