|Chennai resident Shanmugam Divyadarshini and (above) Begusarai’s Saurav Kumar Suman. Telegraph pictures
Chennai/Patna, May 11: Candidates from southern India have come out with flying colours in the civil services examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), results of which were declared today, but aspirants from Bihar haven’t done too badly either.
Chennai law graduate Shanmugam Divyadarshini has topped the list, followed by another woman, Sweta Mohanty, a computer engineer from Hyderabad. R.V. Varun Kumar, a dentist from Chennai, has secured third rank.
At least three candidates from Bihar are in the top 100. Saurav Kumar Suman of Begusarai has secured 56th rank in the list of 920 candidates. Rahul Kumar Sinha of Nalanda has bagged 60th rank. Rishirendra Kumar is 91st on the list.
Gautam Kumar of Bhagalpur has secured 388th rank and Rajesh of Nawada has been placed 711. Azhar Jamal from Siwan is at 857th spot.
Saurav at present is serving as a deputy superintendent of police in Jharkhand police. He described the examination as a test of his nerves as he could clear it only in his fourth attempt.
“I couldn’t succeed in the first three attempts but I managed to do so in the fourth,” he said. Saurav said he couldn’t clear even the preliminary test in the first attempt.
The boy from Begusarai, however, did better in his next two attempts and reached the interview stage on both occasions. “Dedication does pay, but one also needs to have a slice of luck to clear this examination,” said Saurav, a geography graduate from Delhi University.
Sharing his experience about the interview, Saurav said the first few minutes of interaction with the board were crucial. He had chosen Hindi and Geography as his optional subjects and had gone in for specialised coaching for these subjects at Patna. For the general studies paper, he opted for a coaching institute of Delhi.
Rahul, an engineering graduate, had cleared the civil services examination in 2010 as well, securing 131st rank. Rahul, the son of a district judge in Jamui, had also got through the Bihar Administrative Service examination last year and was placed 13th.
Azhar from Siwan attributed his success to his parents. “There cannot be any substitute for hard work,” said Azhar, whose father is a farmer. The boy from Siwan’s Bilaspur village had chosen History and Urdu language as his optional papers and he could clear the civil services examination in the second attempt.
“I prepared for the first attempt at Patna but after failing to clear it, I moved to Delhi and prepared for the test on my own,” he said.
Chennai girl Divyadarshini, who has topped this year’s civil services exams, swears by two mottos — integrity and transparency. And to ensure this, she would not mind sharing information with the public, provided it is not sensitive or exempted under the civil services schedule.
“I am a great believer in the RTI act which is a landmark legislation, as I’ve witnessed my father fight corruption in the customs department using RTI. It agitates me that RTI activists are being attacked when they attempt to expose corruption. I would like the government to pass the whistle-blowers’ protection act at the earliest so that these two laws can be effective weapons against corruption,” said the 24-year-old law graduate.
For Divyadarshini, this was her second attempt at the IAS, though she never expected to be the country’s topper. “I expected to be in the top 20 but not at the top of the list,” she confessed with a smile. While preparing for the IAS from Prabha’s Academy, one of the lesser-known preparatory academies in Chennai, Divyadarshini rarely compromised on her pastime like watching cricket on TV or movies or novels.
“There was a systematic approach, with my academy putting me on the right track frequently, but I was not overly consumed by my preparations. My academy director, who travelled with me to Delhi, made sure that I was not nervous before the interview,” she said.
Her father, a consultant in customs and export and import, had all along urged his second daughter to aim for the IAS. She too was inspired after reading about the struggles of young officers who made a difference with their contribution and also by fighting corruption.
Divyadarshini is confident she can make a difference by being an honest and efficient IAS officer. “It pains me to see so many officials being arrested for corruption. If I had been in their position I would have stood up against my political bosses when asked to do a wrongful act,” she asserted.
Asked if she was not being idealistic, Divyadarshini replied: “Ask me the same question after five years.”