Kumram Bheem Asifabad: It was sheer grit and determination that saw Vivekananda Shukla overcome several challenges early on in his life and come out with flying colours in the UPSC examination, securing an impressive 457th rank.
“My father, VN Shukla, used to work in Sirpur Paper Mills Private Ltd, Kaghaznagar, but he died due to age-related ailments in 2010. I was 13 and studying Class VIII when our family lost the breadwinner. The tragedy jolted our family, and we were forced to return to our native place Chhapra, Saran district, Bihar. I was about to give up studies after completing 12th grade on account of our poor financial condition,” Shukla recalled in a chat with ‘Telangana Today’.
He said two sisters, who were still unmarried then, however, egged him on to continue with his studies and pitched in to contribute to the family kitty by taking up tuitions for school students. His mother, Manju Devi, is a homemaker.
Born in Kagazhnagar, where he also studied till Class XII, Shukla, the only brother to five sisters, all of whom are elder to him and married now, said he had taken up a part-time teaching job to help his mother in making both ends meet, even as he pursued BA Honors at Banaras Hindu University. “I have been dreaming of becoming an IAS officer since I was 15 years old,” he added.
Shukla appeared for the UPSC examination last year after preparing on his own. “I could not afford coaching at an institution. I initially took examinations conducted by the Staff Selection Committee and other government organisations, and in the meantime, I also landed a job as a scientific assistant with the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) in 2019,” he said.
An alumnus of Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya, Kaghaznagar, Shukla attributes his success to the guidance given by his teachers in school and the unwavering support of his mother and friends. “The quality education imparted by the JNV teachers played a vital role in my doing well in the examination. My mother did not put any pressure on me with her problems, and I could focus only on my goal. My friends helped me in several ways during graduation,” he said.
This achiever is confident of making it to the IAS given his rank. And if he doesn’t make it to IAS? “Well, I will give it another shot if I am not selected for IAS,” he says with confidence. He also points out that he is the only person from his family and neighbouring villages to become a civil services officer.
“A right combination of confidence, patience, determination and smart work will help aspirants crack the UPSC examination,” he said, as an advice to other aspirants.
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