Dantewada ASP Suraj Parihar's journey from call-center worker to IPS-officer
Cracking the UPSC Civil Services Examination (CSE) isn't easy. Many candidates give up on their CSE dream after one or two unsuccessful attempts. But Suraj Singh Parihar, who was once a call center employee, achieved his dream of becoming an IPS officer in his fourth attempt. Despite failing to reach his goal thrice, he chose not to give up. Here's more on his journey.
Parihar, who hails from Uttar Pradesh, used to run an English-speaking coaching institute with his friend while pursuing graduation to help his father who was the sole breadwinner in his joint family. However, the institute was shut down due to a dispute with the landlord. Later, he briefly worked for Hindustan Unilever and then joined as a Call Center Executive at EXL in Noida.
After joining EXL, though he initially struggled a lot, Parihar worked hard and soon became a top performer. Despite fast career growth, he was unhappy deep down. He realized that while his short-term goal was to send home money, his bigger goal was to finish graduation and appear for CSE. He soon left EXL and moved to Delhi with some savings for UPSC coaching.
However, Parihar ran out of funds only six months after moving to Delhi. He then applied for eight Bank PO Exams and cleared them all. He first joined Bank of Maharashtra but later got selected for State Bank of India. While working with SBI, he appeared for CSE-2011 but failed to qualify. He then decided to quit again to focus on his UPSC goal.
Meanwhile, Parihar also cleared the SSC Combined Graduate Level Exam with AIR-23. So, after leaving SBI, he joined as a Customs and Excise Department inspector. This job, however, allowed him to prepare for UPSC on weekly offs. He again appeared for CSE in 2012. Though he was better prepared this time, he failed to clear the second stage of UPSC CSE, the Main Examination.
Parihar managed to clear CSE in his third attempt and got into the Indian Revenue Services. However, he wanted to join IPS and re-attempted CSE. This time, at the age of 30, he bagged AIR-189 and got into IPS. After the training, Parihar was initially posted as the Raipur City SP, following which he was promoted and appointed as ASP of the Naxal-hit Dantewada.
"Dantewada ranks third after its adjoining districts of Sukma and Bijapur in Naxal-related violence," Parihar told The Better India. "In the last five months, under the leadership of my seniors...our team has struck down heavily on Naxalites by encountering/arresting/surrendering Naxals carrying a bounty of about Rs. 1 crore," he added. "The best part is...the police have suffered almost no casualties," said the Dantewada ASP.
To address the Naxal issue, Parihar uses a blend of soft and hard policing techniques. Apart from conducting police operations and civic action in Naxal-affected areas with the SP, Parihar also launched creative initiatives to counter the Maoist propaganda, including a non-commercial awareness film titled Nayi Subah ka Sooraj. To create awareness, he also wrote poems and made a video song on the issue.
For Parihar, being an IPS officer is not a mere job, but rather a service. "Many of the aspirants who reach out to me, ask about the material benefits of being an IPS and time and again, I ask them to find a deeper motivation," he said. "The Indian Police Service is not a job, it is a service," the IPS officer added.