These people overcame failures/challenges to become civil servants


18 Jun 2019

School/college failures, dropouts who later became IAS and IPS officers

The Civil Services Examination (CSE) conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) every year is one of the most challenging exams.

Cracking the three-stage CSE isn't easy and many spend years preparing to clear it. However, there are some candidates who, despite failing in school/college or dropping out, overcame difficulties to become IAS and IPS officers.

Here are some of such civil servants.


Rukmani Riar, who failed in Class-6, secured AIR-2 in CSE

Rukmani Riar, who failed in Class-6, secured AIR-2 in CSE

Rukmani Riar is a 2012-batch IAS officer of the Rajasthan cadre. She cracked UPSC CSE-2011 and bagged the all-India second rank in her very first attempt.

When she was in school, she failed in Class-6, but after that incident she made up her mind to work hard, realizing that with perseverance, nothing is impossible.

Rukmani is currently the District Magistrate of Bundi in Rajasthan.


This IPS officer had failed in his HSC exams

Umesh Ganpat Khandbahale is a 2015-batch IPS officer of the West Bengal cadre.

Hailing from the Mahiravani village in Maharashtra's Nashik district, he had failed to pass his HSC (Higher Secondary school Certificate) examination as he failed in English.

However, leaving his failure behind, Umesh started studying again and even did post-graduation before cracking the CSE 2014 with AIR-704 in his third attempt.

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Gaurav Agarwal, CSE-2013 AIR-1 holder, failed in graduation

Gaurav Agarwal, CSE-2013 AIR-1 holder, failed in graduation

Gaurav Agarwal, a 2014-batch IAS officer, cracked the CSE-2013, bagging the AIR-1.

Notably, at the age of 16, he had cleared IIT-JEE and joined IIT-Kanpur. However, at IIT-Kanpur, he had failed in a semester and had to spend extra time to complete his graduation.

However, that failure made him only stronger as he went on to become an IIM-Lucknow gold-medalist and CSE topper.


This IAS officer dropped out of school in Class 12

K Elambahavath is a 2016-batch IAS officer of the Tamil Nadu cadre.

He had to drop out of school in Class-12 due to financial constraints after his father's death. Despite several challenges and difficulties, he achieved his dream of becoming an IAS officer after 19 years when he cracked the CSE-2015, securing AIR-117.

He is currently the Sub-Collector of Ranipet in Tamil Nadu's Vellore.

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Gaurav Agarwal

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K Elambahavath


Rukmani Riar

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Umesh Ganpat Khandbahale

West Bengal

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