Odds have always been against Ummul Kher as someone living with a fragile bone disorder and disowned by parents at 14, because she wanted to study beyond Class 8.
What drove her ahead was sheer determination and merit.
UPSC 2016 success stories
Lived independently and worked hard to earn money
Ummul Kher had 16 fractures and eight surgeries due to fragile bone disorder.
As she puts it, life was difficult but what came after that was both difficult and painful.
Her parents warned they will sever ties with her if she attended senior secondary school.
She left home, lived in slums, earned from tuitions, finished graduation, cleared JNU entrance for post-graduation, and cracked UPSC.
Does Kher forgiver her parents?
Ummul Kher said: "I don't blame them (her parents). They were brought up in an environment that shaped their thinking. It is not their fault. In the past two years, my relations with my family have improved. I will visit them soon."
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Meet Himanshu Jain who rejected offers from RBI, Google, Amazon
Himanshu Jain from Haryana's Jind was ranked 44 in the UPSC-2016 exam in his third attempt.
He refused a Rs. 22-lakh pay package from Amazon and an offer from Google; he also got the job of a manager with Reserve Bank of India but chose civil services over it.
Himanshu Jain's statement
"I always heard from my teachers and family how an IAS officer has the power to change the country. Through my exposure in computer science, I will strive to help digitize India and introduce transparency in governance."
From selling khaini to securing 728 rank: Niranjan Kumar's journey
From selling khaini (tobacco) at his father's small-time shop in Bihar's Nawada to making it to the coveted civil services, Niranjan Kumar's journey has been phenomenal.
Despite hailing from a small village called Pakri Barawan near Patna, he secured 728th rank in the UPSC exam.
He had to overcome a lot of struggles in life to achieve what he has.
Will write the UPSC civil services exams next year: Niranjan
Niranjan did his matriculation from Nawada in 2004 and intermediate education in Patna in 2006.
He later went on to compete in Dhanbad's IIT-ISM for mining engineering course.
However, he is not satisfied with his All India Rank 728 and would appear for the civil services exam next year.
He is among the 35-odd aspirants from Bihar who made the cut in UPSC-2016.