Doctor-turned-IPS officer emerges topper among Tamil Nadu candidates

A pursuit of “something new” and the desire to “bring about change for the better” shaped Chennai resident A. Arun Thamburaj into an IAS officer.

“I am trying to evolve as something new,” said the doctor-turned-IPS officer who emerged as topper among candidates from Tamil Nadu in the UPSC Civil Services examination 2012, with an All-India rank of 6.

Over 97 aspirants like Dr. Thamburaj from Tamil Nadu made it through the Civil Services examination this year.

Dr. Thamburaj cleared the examination in 2010 and got into the IPS. Yet his desire to attain his cherished goal in life—the Indian Administrative Service—has finally given him an opportunity to serve his State as part of the steel frame of the nation.

Inspiration drawn from his father P. Ashok, a retired Superintendent of Police, was a key factor that strengthened Dr. Thamburaj’s aspiration to “take a brave step forward.” He was a school topper at St. Bede’s Santhome and a gold medallist at Madras Medical College. Disheartened with his poor score of 197 out of 600 in the Zoology optional paper a few years ago, he fought back to win the race this year.

“This year’s results reinforce the fact that perseverance and intelligent hard work counts. Dr. Thamburaj persistently tried,” said P.S. Ravindran, his mentor and director at the Vajiram & Ravi Institute for IAS Examination.

“This is a curriculum-heavy examination. Those who win are not necessarily the most intelligent; they are the most hardworking and ambitious,” said Mr. Ravindran.

The government-run All India Civil Services Coaching Centre on Greenways Road had 49 candidates on the list of successful candidates, said Premkala Rani, principal.

“The government spent a large amount of money on training the candidates and helped them get a CD recording their performance at the mock interview. This helped them improve their performance. Many of the candidates belong to the weaker sections of the society,” she said.

“Over 23 of the successful candidates from the All India Civil Services Coaching Centre are engineers. Five of the successful candidates are women,” said Ms. Rani.

Computer Science Engineering graduate from College of Engineering Guindy A. Thameem Ansariya got the 801st rank in the examination. She said the facilities for preparation in Chennai, including the Manithanaeyam IAS/IPS Free Coaching Centre, played a key role in her success.

“I wore purdah to the personality test. I feel a sense of freedom and empowerment by wearing it. The institutes in the city shaped my intellect,” said Ms. Ansariya.

“Facilities for education here helped me understand asp ects of modernity without discounting my tradition. I will continue to wear the purdah and yet try to bring about modern changes in policy making,” she added.

Loganayagi Divya V. of Nolambur, who secured the 416th rank, met with an accident four days before the personality test and appeared for the interview in a wheelchair. “My physical condition at the time did not hold me back from performing my best,” she said.

For dentist R. Renuka, who got the 803 rank, the city provided facilities to achieve her goal. Dr. Renuka, a resident of Ayanavaram, attributed her success to her mother M. Vasanthi and her mentor D. Venkatesh of Impact IAS Academy.

“Married women and mothers are definitely capable of clearing the examination. My parents took care of my child while I prepared,” she said.

Ramamoorthy Sankaranarayanan (rank 118), K. Balaji (rank 715) and Jeyaseelan V.P. (rank 602) of the academy attributed their success to the strong network of study circles in areas such as Anna Nagar. Jayaseelan took the test in Tamil. “Here, rural background and Tamil medium are not barriers,” he added.

Last year, as many as 68 candidates from Tamil Nadu cleared the examination. “The number of successful candidates from Chennai touched 112 in 2009. Then it recorded a dip. Now there is an improvement,” said D. Shankar, director of Shankar IAS Academy.

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