He ran after water tankers to fetch a bucket of water and worked in a rice shop for a living till recently. Such humble background didn’t deter Namini Venkatesh, the 19th ranker at the All India level, to set high ambitions for himself. “I just wanted to make my parents proud. And I gift this achievement to my mother,” says this only son of illiterate parents from Ibrahimpatnam village in Ranga Reddy district. His parents might have never gone to school but they understand the value of education and the IAS, which is now tagged to their son’s name. In fact, IPS officer Shivdhar Reddy, who hails from a neighbouring village, is a kind of inspiration for the family. “My father always wanted me to achieve something big like Shivdhar Reddy without even knowing what it takes to get into top services,” says this B.Tech graduate from IIIT Hyderabad.
Even Venkatesh was not aware of Civil Services till he got into third year of B.Tech. “I started my preparation only then and was pretty confident of achieving it despite my poor and rural background,” he says. English was a bit of problem but he improved reading newspapers and ensuring that his friends conversed with him only in English. “In fact, I lost out three times in the interview because of my average skills in English.” His fourth attempt, however, got him the top rank among the candidates who prepared from the State.
Third time lucky
His parents used to fill light in the lives of illiterates teaching them during night and he wanted to emulate them, but in a much bigger way. And his dreams came true after he cracked Civil Services bagging 64th rank and is all set to become an IAS officer. For Prashanth Kumar Reddy, hailing from Muddanur village in Kadapa district, the Akshara Rashmi programme, launched to attract workers to schools during night, provided enough sparks to his desire to serve the society. A B.Tech graduate from JNTU Hyderabad, he left a cool job in TCS to seriously pursue his goal . His sister, who unsuccessfully attempted Civils was the inspiration for him. The backwardness of Rayalaseema region is another factor, which he thinks, is inspiring several educated youth there to look at Civil Services as an option to serve the people. “It definitely plays on your mind, may be unknowingly,” says Prashanth who started serious preparation only during his final year at JNTU.
He was lucky only the third time missing the first two attempts with 60 marks and 30 marks respectively. Interestingly, he made it to the top services without taking coaching. “I read some standard books and took some tests in Delhi,” he says arguing that coaching may help but success can come even without it.
Woman of substance
For majority of women, career comes to an end with marriage. But in the case of Bharathi it was different. The nuptial knot stoked the fire to realise her childhood dream. A Tahsildar in the Karnataka Government and married to a Telugu man Shankar Reddy working in the Toursim Department, Bharathi unhesitatingly states that “My husband was behind my success.” She got 274th rank and is likely to get into IPS.
Hailing from Gokak in Belgaum district, this daughter of a school clerk moved to Hyderabad for coaching. Here she not only got her dream man but also realised her dream.
The aura of Civil Services that she noticed as a kid among the officials visiting her small town was the motivating factor for this BA graduate.
Bharathi is an example of what married women can do if they get support from family members. Interestingly, she cracked Civils while being in a busy job like Tahsildar.
Wasn’t it difficult? “I had to carefully plan my schedule giving due time to work and preparations. Sometimes, I felt like loosing the zeal but my husband was constantly behind me encouraging and infusing confidence.” However, she took three months leave for Mains. A chance meeting with a professor was the catalysis for this Chemical Engineer to change her path from laboratory to lobbies of power. D.R. Sindhuri, the 43rd rank holder at the Civil Services got the right formula from Dr. R.C. Reddy, known for civils coaching in the State.
Sindhuri met him during a family function and his advice to look at Civils as a career option changed the course of her life. A student of Bhoj Reddy Engineering College, she was in a dilemma about her future during her final year.
“I was not interested in going to US like my friends and this meeting helped me venture into a totally new area.
I understood the positive impact I can make to the society through this service. And the hard work paid off,” she says. She got through in her second attempt.
Daughter of a Government Pleader, Sindhuri is an example of how even late entrants can crack Civil Services with determination and guidance. “Initially, I thought it is a great exam and commoners cannot handle it.
But the confidence grew over a period of time,” she reveals. She agrees that shifting from Mathematical background to Humanities is always difficult, more so for an exam like Civils. Her optionals were Public Administration and Sociology.
Sindhuri feels luck plays a role to some extent here to like any other fields.
The girl who didn’t want to go to USA for simple fact that she has to change her lifestyle is, however, ready to work anywhere in India.