Seventy two year old Virendra Rajput’s ramshackle house in a non-descript village in Bhind district has suddenly become the attraction of the entire neighborhood. An ordinary tailor by profession, he is popularly known as ustaad in the village for his hand-to-hand combat style in the Akharas. Virendra, a father of three sons and a daughter, had lived with only one dream – to give his children good education. It has paid rich dividends; his son Nirish has cleared the prestigious Civil Services examinations. Friends, relatives, and media people, are pouring in to catch a glimpse of Nirish, who has become the hero of the day.

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It is difficult to believe that Nirish has been living in a 15 by 40 feet house in village Mau in Gohad tehsil of Bhind district. The economic condition of the family can be gauged from the fact that had to work at odd jobs, and even deliver newspapers door to door. He studied in a government school and went to a modest college in Gwalior. Financial constraints even forced him to take a two years break from his studies. His father and two elder brothers, who are contractual teachers, started investing most of their savings to support Nirish in achieving his big dream. His success has also cleared another myth “students from public schools alone can do well in these exams,”. After the demise of Nirish’s mother, it is the father who is keeping the children’s spirit alive. “My father has told me not be disheartened and to reappear in the exam in the next year”, he added.”Even when my mother was alive, I never saw them disgusted or heard them grumbling over money matters,” he said.

Nirish appeared in the civil services examination not once, but three times earlier but failed. It is not easy to face failure, more so if you are from a poor family. The pressure of taking up a job to supplement the income of the family is always mounting. He continued to chase his dream of becoming an IAS officer by putting his heart and soul into studies, undaunted by failures. With continued enthusiasm he appeared once again and sure enough, he passed with an all India rank of 370.

Life has posed many challenges in the path of Nirish.He happened to share his dream with a considerably rich and respected family friend, who was very shrewd. He lured Nirish to help him to set up a coaching institute in Uttarakhand, and promised that he would help him by providing material to prepare for his Civil Services examination. But two years later, after the coaching institute started paying rich dividends, he was insulted, disgraced and literally thrown out.”What is your worth? You are good for nothing. We no longer want you”, that were the last words I heard from the members of that educated and rich family, said Nirish. “Next moment, I was jobless, homeless, penniless and remained hungry for a week, till help came to me”, he narrated.

“I did not know how to become an IAS officer, but I knew that clearing the country’s top examinations can change my fortune”, he said, adding “that poverty cannot be a hurdle if one has determination and is willing work hard.”One day Nirish left for Delhi to study. “In Delhi, I became friendly with Ankit, who was preparing for competitive exams. I started living with him at Mukherjee Nagar and studied 18hours a day. I did not attend any coaching classes as I could not afford to pay the hefty fees. I studied from the books and notes of Ankit,” he said.

Nirish says the time has come to pay back to society. He plans to help and guide IAS aspirants from economically weak sections to achieve their dreams. He doesn’t want them to face the problems which he had to face. May his tribe increase!

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