Ansar Shaikh will go into annals of Civil Service History as the youngest ever to qualify as an IAS Officer. He is 21 and has cleared the Civil Services exam with an AIR of 361, that too at the first attempt. He beats Roman Saini who was 22 when he qualified for the IAS. Ansar comes from a very poor family. Ansar is the son of Yonus Shaikh Ahmad, an autorickshaw driver from Jalna’s Shedgaon village in the Marathwada region of Maharashtra. His mother worked in fields. His younger brother, Anees dropped out of school in standard VII. Anees worked in a garage to support the family and help his brother prepare for the IAS exam.
Ansar worked 12 hours a day for three years to achieve his IAS dream. His success is especially commendable counting the fact that education wasn’t a priority in his family. In his own words Ansar describes his domestic situation, “Education has never been a watchword in my family. My father, a rickshaw driver, has three wives. My mother is the second wife. My younger brother dropped out of school and my two sisters were married off at an early age. When I told them that I had cleared the UPSC and in all likelihood will be an IAS officer, they were stunned shocked.” Ansar had been given West Bengal cadre.
Even though Ansar’s large family struggled to make ends meet, he remained a bright student throughout. He had secured 91% in his X board exams (SSC Board). He has a degree in political science from Fergusson College, Pune. Ansar has said, “I was marginalized by three different categories. I am from a backward undeveloped region, I hail from a poor economic background and I belong to a minority community. I will tackle all these issues as an administrator since I have witnessed these issues at close quarters.”
Ansar had attended a private coaching class for his UPSC civil services preparation. His family had to bear great expenses in this regard but were more than delighted when they got the result they all had awaited. He thanked Rahul Pandve, his 30-year-old teacher for giving him guidance and support. (Pandve had also cleared the UPSC civil services exam that year with AIR 200). Ansar said on his success “There is no alternative to hard work. During my struggle, my friends helped me a lot mentally and financially and even my coaching academy waived a portion of fees due to my poor financial condition”.
Hard work, family and friends – played their part in leading Ansar to his dream job. But more than anything, it is attitude that sets him apart from others – the attitude to never back down and be steadfast in trying to achieve your dream.