Success is relative. Be it in your perception or in your achievements, it’s futile to set limits on what you can do at any particular age or time in life. Because age is just a number and your mind does not recognise such limitations of physicality, you can set out achieving anything anytime and no time then can be too late for you. History is replete with references and instances where people way past the prime of their life make it big after years of persistence. On the opposite end of the spectrum however, there also exists an equal number of people for whom success came in early but not necessarily easy.
The civil services examination in India is one such challenge that does not count on the mere years for its clearance. No wonder it’s passion and toil rather than age and qualifications that govern the civil servant profile in the country. Here are 5 of the youngest IAS officers in India who has proved that age is just a number-
Ansar Ahmad Shaikh
Among the IAS officers who etched their names in the record books by being the youngest of the lot is 2015 UPSC examinee Ansar Ahmad Shaikh. A then 2 year old lad who cracked the civil services examination in his very fist attempt, Shaikh’s story is one of sheer determination and perseverance even in the face of umpteen hurdles.
The son of an autorickshaw driver Yonus Ahmad Shaikh, Ansar hails from the drought hit Shelgaon village of Maharashtra’s Marathwada region. Coming from a family where education was never the buzzword, Shaikh battled not only his poor economic background but also his minority status and his roots in a backward native region to clear the examination by securing a commendable all India rank of 361.
A graduate in Political Science from the Fergusson College in Pune, Shaikh had a distinguished academic career all throughout as he had secured 91% in his X board exams in spite of his many financial and familial hurdles. However, even when career was never prioritised in his family that consisted of mainly uneducated members or at most drop outs, Shaikh received enormous support from his father and his school dropout brother who worked hard enough to ensure that this bright mind would not face a fate similar to theirs. Sure enough their unconditional support and Ansar’s determination saw the light of day when the latter made it through the tough qualifying examination in his very first attempt. Ansar is currently serving as Officer on Special Duty (OSD) at the Department of MSME and Textiles, Government of West Bengal.
When it comes to success stories and reaching pinnacles, what perhaps has the maximum impact is the struggle that led one to the zenith of glory. Not for another of the youngest IAS officers Roman Saini though. For someone who cracked his medical exams to become a junior resident doctor at the prestigious All India Institute of Medical Sciences, it was only expected that the civil services would be a worthy challenge for Saini. And indeed it was. At the young age of 22 Saini cracked the 2013 UPSC examination with a prestigious all India rank of 18. Posted as an assistant collector at Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh, Roman Saini did well as a government official for a couple of years until he quit in January 2016 with a greater vision in sight.
Saini’s resignation from the services was goaded by his desire to provide free education for students who had the zeal to excel but could not afford the means to make things happen. As the founder of the web learning portal Unacademy, Saini has extended his goodwill to aspirants in various fields of higher studies and continues to do so full time.
Swati Meena Naik
Another young gun who made her way into history as being among the youngest IAS officers has been Swati Meena Naik. A 22 year old woman when she cleared the prestigious examination in 2006, Naik hails from the Rajasthani city of Sikar. She secured an all India rank of 260th in the UPSC exams and is currently serving in the Madhya Pradesh State Cooperative Marketing Federation after holding the position of Additional State Project Director of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan earlier in her career as a civil servant. A relentless worker forever seeking to bring about betterment for the poor and downtrodden of the society, Swati Meena Naik sure is going all out with her dedication even after more than a decade in service.
Hailing from a family that had a lineage of producing civil servants, it was only expected that Amrutesh Aurangabadkar would himself harbour a passion for the services. What however was not so much a matter of concern for Aurangabadkar was aiming to be among the youngest of the lot. Yet when a 22 year old Amrutesh cracked the civil services examination in 2011, he not only achieved that feat but with an all India rank of 10 and a state rank of 1 also established further his brilliance and dedication in making things happen.
An Economics graduate from Pune’s Fergusson College, Aurangabadkar cleared the UPSC examination in his maiden attempt as he took inspiration from his IRS sister Chinmaya Aurangabadkar who had aced the same in her first attempt in 2009. Aurangabadkar currently serves as the Regional Commissioner of Municipalities in Vadodara.
Possibly among the youngest IAS officers of the country who held on to the distinction for almost a decade is Delhi lad Ankur Garg who topped the civil services examination back in 2002 when he was just 22 years old. However, with his dedication and vision that had him envisioning himself as a civil servant when he was in class 3, Garg sure set out in exploring horizons that require tremendous focus and a fair amount of perseverance.
A graduate from the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology, Garg hails from a family of doctors and was himself a pro at his academic pursuits. With 87% secured in his B. Tech examination that qualified him as an electrical engineer, it was indeed Garg’s long term vision and his consistent attempt at acing every examination that placed him also as the numero uno in the 2002 list. Garg is also a Master’s in Public Administration in International Development from the prestigious Harvard University where he secured a record 171 out of 170 marks in his final exam.