How did a farmer’s son from a remote village in Andhra Pradesh make it to rank three, all-India level, in the Union Public Service Commission’s civil services 2016 examination? There was a time when 30-year-old Gopala Krishna Ronanki’s parents, Ronanki Appa Rao and Rukminamma, an agricultural labourer often out in the fields, did not even have electricity at home or enough money to send him to a private school.
Ronanki has been a teacher in a primary school for the last 11 years. His family belongs to Parasamba village of Palasa block in Srikakulam district.
His parents were so poor that they could not afford to send him to private schools. He managed to somehow get admitted to a government school and completed his intermediate course with maths, physics and chemistry at the Government Junior College, Palasa. “Then I did a two-year teachers’ training course at Dubacharla in west Godavari district and was selected as a government teacher in 2006. Getting a job was my priority as I had to earn my own livelihood,” Ronanki told the media.
As a secondary grade school teacher, Ronanki appeared for his graduation privately from Andhra University, Visakhapatnam, and completed his B Sc (MPC). His dream, however, “was to make it to the IAS. I had been preparing for it for almost a decade. Finally, I could achieve my goal in my fourth attempt,” he said.
As he had done schooling and intermediate course in the Telugu medium, Ronanki chose Telugu literature as his optional in the civils (mains). Interestingly, he was also allowed by UPSC to appear for the personality test in Telugu. “With the help of the Telugu interpreter, I could face the interview boldly,” he said.
Ronanki’s parents were not aware of their son’s dream and his efforts. “We didn’t even have electricity at home till I completed my Intermediate. All that my parents knew was that I was a teacher. I broke the news today to them that I had been selected to the IAS and would soon become a collector,” he said.
His success, Ronanki said, could be attributed to the hard work of his parents.
Dr Gopalakrishna, director of Brain Tree India coaching centre in Hyderabad, said the third ranker was a brilliant candidate from the most backward area of Andhra Pradesh. “He appeared for mock interview sessions at our institute and was very bright,” Gopalakrishna said.
Another topper from Hyderabad, Muzammil Khan (28), who secured 22nd rank, all India level, in the civil services examination, is the son of retired IPS officer, Abdul Khayyum Khan, former Hyderabad City police commissioner and director-general of the Anti-Corruption Bureau in the Telangana government.
An electrical engineer from the Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS), Pilani in Rajasthan, Khan gave up a lucrative engineering job in a private firm, to “seriously” prepare for the civil services examination. “I could make it to the Indian Railway Services in the first attempt and, finally, made it to the IAS in my second attempt. I am happy to achieve this rank and feel lucky to get it in the holy month of Ramadan,” Khan told Hindustan Times.
Khan took Anthropology as his subject in the mains. “I found it a very interesting subject and focussed on studying it for a year and it helped me a lot,” he said.
He said he did not find it tough to prepare for the examination. “It is enough to study for six hours a day with perfect planning. That’s it,” he said. He attributed his success to his father, who he said was his role model. “In fact, my entire family stood by me and gave me a lot of encouragement,” Khan added.
Other toppers from the Telugu states who made it to the top 100 ranks include: Mikkilineni Manu Chowdary (36), C V Praveen Aditya (79) and P Anvesha Reddy (80).