IAS success story: After her father’s death, she became a Medical doctor, then she cracked IAS exam

The Civil Services Examination (CSE) is considered one of the toughest exams in India conducted by the Union Public Service Commission. Everyone dreams to clear the Civil Services Exam, but very few are fortunate to crack the exam. Today, we are talking about such a woman named Dr. Rehana who cracked the exam in her second attempt, while many people hesitate to appear for the second attempt if they fail the civil services exam.

The girl who secured 187th rank in the UPSC Civil Services exam in the year 2018 failed in her first attempt before touching the pinnacle of success. This is an inspiring story for all those who have failed in an examination and after reading this, it will certainly give you the much-needed boost to perform well even after failures.

Rehana Bashir became the first woman from Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch district in Salwah Village who cracked the UPSC civil service exams. Kajal’s story teaches us grit, determination and to not give up no matter how hard the situation is. She appeared for the UPSC civil services in 2017 but failed to clear the exam. Rehana then cleared the exam in her second attempt.

Rehana’s brother Amir Bashir is already working with the Indian Revenue Service (IRS). “It was not easy for me to take the stress, but my brother, who is already into administration, guided me. There were instances when I questioned myself about my decision, but friends and family members reminded me of my ultimate goal in life,” she says.

“My father was a state forest corporation employee. One day, he unexpectedly fell ill, and while we were positive that he would recover, he passed away. Things had quite literally come to a standstill, but our mother stayed strong. I was in Class 9, while my brother, Amir, was in class 8 at the time. She single-handedly shouldered not just the household responsibilities but also our upbringing, and became our pillar of support,” she says.

“She has played a crucial role in every decision that I’ve made so far. When our father passed away, she only told us one thing: ‘I will go the extra mile to provide you with whatever you need. But, promise me that you will leave no stone unturned to excel in studies.’ And she always stayed true to her word,” shares a proud Rehana.

What is your goal in life? Why did you decide to join civil services after getting a medical degree?

While I was doing an internship in November 2016, I realised that I can serve people better by taking part in governance. While I was in college, my world was confined into books, but once I started working, I could understand ground realities, and I realise that I want to do something more than just being a doctor. As a doctor, I can only treat a patient but I cannot solve his problems overall. There are a number of issues which can solve a lot of health problems, such as access to clean drinking water, proper roads, good food, cleanliness, health and hygiene, and so on. With this job, I will be able to serve people better.

So, Rehana made up her mind to appear for the UPSC exams. After completing the internship in 2016, she started preparation for the UPSC Civil Services exam.

In 2017, Rehana gave her first attempt but did not clear the exams. Naturally, she was sad and disappointed, but the failure made her even more strong, and she decided to give a fresh attempt without seeking help from any crash courses or coaching classes.

“It was indeed a difficult call, but then I wanted to give myself another chance. I didn’t even go for the counselling and became completely invested in my preparations. At that time, many people said that we were losing a good doctor. But there were also others who said that I was setting a precedent and that there are very few people who are capable of making the right decision at the right time,” Rehana said.

“Success and failure are both part of our lives. You need to understand how to handle them both. If you have failed today, remember what had motivated you to chase your dream in the first place and all the efforts that went behind it. If you hold on to that dream, work hard and keep on persisting, no failure can derail you from achieving it,” she concludes.

Dharam Sikarwar
Writer, historian, and activist Dharam Sikarwar is a very active author The Youth. He writes on national and international issues, environment, politics. He is an avid book reader as well.