Kuldeep Dwivedi and his UPSC dreams: The rise of a small-town boy with a humble background to the rank of an IRS officer – Times of India | IIT EXPERT

The UPSC exam is agreeably one of the most challenging exams in India, with only a select few aspirants succeeding in their quest of becoming civil servants. Aspirants dedicate a crucial part of their life in the preparation of UPSC and the study hours stretch beyond the normal. Here, we take you through the journey of IRS officer Kuldeep Dwivedi and the struggles he had to undergo in order to achieve an impressive All India Rank (AIR) of 242 in the 2015 Civil Services Examination.
Humble beginnings
Kuldeep’s journey began in Shekhpur, a village in Uttar Pradesh’s Nogoha district. He was born to Surya Kant Dwivedi, a security guard at Lucknow University, and his homemaker wife, Manju Dwivedi. Kuldeep, who grew up in a low-income household excelled academically from a young age.
Surya Kant, the sole provider for his family of six, has worked tirelessly for more than two decades to make ends meet. Despite financial constraints, he ensured that his children- Sandeep, Pradeep, Swati, and Kuldeep, received sound education.
Surya Kant had only completed his education until class 12, and Manju had to discontinue hers after class 5, but they both valued the power of education to lift their family out of poverty. Despite the financial strain, they encouraged their children to pursue their educational goals, often borrowing money from the university to cover their tuition.
Their unwavering support laid the groundwork for Kuldeep’s incredible journey from humble beginnings to reaching for greater heights. He attended Saraswati Shishu Mandir, a Hindi-medium school, alongside his siblings until the seventh grade. Later, he transitioned to Gandhi Vidyalaya in Bachhrawan, Lucknow. Kuldeep successfully gained admission to Allahabad University, where he pursued and completed his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Hindi and Geography, respectively.
Growing up in a low-income family, Kuldeep faced obstacles but remained determined to his goals. He excelled academically, consistently ranking among the top students in both school and college. While his parents would be happy with a normal and stable government job, Kuldeep had bigger dreams for himself.
Family support
After completing his post-graduation, Kuldeep made a bold decision to prepare for the UPSC exam. However, due to financial crisis at home, he chose not to enroll in any UPSC coaching programmes. Instead, he chose to rely on self-preparation, borrowing books from friends and former candidates to aid his independent study.
However, Kuldeep moved to New Delhi, and settled in a modest 10 by 10 square feet rented room in Mukherjee Nagar to focus on his civil services exam preparation. With his father earning a meager monthly wage of Rs 6,000, he received only Rs 2,500 from him to help cover his rent expenses. Accessing the Internet seemed like a far-off possibility for Kuldeep, as he couldn’t afford a laptop. He relied on borrowing books from friends for his studies. In 2014, he finally managed to buy a laptop, but only after saving up for two years and sharing the cost with his roommate.
3rd time lucky: The road to success
Setting off on the difficult path to achieving one’s dreams frequently involves encountering numerous obstacles and setbacks. For Kuldeep, a young officer, this journey was no different. Before tasting the sweet flavour of success in 2015, he had already stumbled twice in his attempt to pass the UPSC exam.
During his first attempt, the weight of disappointment loomed large as Kuldeep struggled to crack the preliminary exams. Communication with his family dwindled, and despair pervaded his thoughts. Despite the gloom, his father’s unwavering faith served as a beacon of hope, encouraging him to persevere against the odds.
Kuldeep successfully cracked the preliminary exams at his second attempt but struggled with the Mains. Each time he suffered a setback, his family became more concerned. Some suggested that he pursue other options, but Kuldeep couldn’t be shaken from his goal of cracking the UPSC exam. He decided to give it another try, determined to give his best shot despite the obstacles. Well, hard work paid for him at the third attempt and Kuldeep ended up grabbing an All India Rank of 242.
The inspiring journey of IRS Officer Kuldeep Dwivedi reminds us of the enduring power of determination. His story is a testament to the fact that no challenge, no matter how formidable, can diminish the ardour of ambition when driven by strong resolve. Dwivedi’s tale of triumph serves as a beacon of hope, illuminating the path for others to pursue their dreams with steadfast perseverance and unwavering faith.

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