UPSC IAS 2022: The Boy Who Once Studied Under A Kerosene Lamp Cracked Civil Services: IAS Anshuman Raj’s Success Story


Check the story of IAS Anshuman Raj, who did not let his humble background come in the way of his dream of becoming an IAS Officer through the UPSC Civil Services Exam. 

Where there’s a will, there’s a way. This proverb fits perfectly in the lives of Civil Services aspirants. Candidates need a strong will to succeed in the most challenging exam in the country. IAS Anshuman Raj has a story that can make hearts melt. The boy who once studied under a kerosene lamp cracked the Civil Services exam to become an IAS officer. Check his life story below. 

IAS Anshuman Raj: UPSC Success Story

Early Life:

Anshuman Raj was born in a small village of Buxar in Bihar. His father was a small businessman, while his mother was a housewife. 

When Anshuman was young, he understood that one’s economic condition should not become a hurdle in the road to success. 

In an interview, he told how he studied in the light of a kerosene lamp till he was in class 10th. His village had to face power cuts 18-20 hours a day. 

He completed his 10th and 12th standard from Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya in Bihar. Anshuman said that his schooling from a Government school acted as a catalyst in his preparation for UPSC CSE.

Anshuman completed his graduation from a Government institute as well. He studied at Marine Engineering and Research Institute, Kolkatta and worked for 4 years as a Marine engineer in a Hong Kong-based company. 

After that, he began his preparation for UPSC Civil Services. In his opinion, today, one only needs an internet connection, through which they can access the material available online. No one needs to go to bigger cities to join institutes to become an IAS.  

He also squashes all the myths about someone from the village not being able to crack Civil Services Exam. Anshuman himself belonged to a village background and did not have money to enrol in a coaching institute. “Yes, people who can join coachings have a little benefit. They know what they have to study and from where. But nowhere does it state that if one does not join costly coaching, one will fail in CSE.”

Anshuman Raj’s UPSC Strategy:

Anshuman did not join any coaching and succeeded in his fourth attempt relying on self-study. 

Choosing the correct optional subject before starting the preparation is essential in the opinion of Anshuman Raj. He guides candidates to select the optional subject as per their aptitude. Also, candidates can choose an optional subject which, gives them a good score. 

Choosing the right medium is also necessary. Candidates must rise above the notion that English medium candidates score well in the exam. Hindi medium candidates and regional medium candidates can also clear the exam. 

The aspirants must maintain their motivation at all times during their preparation. 

Anshuman studied for 8-10 hours every day while he stayed in his village. He informed that during his second, third and final attempt, he was situated in his village and used to study from there itself.

Anshuman did not prepare notes in his second attempt. He realised soon that it was his mistake. He emphasises now that candidates must prepare notes. He says that candidates can buy notes of other toppers if they cannot prepare their notes. 

He also stuck to one resource per subject. He did not run after resources and guided the candidate to avoid this habit as well. 

Maintaining continuity during the UPSC preparation is the most important in Anshuman’s opinion. He also says that this exam should be treated as an opportunity by the candidates to do something for their society. It is not just an exam, but a means to reach your goal.  

Anshuman Raj succeeded in getting through the UPSC Mains in his third attempt but did not get a good rank after the interview. He became an  Assistant commissioner (IRS C&CE) in 2019.

However, he did not lose hope and appeared for the final time and got through. He secured AIR 106 in his final attempt and is currently the Assistant Collector in the Government of Madhya Pradesh. 

Anshuman Raj’s preparation and selection in UPSC Civil Services is an eye-opener for many candidates who think that one from a humble background cannot become an IAS officer. 

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