An Indian Civilizational Perspective

Tea-stall owner's son an IAS topper

In this day and age of clamour for reservations and high fees that the educational institutes charge to keep the poor out – here is a smart young kid with some confidence who has made to the top of the Civil Services Exam in India – arguably the toughest test of the brightest in the land!

A story worth reading!!

Babaji Sahoo’s ramshackle teastall in a non-descript village of Orissa’s Jagatsinghpur district has suddenly become the focus of the entire neighbourhood.

Sahoo’s son Manoj has done the entire area proud by finishing 34th in the Civil Services examination this year.

“I only hoped that he will become a school teacher, not an IAS. But he has surprised everyone,” 62-year-old Sahoo said.

Overwhelmed at the achievement of Manoj, residents of Singarpur village in Balikuda block, took out a procession to celebrate his success last Sunday where the elders blessed the youngman. “Poverty cannot be a hurdle if you have determination and if one is willing to do hard work,” Manoj told the happy gathering.

“It’s all due to the grace of god. My obedient son showed a spark of brilliance right from childhood. We are poor but I never neglected my son’s studies,” Sahoo said.

He earned a meagre amount from the tea shop, that too in a village. “But I never neglected my son’s education. Whatever I earned went towards his studies,” an emotional Sahoo said.

“Now I am thinking of closing down the teastall,” he said, his voice betraying emotion.

Manoj, 26, who also taught in classes at a science study centre at Jagatsinghpur to earn a few extra rupees to meet his requirement, had a career entirely spent in the sylvan surroundings of his village.

He studied at the Sailabala High School at Panchupandab and then joined the Swami Vivekananda Memorial College at Jagatsinghpur, the district headquarter town. He did his BSc in agriculture from the College of Agriculture and Technology at Chiplima in Sambalpur district.

He did MSc in agriculture from Junagarh university in Gujarat.

After doing his post-graduation, he heeded the advice of a friend and moved to Delhi to prepare for the civil service examination. “I did not attend any coaching classes nor pay any hefty fees. It has also proved the impression that students from public schools alone can do well in these exams is a myth,” he said.

“He was a bright student and by becoming an IAS he has done his village proud,” Judhistir Das, a teacher at Sailabala High School, Manoj’s alma mater, said.

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