May 28, 2009
“One need not be an exceptional genius to get through IAS. What is needed is the intelligence, mental toughness, confidence and smart work. If there is a will and determination and the desire to work success is stored for you. Half the battle is won if one is sure of his ultimate goal”- Karthik Kashyap.
He is just 23 years old and in his very first attempt he got through the IAS, considered to be the mother of all exams. But can one imagine Karthik Kashyap sitting in the examination hall with tears flowing down his cheeks in the midst of the IAS Main examination during the General Studies Paper and even toying with the idea of coming out of the examination hall half way through? Luckily the officials did not allow him to leave the hall and Karthik gathered his wits to complete the paper and thus Karthik scripted his success story. His momentary hibernation might have affected his ranking but his steadfastness, will power and to put in his own words ‘smart work’ paid rich dividends to script his own success story.
In a district which lacks the culture of getting into Civil Services Mangalore lad Karthik Kashyap’s 140th rank in IAS is something to cheer about and feel proud of. It is for the first time that someone from this district has got into the Indian Administrative Service directly thus emerging as a role model for all those who aspire to become civil servants. The first thing that strikes me on meeting him is his high energy levels. He comes across as an affable young man with bubbling energy but with clear-cut thoughts and goals. He is witty, charming and gives credit where it is due without having an aura of having made it big. Though he expected a higher rank he seems to be comfortable with his achievement considering that he gave it a go in the very first attempt.
For two years Karthik went through a hectic process of preparing for this examination with the seriousness it demanded. Though he always nurtured an aptitude for the IAS he ended up doing his Civil Engineering from Nitte in 2007. It was only during his 2nd year engineering Karthik decided to give vent to his original love of getting into civil services. He was exposed to the top public servants since his childhood, thanks to his politician father M Shankar Bhat, the present Mayor of Mangalore. It was his father who first planted the seed of civil services in his young mind. “Having seen the top bureaucrats I was inspired by the power they had to work for the betterment of the people. And I thought becoming a civil servant would provide me that platform to fulfill my aspirations of serving the public”, he stated.
By the time he finished his engineering he had set up the foundation required for IAS exams by going through NCERT books and through postal coaching notes. Within three days of graduating from Engineering he was in Delhi to get into a coaching institute for IAS. He joined a hostel and a coaching institute trying to figure out his approach to study. It took nearly six months for Karthik to understand what is required to make it to the IAS. “I was depressed and was in tears and I wasted six months just figuring out what to study and what is not to study”, he recalls. But his family stood by him like a solid rock giving him the necessary moral support required. His mother used to speak to him daily for half an hour over telephone just to keep his morale high.
Within two months in Delhi he joined a paying guest accommodation and soon Karthik was into an atmosphere where everyone spoke only about getting through IAS. He attended coaching classes which guides the aspirants on the intricacies of taking the civil service exam. He also read loads of books on the subjects to broaden his understanding of the topics. He took History and Public administration for his preliminary examination and for the Main exams because of his natural interest in the subjects. Having passed the first hurdle of passing through the prelims he prepared intently for the main examination conducted within two months. For the main exam a candidate has to answer three subjects which include two optional and one compulsory General Studies Paper and one essay paper and two language papers which are basically qualifying. The General Study paper was little tougher this time and that is what made Karthik go for a mid-way momentary hibernation.
For 20 months Karthik worked 10 hours a day six days a week relaxing only on Sundays. “I used to prepare a chart to assess my own work and if I wasn’t finishing 60 hours of work I used to go crazy”. His mother Sujatha Bhat played a stellar role in his success by constantly prodding him to believe in himself. Karthik seems to have taken his mother’s traits and the duo maintains perfect understanding. “I used to talk to him over phone during dinner time for nearly half an hour so that his precious times was not wasted”, says the proud mother.
Father Shankar Bhat and mother Sujatha S Bhat expected their son to be in the top 50 considering his determination to reach the goal he had set for himself. Karthik visited home once in six months, forgone all the little pleasures any youngster of his age would have preferred indulging in and lost almost 7kgs during his marathon preparation for the exam.
Talking about his success Karthik says “the unconventional form of questions worked in my favour even when many seniors with exceptional abilities failed to qualify for the main exams. Since I had a holistic view of the subjects I could get through in my first attempt. I think one need to be articulate to put in paper what is in the mind”.
Once the results of the main exams were out Karthik concentrated on preparing for the final hurdle – the interview, scheduled for March 2009. About 2000 candidates made it to the final round and only 791 were to be selected for the various posts of Class I officers including IAS. He attended some mock interviews and kept himself updated on current events. “Interview is nothing but testing your personality. One need not be pretentious as the panel looks for those traits essential for an administrator and does not test the factual knowledge of the candidate. One has to be confident, honest and sincere”, he confides.
Karthik feels Mangaloreans have the necessary talent and the intelligence to get into civil services. “In states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar students begin their preparations in 8th standard just like our students preparing for CET, medicine and engineering. They have the IAS culture ingrained in their minds. Every household in these states have IAS officers. We need to develop that culture of getting into the Civil Services, army and IIT’s, he maintains.
For IAS wannabes he suggests that they should go to Delhi and join a coaching institute and study with dedication and single minded devotion to reach the goal. “There is no dearth of study material in Delhi and the city provides conducive atmosphere to prepare for IAS”, he advices.
Karthik has set an example for our youngsters to follow and show that nothing succeeds like success. To be in the top 150 rank from the total 3 lakh candidates who answered the exams, is certainly commendable.
Karthik has given first preference to serve in Karnataka and is confident of getting his preferred choice as there are enough vacancies in the state. By August end this year he will be leaving for his 27-month probation.
Karthik and his mother Sujatha Bhat share a special bonding and are the inspiration for each other’s success. It was at the insistence of Karthik Sujatha completed her M Com from Karnataka University recently. While Karthik was answering his final semester in engineering mother Sujatha was busy preparing for her 1st year M Com. And when Karthik was breaking his head preparing for IAS prelims Sujatha got studious for her final year exam. Mother-son gave the exams together and at times it was Karthik’s turn to remind his mother to be a bit serious about her exams. He even coached her on topics such as Public Administration which were common to both.
Karthik is ready to guide anyone who is interested in getting into IAS and other Class I officer posts. He can be contacted on mobile number 9449822552 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org