This UPSC Topper Did Not Even Have Money To Travel To Delhi For The Felicitation Ceremony

No amount of challenge or hardship can pull you down if you vow to never kneel down in front of setbacks. This brilliant 30-year-old from a remote village of Andhra Pradesh has overcome a mountain of struggles to become one of the toppers in UPSC, country’s one of the most prestigious examinations.

Here’s UPSC all India third rank holder Gopala Krishna Ronanki who has topped the charts after serving as a primary school teacher for 11 years. He belongs to a family from Parasamba village of Palasa block in Srikakulam district where his parents worked as agricultural labors. Although he dreamed of becoming a collector someday, he had to take up a job as soon as he was eligible to support his family financially.

Although Gopala’s mother is an illiterate, she always wanted her son to study in a good school but could only manage to send him in a government school. It was an everyday affair that Gopala would come back to a dark home as they did not have any electricity. Even when he grew up, there was no money to send him to college so he did his graduation through distance learning.

All his education has been in Telugu. As the graduation approached its close, he did a two-month teacher training course and was then selected for the post of a government teacher in 2006.

To take up that job was more important for him then than to pursue his dreams. But he couldn’t let go of his ambition so decided to quit and move to Hyderabad, where he thought he would get the right coaching and mentoring. However, the city slapped him in the face as every coaching one after another shut its door on him. They told him he came from a remote area, did not speak English or Hindi, and was unfit to be trained. This left him with no choice other than depending on self-study.

When Gopala was called to Delhi for the felicitation ceremony of UPSC toppers, he didn’t even have the money to travel. He had to borrow money from his neighbor. 

Gopala never attended any classroom coaching and depended solely on his strengths for the preparation. Lack of guidance couldn’t get him through UPSC for the first three times. But he nurtured a determination made of steel. All this while, his parents had no idea about his ambitions. They thought he was just a teacher and had settled for a quiet life.

He chose Telugu literature as his optional in the civils (mains). Interestingly, he was also allowed by UPSC to appear for the personality test in Telugu. “With the help of the Telugu interpreter, I could face the interview boldly,” he said.

“We didn’t even have electricity at home till I completed my Intermediate. All that my parents knew was that I was a teacher. I broke the news today to them that I had been selected to the IAS and would soon become a collector,” he said.

Gopala had a tough life than most of you reading this but his hardship only drove him to try harder. After preparing for a decade he is now in a position to change millions of life with his one signature.

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