Cassian Baliarsingh

He lost his father when he was in the first year of his college. Before he could come out of the trauma of his father’s untimely demise, his mother who was his support system was diagnosed with cancer.

This left him devastated. Instead of falling apart, he decided to overcome his adversities and become an IAS officer for his mother. Today, he has made Odisha proud with his achievements by securing AIR-2 in UPSC CSE 2023.

Unfortunately, his mother passed away during his interview preparation and is not there with him to celebrate his success.

The inspiring journey of Animesh Pradhan, a 24-year-old lad from Odisha’s Talcher, is an inspiration for all. With his achievement, Animesh has broken a 20-year-old curse on Odisha. It's almost 20 years since someone secured a top rank in the prestigious UPSC exam. Earlier, Roopa Mishra from Odisha was the topper (AIR-1) in 2003.

“I used to inform my mother first after each result. But, she is not with me now. She was the first person I wanted to share my happiness with. But, she left me too early,” said Animesh while trying to control his tears.

Recalling his tough days, Animesh said, “My preparation for civil services was quite challenging as my mother was going through cancer treatment. Her cancer news left me devastated as I had very little time to spend with her. All I wanted was to clear UPSC before she left me as she was my biggest support system.”

As destiny would have it, Animesh’s mother passed away just a month before the announcement of UPSC results. However, her blessing has helped her son do the unimaginable- clearing the UPSC civil services exam without any coaching.

Apart from his preparation, Animesh, a B.Tech (Computer Science) graduate from NIT Rourkela, also worked at Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL). However, he made sure that he took out 5-6 hours of his daily schedule for his UPSC preparation. His hard work finally paid off and he secured AIR-2.

Animesh expressed his gratitude to everyone who stood by him throughout his journey and said, “I’m overwhelmed, full of gratitude at the moment. This two years journey wasn’t a cakewalk for me. Things were not going well at home. Despite all that, I’m happy that I have made it with the blessings of my parents, my support system my sister, friends and my entire village.”

On Animesh's achievement, IOCL Chariman took to 'X' and wrote, "Thrilled to celebrate the stellar achievement of our very own Animesh Pradhan. Hearty congrats to this extraordinary IOCian who secured the 2nd rank in the Civil Services exam in the 1st attempt, rising above challenges. For me it’s double the joy as we also share the bond of being alumni of NIT Rourkela. Best wishes to Animesh in realising his dream to serve the nation and transform lives."