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MOTIVATION & TOPPER’S STRATEGY: Santosha H – Son of daily wage labourers, and suffering from Hearing Impairment, clears UPSC CSE in his Second Attempt with Rank 753 through Self Study (Insights Offline Student)


Santosha H

Son of daily wage labourers, and suffering from Hearing Impairment, clears UPSC CSE in his Second Attempt with Rank 753 through Self Study

(Insights Offline Student)


santosha h rank 753, upsc tooper 2018

Hello friends, I am Santhosha H. I have secured AIR 753 in UPSC Civil servicesexamination in my second attempt.

I was born and brought up in a village which is devoid of all basic infrastructure. To catch any transport means, or to commute we had to walk to minimum of 5 kms distance. That isolated is my village.

My parents are agricultural labourers who work for daily wages. I completed my primary education in government primary school in the same village.

 Budding of becoming officer

After completion of primary education I headed to another village for secondary education. Due to aforementioned commuting issues, I had to live in a backward class and minority hostel – where there was no proper food and drinking water facilities. Though government gave generous grants, the hostel did not care to provide decent food, drinking water and hygienic conditions.  Aware of corruption, I spoke to my primary school teacher about this and he advised me to complain to Lokayuktha (then Lokayuktha Justice Venkatachalam).  I come across Lokayukta address which was written on government offices/hospital walls. I complained but didn’t receive no response for months. However at the end of academic year district administration officials visited my hostel  and I again complained. Fortunately by then time Lokayuktha officials also visited and problems were solved to some extent. This activism and experience where I could see powers of government machinery to address public issues attracted me to become a government servant.

            Another incident was drinking water problem in the village where I was staying in the hostel.  In that village potable water was available in certain area only.  Local political representatives and MLA staged a hunger protest for sanctioning of land to build water tank. The then District collector Mr Harsha Gupta came and sanctioned the same instantaneously – this again enabled me to understand power of district collector. With these incidents my dream of becoming an IAS officer emerged and took concrete shape.

I lost my hearing ability at the age of 10.  Due to this impairment my interactions with people got reduced. I started reading more, especially newspapers and novels at Public libraries. I must thank Pavithra Printing Press (Thanks to courtesy of its proprietor, who provided me daily 2 newspapers and a tabloid free of cost with adequate place to read) This enabled me to understand the society and build my own personality.


            With these incidents and ambition I wanted to peruse humanities after my class 10 but due to societal norms my parents refused and I had to join Diploma in Mechanical engineering. I completed it for the sake of completing. After completing diploma, I worked with my brother in law in Civil Engineering field to earn livelihood. While working here, I prepared for banking exams and got selected for clerical post at State bank of Mysore.  This helped me to become financially independent. Then I started pursuing my graduation in humanities through distance education and I also started supporting my family. Due to financial constraints, I again switched my job to DRDO and came to Bengaluru. With all these experiences and struggles I kind of became architect of my own life.

Coming across Insights Institute:

While I was searching in internet about guidance, I came across DK Balaji Sir’s (AIR-36 CSE-2014) article in which he explains about the kind of guidance which was available at Insights.  From  that moment I started following InsightsIAS and its initiatives.


Followed insights prelims test series rigorously in 2017 and 2018 which and followed daily initiatives such as current affairs, quiz, editorial and solved vision IAS test series 2 months before prelims. Multiple revisions helped here and I also read Insights exclusive modules which made revision easy. Insights test series and its multiple revision helped me clear 2018 Prelims which was tough. 


After prelims I was searching for good strategy for mains. I came across Shri Mudit Jain’s,IRS(IT) strategy who cleared 4 mains consistently. According to him 4 to 5 revisions and answer writing practice are must to write effective answers. When I was searching for test series Insights test series had 3 rounds revisions and 15 days gap before actual Mains. This helped me to do one more revision. I wrote all Mains tests at Insights. Their on time evaluation helped me know my mistakes and their support in terms of feedback was very helpful.


InsightsIAS started group discussion in the month of November with probable topics list for discussion.  This helped me to get diverse opinion. I frequently interacted with Vinay sir, he instructed to give the answers from personnel experience, which will help me connect with the panel. I gave one on one mocks with Vinay Sir which helped me immensely in gaining confidence. I also attended some more mock interviews at other institutes.

Looking back, I believe we should be architects of our own destiny. With belief and perseverance, anyone can achieve their dreams. When our intentions and actions are good, help will easily come to us in many forms. I thank everyone who helped me reach till here.

Thank you.