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Resilience and Resolve: The UPSC Journey of IAS Prahlad Narayan Sharma

April 2, 2024

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4 Minutes

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“सफ़र में धूप तो होगी जो चल सको तो चलो सभी हैं भीड़ में तुम भी निकल सको तो चलो किसी के वास्ते राहें कहां बदलती हैं
तुम अपने आप को ख़ुद ही बदल सको तो चलो
यहां किसी को कोई रास्ता नहीं देता
मुझे गिरा के अगर तुम संभल सको तो चलो
कहीं नहीं कोई सूरज धुआं धुआं है फ़ज़ा
 ख़ुद अपने आप से बाहर निकल सको तो चलो”

These lines by Nida Fazli had a major impact on the life of IAS Prahlad Narayan Sharma, who secured AIR 104 in UPSC Civil Services Examination 2021. This poem beautifully encapsulates the challenges and determination required in the journey of UPSC exam preparation. Prahlad goes on to say that the journey will have its sunny days; if you can walk through them, then proceed. In the heart of Rajasthan’s Jaipur district, a young boy named Prahlad Narayan Sharma embarked on a journey that would lead him to remarkable success. Born into a farmer’s family with limited resources, his early life was filled with challenges. Despite these hardships, his determination and passion for learning never waned. 

Overcoming Obstacles

Prahlad’s academic journey began in a private school in Dausa, where he faced difficulties in communication due to his lack of proficiency in English. However, with the support of his friends and his own relentless efforts, he improved drastically. His father was a farmer and they were 5 siblings which made it difficult. They did not have enough resources to educate all the five children. Financial constraints forced him to transfer to a government school in 10th grade, where he faced further challenges, including inadequate teaching and overcrowded classrooms. Yet, he emerged as the only student in his village to pass the board exams with first division.

The UPSC Dream

A lot of his cousins prepared for SSC exams, or the position of constables, inspectors, etc. They all studied a magazine Pratiyogita Darpan and Prahlad studied the interviews of IAS and IPS officers. Inspired by the stories of IAS and IPS officers, Prahlad set his sights on the prestigious UPSC exam. Despite initial setbacks in medical preparation and failing to secure a position as a scientist, he remained undeterred. In 2018, he began his UPSC journey, facing challenges such as adapting to a new strategy and overcoming the tough CSAT paper.

Persistence Pays Off

Prahlad’s perseverance was tested time and again as he failed to qualify in his first two attempts. He sought a conducive study environment and even started a YouTube channel to teach UPSC subjects, which helped him stay motivated. His meticulous analysis of the previous year’s question papers and data-driven approach to answering questions eventually led to his success in the 2021 attempt, where he excelled in the GS papers and CSAT.

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Strategy for Success

Prahlad’s preparation strategy involved making short notes for revision, preparing materials for mains answers, and focusing on data-driven answers. He structured his answers with a clear introduction, main body, and conclusion, ensuring that he presented well-rounded arguments with relevant facts and figures.

Triumph in the Interview

For the interview round, Prahlad meticulously prepared by reading extensively about his field of study, agriculture, and current affairs. He filled the DAF carefully and read about each point properly. For example, he has done his undergraduate and postgraduation in Agriculture. He read about the problems that India faced in the agriculture sector, the recent discoveries, the impact of agriculture on the Russia and Ukraine war as that was going on, the impact of agriculture in the Indian economy, how India can be an export country in agriculture, etc. His efforts paid off as he secured 171 marks in the interview, culminating in an All India Rank of 104 in UPSC 2021.

A Message to Aspirants

Prahlad’s journey from a small village in Rajasthan to achieving his dream of becoming a civil servant is a testament to his resilience and dedication. He advises aspiring UPSC candidates to stay focused on their goals and ignore any negativity or discouragement they may encounter along the way. He says that the course of UPSC is designed in such a way that only a person who can handle the pressure can qualify it. His story encourages aspiring civil servants to embrace challenges, stay committed to their goals, and never lose sight of their dreams, no matter how distant they may seem.

Prahlad Narayan Sharma’s story is not just about passing an exam; it is about overcoming adversity, staying true to one’s dreams, and proving that with hard work and determination, anything is possible. 


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Table of Content

Overcoming Obstacles

The UPSC Dream

Persistence Pays Off

Strategy for Success

Triumph in the Interview

A Message to Aspirants

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