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Meet the UPSC toppers: Kanishak Kataria, Akshat Jain, Junaid Ahmed and Srushti Deshmukh

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Meet the UPSC toppers: Kanishak Kataria, Akshat Jain, Junaid Ahmed and Srushti Deshmukh

Kanishak Kataria – First Rank Holder:

Kanishak Kataria who topped the civil services final exam 2018 is from Rajasthan. He completed his BTech from IIT Bombay. Kanishak Kataria qualified the examination with mathematics as his optional subject.

He has a BTech in Computer Science and Engineering and has been working as a data scientist.

In an interview with ANI Kanishak Kataria said, “It’s a very surprising moment. I never expected to get the first rank. I thank my parents, sister and my girlfriend for the help and moral support. People will expect me to be a good administrator and that’s exactly my intention”.

Srushti Deshmukh- Topper among women and overall Fifth Rank Holder:

Srushti Deshmukh who belongs to Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh emerged as the topper among women candidates in the final result of UPSC civil services exam.

Srushti completed her Bachelor of engineering from Rajiv Gandhi Proudyogiki Vishwavidyalaya in Bhopal and then went to do her MPhil.

She cleared the UPSC Exam in her first attempt.

Talking with Hindustan Times Srushti said, “I kept away from social media. I used the internet only for studies. I didn’t attend any coaching. I prepared for the examinations from online test series and study materials. Right from childhood, I desired to become an administrative officer. I kept myself updated with the help of newspapers and magazines.”


Akshat Jain – The Second Rank Holder:

Akshat Jain hails from Jaipur, Rajasthan. He is an engineering graduate from IIT Guwahati. Akshat’s father, Mr. D. C. Jain is the Joint Director in the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and his mother Mrs. Simmi Jain is an Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officer. Her mother is ADG of National Academy of Customs, Indirect Taxes and Narcotics (NACIN) in Jaipur.

His parents are a huge motivation for Jain to choose a career in civil service. He wants to become an administrative officer to serve society.

Junaid Ahmed- The Third Rank Holder:

Junaid Ahmed belongs to Nagina Town of Bijnor District in Uttar Pradesh. Junaid was chosen for Indian Revenue Service (IRS) in 2016 and he is in an academy in Faridabad for his IRS training.

His father is a lawyer and his mother is a homemaker.

” I used to study five to six hours every day to prepare for the exam. I have classes tomorrow. So I will just celebrate with my fellow officers,” Ahmed said.

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MUSKAAN: An NGO which provides educational and financial support to underprivileged children

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MUSKAAN: An NGO which provides educational and financial support to underprivileged children

MUSKAAN is a youth-driven non-profit organization founded by Abhishek Dubey which works to ensure emotional, educational and financial support to underprivileged children. MUSKAAN was started in 2014 by Abhishek Dubey, which is currently operating in three cities of Madhya Pradesh viz. Gwalior, Bhopal, and Indore. Let us know about the founder and works of NGO MUSKAAN Founder of NGO MUSKAAN, Abhishek Dubey was born in a middle-class family. At the age of five, he was adopted by his uncle and aunt who did not have a Son. Although he was brought up in a loving and caring family and was provided with all material comforts, he missed the love and support. “Since I realized how important it is to find support and someone to talk to, I wanted to create a platform where the children could be comfortable to speak to us and share whatever they wanted to”. Abhishek would interact with the children living in the streets near his house. Abhishek started teaching and mentoring children on the weekends in the orphanages of Gwalior with 20 volunteers before he founded MUSKAAN Dream Creative Foundation. ” All the students were from the local government schools and wanted help in their school work. We started by taking classes five days a week and saw tremendous improvement and enthusiasm from the children to learn”. This inspired him to start an NGO which he named MUSKAAN. A year after he started the NGO his father, who is a government employee asked him to choose between the NGO and him. He wanted that his son should get a government job so that he has a stable income. But he knew that his father’s anger was temporary and he would eventually see the good work of his NGO. Also Read:

“At the age of 18, the orphaned children are asked to leave shelter homes and at this age, he is more vulnerable to fall into bad influence. At MUSKAAN the aim is to ease these children into the mainstream workforce into a gradual and comfortable manner”. In the last five years, Muskaan Dreams has reached to over 5,000 students in rural India. It is trying to solve the problem of insufficient teachers in rural government schools through e-learning classroom for students through the Internet. Muskaan Dreams has won seven youth-driven awards from different organizations, government, politicians, and institutions.

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Kalpana Saroj: From a child-bride to the Chairperson of Kamani Tubes

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Kalpana Saroj: From a child-bride to the Chairperson of Kamani Tubes

Kalpana Saroj is a female entrepreneur and a TEDx speaker. She is the Chairperson Kamani Tubes in Mumbai, India. Apart from Kamani Tubes she also heads Kamani Steels, K.S. Creations, Kalpana Builder and Developers, and Kalpana Associates. Let us know how she achieved this :

Kalpana was born in the year 1962 in Roperkheda, Maharashtra. Kalpana faced many difficulties as a child. She was a victim of child marriage. Kalpana was pushed into marriage after her class seven. After marriage, she came to Thane’s Ulhasnagar slum, where her husband’s family lived in a small room. After some months of her marriage, her in-laws started harassing her. She was prohibited to go out or maintain any contact with her family.

“Within six months, they started harassing me; my husband would beat me if there was less salt in the food”.

One day her father came to meet her but after seeing her wounds, he took her with him to home. But when she returned to the village people started taunting Kalpana and her family about her return. Even at school students bullied her.

Tired of the torture, Kalpana decided to take her own life. She gulped three bottles of rat poison. Fortunately, she was taken to the hospital by one of her relatives and was treated and returned to good health.

” I was just a kid, and the taunts were unbearable, I felt so bad for my mother because she faced the worst of it”, said Kalpana.

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Kalpana realized the worth of her life and convinced her parents to allow her to move to Mumbai.

In Mumbai, she stayed at her Uncle’s friend railway quarters and started working at a garment factory as a helper which earned her Rs. 60 per month. To earn more she started stitching clothes which added an income of Rs. 100.

Kalpana shifted her family in a small rented house in Kalyan East. However, in the same year, she lost her sister as they could not afford her medicines.

” My sister was looking at me for help, but I could not help her. That is when I decided to go after big money”, said Kalpana.

In 1975, Kalpana received Rs.50,000 loan under Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Scheme for backward classes. With this money, she started a clothes boutique in Kalyan. She also started a furniture business which was looked after by her father.

By 1998, Kalpana came into property business and became a land litigation expert.

In 1999, the workers of Kamani Tubes, a company manufacturing and supplying copper tubes, rods, and LED lights came to her to help them to restart the company which was shut for many years.

Kamani Tubes had suffered many losses and litigation over the years. The company had a loan of about 116 crores and 140 cases of litigation. She took over as Chairperson of Kamani Tubes in 2006. Kalpana sold one of her properties in Kalyan and in 2010 started the company. Within a year, the company made Rs. 3 Crore in profit.

At present Kamani Tubes is a profitable company, with a profit of Rs. 5 crores every year.

Recognizing her efforts and achievements, she was awarded the Padma Shri for trade and Industry in 2013 and was appointed to the Board of Directors of Bhartiya Mahila Bank by Government of India.

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Swami Mukundananda: Founder of JKYog

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Swami Mukundananda: Founder of JKYog

Swami Mukundananda is the founder of Jagadguru Kripaluji (JKYog), a spiritual and charitable non-profit organization in the United States. He is a teacher of yoga, meditation, and spirituality.

Let us know more about him

Swami Mukundananda was born on the 19th of December, 1960. As a child, he was slowly drifted to spirituality and in search of the real meaning of life. He used to spend long hours in meditation and contemplation. Swamiji stayed at various places across India as his father was a government servant. His interest in spirituality widened after his high school.

Swamiji would read Vedic scriptures, books of saints, etc. to search for the answers to the questions like ”Who am I” and ”What is the purpose of life”.

He graduated from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi with a degree in engineering and received a graduate degree from the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta. After finishing his MBA, he worked for 3 months in a corporate company and then at the age of 23, he renounced the world and became a Sannyasi.

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When asked about Sannyasa, Swamiji said ”Sannyasa basically means renunciation. Somebody who has renounced worldly duties, worldly pleasures, and worldly possessions and is dedicated completely to spirituality, that person is a Sannyasi. There are two kinds of Sannyasa: EKA-DANDI (one stick) and TRI-DANDI (three stick). In the path of Jnana, one takes EKA-DANDI Sannyasa, when one establishes oneself in Advaita (non-dual state). In Vaishnava tradition, one takes TRI-DANDI Sannyasa, where one takes a vow to use our mind, body, and speech in the service of God”.

Swamiji traveled for many years to find a true spiritual God. During these travels, he closely associated with many elevated saints of India, read the writings of the great Acharyas of the past and practiced intense devotion.

Under the guidance of Guru Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj, Mukundananda studied the Vedic scriptures, Indian and Western philosophy, and Bhakti Yog. His Guru exhorted Mukundananda to disseminate Vedic teachings around the globe. Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj asked him to teach a holistic system of yog to correct the anomaly in the Western world, where Yoga was being taught as a mere physical science.

Swamiji formulated Jagadguru Kripaluji Yog (JKYog), a system of yoga that incorporates elements of both Hatha Yoga and Bhakti Yoga and founded a non – profit organization of the same name to promote the practice throughout the United States and India.

JKYog is headquartered at the Radha Krishna Temple in Allen, Texas. Over the last 25 years, Swamiji has inspired many people through his teachings. His lecture lovers teachings of Vedas, Upanishads, Shreemad Bhagavatam, Puranas, Bhagavad Gita, Ramayan, Eastern Scriptures, and Western philosophies.

He lectures at Fortune 500 companies and major universities throughout the world.

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Darshan Lal Jain: An Indian social activist receives Padma Bhushan for his social works

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Darshan Lal Jain: An Indian social activist receives Padma Bhushan for his social works

Darshan Lal Jain, an Indian social activist was awarded Padma Bhushan, India’s third highest civilian award, in 2019 for his contribution in social work Founder of various school and colleges, Darshan Lal Jain is known for educating young girls and financially weak children.

Let us know more about him-

Darshan Lal Jain was born in an influential industrialist family of Yamunanagar district on 12 December 1927. He was always inclined towards social work and worked in various fields, especially educating the poor and girl.

As a child, he was very sharp minded and was filled with the spirit of patriotism. Being inspired by Mahatma Gandhi he actively participated in the Swadeshi Movement and Quit India Movement at the age of 15.

In 1943, he opposed his school’s headmaster’s appeal to support the British war efforts.

He was a founder member of Saraswati Vidhya Mandir, Jagadhri, established in 1954 and the founder secretary of DAV College for Girls, Yamunanagar, the first girl’s college in the region, in 1957.

Darshan Lal Jain was imprisoned during Emergency from 1975 to 1977, and he declined the offer of the central government for conditional release.

He had also led various organizations such as Bharat Vikas Parishad, Vivekanand Rock Memorial Society, Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram, Hindu Shiksha Samiti, which is running about 100 schools in Haryana in rural and remote areas, and Geeta Niketan Residential School, Kurukshetra, in different capacities.

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In 1997, he founded Nand Lal Geeta Vidhya Mandir at Tepla village in Ambala. The school imparts free education and boarding facility to poor but intelligent children hailing from Haryana, Northeast and Jammu and Kashmir.

In 1999, he established the Sarasvati Nadi Shodh Sansthan and started Sarasvati Revival Project. He also formed the Yodha Samarak Samiti in 2007 to commemorate the forgotten heroes of the nation.

Jain was never interested in joining politics. He declined an offer of a MIC seat by the Jan Sangh in 1954. Later the NDA government headed by the then PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee offered him governorship but he again declined. He remained the RSS president of Haryana for about 40 years till 2007.

”I am making efforts to serve the nation and my efforts in this direction will continue till my last breath” said Jain.

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Grandmother of the Jungle: Lakshmikutty, a tribal woman of Kerela gets Padma Shri

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Grandmother of the Jungle: Lakshmikutty, a tribal woman of Kerela gets Padma Shri

Lakshmikutty is a tribal woman from Kollar forest area at Thiruvananthapuram in Kerela. She received the country’s fourth highest honors Padma Shri Award for her breakthrough in practicing traditional medicine.

Let us know more about her :

Lakshmikutty, a 76-year old tribal woman who received Padma Shri Award in 2018 belongs to a tribal settlement, deep in the forest of Kollar in Thiruvananthapuram district.

She is a poet, a poison healer, and a teacher at Kerela Folklore Academy. Lakshmikutty offers herbal treatment for poisoning she said that she had acquired the knowledge of herbal treatment from her mother, who worked as a midwife.

”I can prepare about 500 medicinal treatment from memory. Till now I have not forgotten them. But people come here for poison treatment mainly snake or insect bites” she said.

In 1995, Lakshmikutty received the ”Naattu Vaidya Rathna” award (award for naturopathy) from the Kerela government.

”Till then people used to come here after hearing me from those I have already cured. Before 1995 people visited me from far off places but the number increased after I won the award”, she said.

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Lakshmikutty, as a kid became the only tribal girl from her area to attend school. Every day she walked 10 kilometers with two other boys to get to school. She studied till class 8 as her school did not have higher education. At the age of 16, she married her cousin Mathan Kaani, with whom she had a deep friendship.

”He was with me in all my decisions and achievements. He used to tell me that I can achieve my goals even without him because I was a strong woman. He was the perfect partner from the day I got married at the age of 16 until he died”, she said.

Lakshmikutty and her husband provided their children with a good education so they will not face the same challenges as she underwent. Hard luck struck her family where her eldest son was killed by a wild elephant.

Her younger son also died in an accident. Her other son is working in Railways. However, Lakshmikutty Amma has been awarded so many honors lives in difficult circumstances. It is difficult for the patients to come to Amma as there is no road to her home.

Amma’s dream is to convert her hut, where she lives into a hospital so that people who require long term treatment can stay there.

People fondly refer to her as ‘Vanamuthassi’ (Grandmother of the Jungle in Malayalam) and she gives lectures on natural medicines at various institutions across the southern states.

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PC Mustafa: From an IT professional to a successful Entrepreneur

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PC Mustafa: From an IT professional to a successful Entrepreneur

PC Mustafa, son of a daily wager is now head of a 100-crore company. His company, ID Fresh-packaged idli and dosa batter which is sold in all major cities of India.

Let us know more about him-

Mustafa is from a remote village in the Wayanad district of Kerela. His father was a coolie on a coffee plantation. His village did not have roads and electricity. There was only one primary school in his village. Mustafa is the eldest of his three younger sisters. Mustafa used to help his father in his job after school and on school holidays. His father wanted him to quit his school after he failed in class 6th but his Maths teacher forced his father to give him one more chance to repeat class 6.

With the help and guidance of his Maths teacher, Mustafa came first in class seventh and went on to excel in his studies. Mustafa secured 63rd rank in the state in the engineering entrance exam and got admitted to Regional Engineering College in Computer Science.

Mustafa got placed in a startup in Bengaluru after completing an engineering degree. Later he got a job at Motorola and was sent to Ireland by the company for a year and a half.

Then Mustafa worked at Citibank, Dubai where his salary crossed Rs. 1 lakh per month. He returned to India after seven years and decided to do an MBA and enrolled for an MBA at IIM Banglore.

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”Though I had a good GATE score, I couldn’t continue higher studies after my engineering due to financial constraints”, Mustafa said in an interview.

Mustafa invested Rs. 25000 to start the idli, dosa batter business which was suggested by his cousin Shamsudeen. They started supplying the batter to 20 stores in Bengaluru under the brand name ‘ID’.

After making more profit they pumped more capital in their little venture.  

“I would sit in the shop on weekends and holidays. After IIM, I could have got a job anywhere, but I decided to be on my own,” says Mustafa.

They also moved to a bigger space and in two years their daily output increased to 3,500 kg of batter.

 “When we started, the market for ready-made batter was 300kg per day. Today, it is 40,000 kg per day in Bengaluru alone,” Mustafa told Livemint.

After completing MBA Mustafa joined as CEO of marketing and finance of ID Fresh.

As the demand for their product increased they invested more in their company and also set up a new company in other cities and one in Dubai.

Mustafa’s company achieved a turnover of Rs.100 crore in 2015-16 and are aiming to increase in next years.

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Mariyappan Thangavelu: India’s Paralympics Hero

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Mariyappan Thangavelu: India’s Paralympics Hero

Mariyappan Thangavelu is an Indian Paralympic high jumper. He scripted history by bagging the gold medal in the men’s T42 high jump on the second day of 2016 Summer Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Let us know about his life story –

Mariyappan Thangavelu was born on 28 June 1995 in Periavadagampatti, in Salem district of Tamil Nadu. He has four brothers and a sister. His father abandoned the family during Mariyappan childhood. His mother, Saroja raised her children as a single mother. She worked as a laborer and later started selling vegetables on a cycle to earn bread for her family.

At the age of five, Mariyappan suffered permanent disability in his right leg when he was run over by a drunk bus driver while going to the school. The bus crushed his leg below the knee causing it to become stunted.

His mother took a loan of 3 lakh rupees for the treatment but unfortunately, he was left with permanent disability.

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Despite this setback, he continued his studies and completed his secondary schooling. He didn’t saw himself anyhow different from able-bodied kids.

Mariyappan wanted to become a volleyball player as a student, but his physical education instructor encouraged him to try him jumping. At the age of 14, he played in a competitive event in which he was placed second among a field of able-bodied competitors. This victory encouraged him to win many medals at school and college levels.

In 2013, during Para-Athletics Championship Mariyappan was spotted by coach Satyanarayana, who took him to Bengaluru for further training. Mariyappan honed his skills at the Sports Academy of India center for differently abled in Bengaluru. Within just a year and half of training at Bengaluru, he became World No. 1 in 2015.

In 2016 he cleared a distance of 5 ft 10 inch in the Men’s high jump T-42 event at the IPCGrand Pix in Tunisia, qualifying him for the Rio Paralympics.

In 2016, Summer Paralympics he became India’s first Paralympic Athlete to win the gold medal in Men’s high jump T-42 event with a leap of 6 ft 2 inch.

He received ”Padma Shri” and ”Arjuna Award” in 2017 for his contribution towards sports. 

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Subhasini Mistry: The Padma Shri awardee who built a charitable hospital

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Subhasini Mistry: The Padma Shri awardee who built a charitable hospital

Subhasini Mistry is an Indian social worker who raised her four children by herself after losing her husband at the age of 24. She went on to build a charitable hospital called ”Humanity Hospital” for the poor. She was awarded India’s fourth highest civilian award the ”Padma Shri” in 2018.

Let us know about her –

Subhasini was born in a poor family and was married at the age of 12. Her husband died after 12 years of their marriage learning her to take care of four children. To earn a living she started working as a domestic helper in five houses. Subhasini earned nearly Rs 100 a month. Unable to look after her four children, she sent the elder son, Ajay to an orphanage.

“I had no education and couldn’t even tell the time. So I decided I would do whatever work that was available. I started out as an aayah (domestic help) in the nearby houses.” , Subhasini Mistry told NDTV.

Subhasini with her three children moved to Dhapa where she started selling vegetables. Early she decided to educate one of her sons to be a doctor and to build a hospital for the poor.

She started earning about Rs 500 a month by selling vegetables. She opened a savings account in a post office and started depositing little money whenever she could.

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Determined to build a hospital and to make her son a doctor Subhasini saved for 20 years. In 1992, she bought one acre of land in Hanspukur village for Rs. 10,000. She told the villagers about her plan to construct a hospital for the poor and also asked them to contribute. The villagers contributed as much as they could.

In 1993, Humanity hospital treated 250 people with doctors who didn’t take money. Ajay got admitted into the prestigious Kolkata Medical College. He became a doctor and joined his mother as a doctor and expanded the hospital. They also set up another unit in Pathar Pratima, Sunderbans.

”My work is not done. Both hospitals need to grow with more staffs on board. I hope to convert it into a 24-hour facility some day. I hope that government helps one too”, as Subhasini told TOI.

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