From Dowry Victim to UPSC Topper: The story of Komal Ganatra

Komal Pravinbhai Ganatra’s dream came true when she learned that she had secured 591st rank in the UPSC exam 2013. She joined the Indian Revenue Service and has been working as an IRS officer since then. However, her story is not an ordinary one. Once thrown out of her in-laws house for not fulfilling their dowry demands, now an IRS officer, her journey to success is as inspirational as it could get.

Komal Ganatra

Abandoned after 15 days of marriage

Komal Ganatra was married at the age of 26, to a New Zealand based businessman in 2008. However, within a fortnight the marriage broke as Komal’s parents could not meet the dowry demands of her in-laws. Her husband abandoned her and flew away to New Zealand. She reached out for help from the police but they didn’t take any action. She then went to her parents’ house in Savarkundla, Gujarat. Even there she had to face many problems and the taunts from relatives and neighbors. To save her family from humiliation, she decided to leave her parents’ hometown and moved to a remote village of Bhavnagar district, 40 kilometers from her hometown. She took a job at a primary school with a salary of merely Rs. 5000 per month.

“I wrote to every department but no one responded and then I decided to get into the government and try to bring a change in my own small way,” says Komal.

No help from the government and the taunts from people around ignited a fire within her to get into the system and get justice for herself. She started preparing for UPSC while teaching at the primary school. It was a tough time for her as the village lacked facilities, the irregular power supply, unavailability of an English newspaper and no proper guidance. However, she did go to the Sardar Patel Institute of Public Administration (SPIPA).

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Success knocks on the door after 4th attempt

Finally in 2012, Komal cleared UPSC in her 4th attempt. The hard work, persistence and determination paid off when Komal became one of 11 candidates who cleared civil services exam conducted by the UPSC from Gujarat. She made it to the civil services in her last attempt at the age of 30.

“God has answered my prayers. I did not have any inkling about civil services exams. But, I wanted to get into the system to improve the system,” says Komal

Komal with her family
Komal Ganatra with family

Komal gave the credit of her success to her father and brothers, who supported her during her 5 years long journey of cracking UPSC. She did her diploma in engineering from Rajkot Government Polytechnic. She also acquired a BA degree from Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Open University.

 “My parents and brothers encouraged me a lot and made sure that I do not quit. I already had failed three times,” says Komal

Daughter of a retired primary school teacher at Savarkundla in Amreli district, Komal is now determined to fight a legal battle with her NRI husband, Shailesh Popat, who is now settled in New Zealand. She could not seek justice earlier because of the weak financial condition of her family. But now she says,”I will definitely initiate legal action against my husband and in-laws now for what they did with me just because I came from a poor family and could not meet their financial demands,”.

Komal has been an inspiration to the women out there. She was not let down by the hardships in her life, in fact, she got into the system to change it, and get justice for herself as well as hundreds of other people. Komal wants to work for the welfare of people especially women and children. She is a huge inspiration for the youth of the nation with her never say quit spirit.