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When Everyone Laughed At Her Poor English, She Worked Harder & Topped IAS, IES

When she was born, only two people in the world celebrated her arrival — her parents. Today, the entire village chants, ‘Gaon ki beti kaisi ho, Surabhi Gautam jaisi ho.’ A genius by birth, Surabhi Gautam has excelled in all the top examinations in the country. From IES, BARC, GATE, ISRO, SAIL, MPPSC, Delhi Police and FCI to UPSC,  she has cracked all these exams in the first attempt.

When students go to various coachings to pass these exams, this child prodigy from a Hindi-medium school studied for every exam by herself.

Hailing from Amdara village in Satna district of Madhya Pradesh, Surabhi was born into an orthodox Brahmin family. Her father is a lawyer at the civil court in Maihar and mother is a teacher in Amdara’s higher secondary school. She completed her schooling from a Hindi medium school in her village, where getting even basic amenities for education was a dream. She never got school books on time and had to study under the lantern at times. She did not have anyone to guide her properly. Despite all the hindrances, Surabhi never lost her focus and kept working hard.

Surabhi recalls an incident when she scored 100 out of 100 in math in STD 5 and got appreciation from her teacher who said, “Your future will be very bright if you work hard like this.” It was then she realized that the only way to get recognition and a good life is through education. She did not leave any stone unturned after that and scored 93.4 percent in the STD 10 board. That was when Surabhi decided to become an IAS officer. 

After completing her schooling, she appeared for the Engineering Entrance Exam and scored excellent marks, becoming eligible to take admission in any government college. She decided to study electronics and communication engineering, from Bhopal. She and her parents were very happy with her achievement as she was the first girl in her village to go out for studies, but they did not know that the real struggle was about to begin.

Coming from Hindi medium background, Surabhi faced many challenges, as she was unable to frame even a sentence in English. She was mocked by her teachers on the very first day of college. Feeling heartbroken and lost, Surabhi almost decided to pack her bags and go back to the village. But her mother motivated her and made her realize that if she comes back, all the doors will be closed for the other girls in the village who aspired to be like her. 

That was when Surabhi took a challenge to learn fluent English by the end of her first semester. She worked hard to learn the language by making small notes of english words. She would stick them on the walls of her room and memorize them.

There came a time when the walls were flooded with notes. By the end of the first semester, Surabhi was writing all her answers in English. She topped the university in that semester and received a gold medal for her performance. From that point, there was no turning back for her.

After college, Surabhi joined the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) as a nuclear scientist for a year. She achieved the All-India first rank in the IES exam held in 2013 and All-India 50th rank in the IAS exam held in 2016.

Since childhood, Surabhi was deprived of many basic amenities which every child should get. However, she feels that it was the lack of basic amenities that made her so ambitious. Surabhi’s parents are her biggest inspiration, as they have always stood by her side. She believes in one thing- “There is no substitute of hard work and there is no shortcut to success.”

Today, entire Amdara village is proud of their daughter and every child aspires to become like her. Surabhi’s journey is an inspirational one. Her spirit makes us believe that everything can be achieved if you have the right motivation and determination to work for it.

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