Paanwaalah’s son makes it to civil service

May 8th, 2009 - 12:51 pm ICT by IANS  

By Asit Srivastava

Lucknow, May 8 (IANS) Selling betel leaves (paan) from a makeshift shop just outside the gate of the Jaunpur district magistrate’s office in Uttar Pradesh, he cherished a dream to see his son join the Indian Administrative Service (IAS). With the dream turning into reality, 60-year-old Chandan Guru is a proud father today.

Guru’s 24-year-old son Pradeep Shukla has cleared the civil services examination in his first attempt. All set to join the elite service, he shared the challenges and difficulties his father had faced to make him prepare for one of the toughest examinations in the country.

“It’s all because of my father…I know the pains he took for to see me as an IAS officer,” Shukla, who secured the 427th rank in the civil services examinations, told IANS over phone. Choosing political science and history as his subjects, he cleared the exam without joining any coaching classes.

Despite his poor financial condition, Guru did not once ask his son to look for some job or part-time work to supplement the family income.

“I know to supplement the paltry income generated from the betel shop, my father also worked as a labourer and performed other menial work so that I could continue my studies to fulfil his dream,” Shukla said.

“I remember how my father used to cut his expenses for my studies. One of them was not buying clothes for himself and my mother on festivals. Even in chilly winters, he used to go out for work wearing his old, torn pullover,” said Shukla, who studied in his native Nathupur village in Jaunpur district, some 210 km from Lucknow.

Being the sole breadwinner in the family of seven, Guru always faced problems in catering to the requirements of his family, comprising his wife, three sons and a daughter.

As a result, Shukla’s siblings - an elder sister, two elder brothers and a younger brother - were not as fortunate as him and had to drop out of their studies after class 12.

“For me, it has been a tough task to look after my family. With meagre earnings of Rs.3,500-4,000, only god knows how I have managed it. It was due financial constraints only that Pradeep’s siblings could not pursue their studies,” Guru said.

“As Pradeep was quite good in his studies compared to his siblings, I personally wanted him to continue his studies. Even Pradeep’s siblings wanted that,” he added.

After schooling, Shukla went to Allahabad University, from where he did his graduation and postgraduation.

As savings made by Guru were not enough to meet the requirements of Shukla’s higher studies, he sold the jewellery of his wife and other belongings to meet the expenses.

“All this was necessary, as there was no other option for making my son eligible for the civil services exam,” said Guru, who now wants his son to help educate the poor children in his village.

“I want after that becoming an IAS (officer), my son should show interest in social service by educating and helping village children coming from poor families,” he said.

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