Forced to change his name to a Hindu surname in order to get accommodation and food in the city without facing any discrimination, Shaikh said he will proudly say ‘I am Shaikh, not Shubham, can tell everyone now’.
Ansar Shaikh, one among the 34 Muslims out of the total 1,078 candidates recommended by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) based on the 2015 Civil Service Examination for different government posts, is son of an auto-rickshaw driver.
Fighting all odds, 21-year-old Ansar Ahamad Shaikh, the son of an auto rickshaw driver from Jalna’s,Shedgaon village,Maharashtra, has managed to crack the tough UPSC exam in his first attempt, securing an All-India Rank 361. The Bachelor of Arts, political science graduated from Pune’s Fergusson College said he came to the city to pursue his degree in Arts and focus on his UPSC preparations.
Forced to change his name to a Hindu surname in order to get accommodation and food in the city without facing any discrimination, Shaikh said he will proudly say his real name now. “I remember when I went to look for a PG accommodation, my friends who were Hindus got rooms but I was refused. So the next time, I said that my name was Shubham, which was actually my friend’s name. Now I don’t have to hide my real name,” said Shaikh.
His father has three wives, his mom is the second. In his family, education wasn’t so important.His younger brother dropped out of school and his two sisters were married off at an early age and didn’t study much.
Even more intriguing is that his mother works in fields and the family lives in a rented home ,the house didn’t even had a lamp,Ansar used to remain without food for 2-3 days as his financial condition was very poor.
“Inspired by his teacher who was MPSC, Ansar set his goal to become IAS officer when he was in 10th”, said his younger brother, who had left school in VIIth and started working in a grossery shop to support Ansar’s expenses.
Ansar studied at Pune’s Unique Academy.Asked about his preparations, Shaikh said there is no shortcut to success. A topper all throughout school and college except at 10th standard where his scores dipped a bit, he said he prepared for 10-12 hours at a stretch for 3 years without a break. “I think I would tell students to question themselves, Why do they want to be in the system? Once they have answered this question, the path will get clear,” he said.
Having faced religious discrimination, all his life, Shaikh said that promoting Hindu-Muslim unity and bridging disparity is one area that he would like to work on. Meanwhile at Unique Academy where Shaikh studied, celebrations were on in full swing as 45 candidates emerged victorious. Shaikh’s teacher, Rahul Tukaram Pandve (30) also cracked the UPSC, securing All India Rank 200.
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