me realise the futility of my dreams. I then decided to become a civil servant.”
His story: Delhi is the “Mecca of all civil service aspirants”, he says, when asked about his move to the Capital a few months ago. With an English-medium background, Gowda is an unlikely protester. “I am not here for myself,” he says. “The CSAT paper is child’s play for anyone who has an engineering degree. But there are many people who are more knowledgeable than many of us but can’t make the cut because they don’t belong to a certain background. My friend is a university topper in Kannada literature but because he does not know English, he has not been able to qualify in the examination.”
RUBY KHAN, 29
Detained by the police at India Gate when trying to take out a candlelight march with others
From: Campirganj village, Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh. She now stays alone in a room in Dhaka village in Mukherjee Nagar, paying Rs 6,500 a month.
Family: Khan’s parents run a small shop in their village. She is their only child.
Education: Masters in political science from Gorakhpur University.
Medium of Education: Hindi
Coaching: Paid Rs 35,000 for a year-long course in general studies at Dhyeya IAS Coaching Services. Also paid Rs 44,000 for a course in Hindi and political science at the same institute.
Earlier UPSC attempts: Twice — in 2012 and 2013 — but could not qualify for the Mains.
Why UPSC? “We rarely had electricity at home when we were growing up. We used to study by the light of a lantern. The village does not have proper roads. I want to change this situation,” she says.
Her Story: When she told her family about her decision to go to Delhi to study, her father had to sell their house to arrange the money and the family moved in with their relatives. Besides studying, Khan now takes up sewing assignments. “I make about Rs 500 whenever I stitch something and manage to send some money home,” she says.
SATISH KUMAR, 29
Detained near India Gate while trying to hold a candlelight march
From: Gaya, Bihar. Now lives in a one-room accommodation in Gandhi Vihar, paying a monthly rent of Rs 5,000.
Family: His father, a member of the village panchayat, is the sole earning member in the family of five.
Education: Postgraduate in philosophy from Kurukshetra University and in geography from Nalanda Open University. He also has a B.Ed degree from Delhi University.
Medium of education: Hindi
Coaching: Paid Rs 60,000 for courses in philosophy and geography at Patanjali coaching centre in Mukherjee Nagar.
Earlier UPSC attempts: Three. He could not go beyond the Prelims.
Why UPSC? “When I was 8 years old, I accompanied my father to a mahapanchayat. There, a tough-looking man was scolding the panchayat heads. I asked my father who the man was. He told me he was the Collector. I told my dad that I wanted to be a Collector when I grew up,” says Kumar.
His story: Fifteen years after the mahapanchayat incident, Kumar reached Delhi. Since 2008, he has taken the …continued »