Sandeep Kumar did his BA through correspondence course, studied for the test without coaching.

In a transit camp for slum dwellers displaced from the Kathputli colony in west Delhi, youngsters are discussing everything from studies to national politics. One among them in the small room is Sandeep Kumar, who cleared the civil services examination this year.
The 28-year-old son of a Dalit autorickshaw driver lives in a 10 x 12-feet makeshift cabin at Anand Parbat, along with his mother and younger brother. It is in this camp that he transformed his dream into reality, without coaching or help from anyone. He won the 780th rank. For the past two years, he had been putting in 10 to 12 hours of hard work every day in a small room next to the cabin to do what seemed impossible then.
The odds were always heavy against him. Mr. Kumar, who graduated in Political Science through a correspondence course in the Hindi medium, left his accountancy job in 2014 after his father passed away. He wanted to prepare for “something better” in life. His younger brother Surendra Wankhade, who works in a private company, has been the breadwinner since then.
Another attempt

“It was my father’s dream that I become an IAS officer and this achievement is like fulfilling his dream. However, I am not completely there. With this rank, I will be able to get either IPS or IRS. I want to make another attempt next year to improve my rank,” Mr. Kumar said. His neighbours, mostly migrant labourers, see a ray of hope for their children after Mr. Kumar’s success.
“I am extremely happy that my brother has been selected for the civil services. I feel that all my hard work has paid off,” Mr. Wankhade said.
Mr. Kumar, who will soon join the country’s newest batch of bureaucrats, mostly depended on books rather than online notes, which are popular with English medium students, to clear the exam. He believes that it is the quality of what you study that matters more than the time. “Dedication and continuous hard-work is the only key to success,” he said.
He also teaches youngsters from his locality in the same room. With the batch of students he is currently teaching, he wants to set an example like “Super 30” in Patna, where children from underprivileged background prepare for admission to the IITs. He wants to call it “Special 26”.
His mother says: “I am very proud of him and always believed that he will do something big in life.” Mr. Kumar cleared the exam in his second attempt. He, however, wants to go for another attempt next year to improve his rank.