As soon as you enter the room, you know. It is quite obvious. Half the room is taken up by piles of books and a desk, and the other half is divided between a bed and a mountain of The Hindu newspaper. The room belongs to a winner, somebody who does not think of losing or of plan B. It is 22-year-old Prince Dhawan, who aced this year's UPSC examinations, coming third among 2,43,003 candidates.
“I never had a second plan because if you do then that makes you comfortable with failure,” says Prince matter-of-factly. He has never let failure happen to him, ever. “I was a topper all my life, I topped the Central Board of Secondary Education, I got a gold medal in IIT for being an all-rounder.”
Prince from Chandigarh has made this city his home for several years now, IIT-Delhi being the place where he first thought he might actually make a good IAS officer. “When I was in third year, I first started thinking about it.”
The electrical engineer was finally able to act on his goals after graduation. “I got a house, I made a plan and I stuck to it religiously.”
Two of his best friends were his study companions. Combined studies more often than not turn into a party of sorts, but not for this serious trio. “We had, you know, certain rules,” he says.
Suddenly visible is a poster occupying centre stage on the blank wall in front of the bed. “Code of conduct in study hall,” it proclaims, before listing the holy commandments these young men have lived by for the past one year.
“Less talk, more study, no teasing remarks on each other's study habits and daily schedules, no use of laptop in study hall without headphones, no use of laptop during dinner,” are just a few of the commandments. The last one reads: “Maintain silence and peace of mind.”
“The only thing marring my complete happiness is that these friends have not made it through this year, we were together since school, then we went to IIT and then we started this also together.”
So what really clicked for Prince? “The personality test was the toughest. It is not something that can be learnt from a textbook, it is based on who you are and how you present yourself.”
So how did Prince manage?
“Well, reading newspapers like The Hindu everyday. I did not read it, I studied it thoroughly. I made notes and hated to miss even one page. The exams these days want people to come up with their own opinions, the news reports informed me and let me form my own opinions”
Rank 3: Prince Dhawan
This Chandigarh-resident also cleared the civil services exam in his first attempt and managed to secure the third spot.
When asked why he wanted to join the public services, he said: "I always wanted to contribute meaningfully to society."
This is not a one-time honour for Prince, who is the son of the Income Tax commissioner in Chandigarh. He was always an intelligent student, having earned two medals from IIT -for scoring the highest GPA and for being the best all-round student.
Prince's preparation for the civil services exam was different - he never burnt the midnight oil. "He studied in the day but never at night," his roommate pointed out.
Prince's uncle, Sarwant Singh, praised his cool attitude. "He never worried about the results; in fact he never worries about anything," he said.
His mother Indu revealed that Prince was confident about making it to the top. "After the exam, my son was sure that he will figure in the top three," she said proudly.
Asked about how he plans to contribute to the society, Prince replied: "By doing all the work they assign me; and doing it with efficiency and sincerity."
Prince, who stuck to a timetable for the exam, advised the other aspirants - "work hard but with intelligence and patience".
- By Narinder Kapur
The third position has been bagged by Prince Dhawan. He has done M Tech (Elect Engineering.) from IIT-Delhi. Prince cleared the examination in his first attempt itself.
At the house of Prince Dhawan in Chandigarh, his mother said he was always confident of making it to the top. "My son was confident after the exam that he will figure in the first three," Dhawan's mother Indu Dhawan, an agriculturist and wife of Income Tax Assistant Commissioner K K Dhawan, said. "Since his younger days he was attracted to the civil services. We told him that first deserve then desire.... He got his inspiration from his IRS father and his grand father, a retired judge," she said. Dhawan's younger brother too is doing his enginnering from BITS Pilani, Indu said. "When I called him after the result was announced, my son who is in Delhi was speechless," she said. Incidentally, all the three toppers were not with their families when the UPSC results were declared today.
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