Manoj Kumar Rai’s extraordinary journey from battling severe poverty to achieving a rank of 870 in the UPSC exam, and ultimately becoming a civil servant, serves as an inspiring narrative of resilience, determination, and unwavering commitment to one’s goals.
Rai’s humble beginnings trace back to the small village of Supaul in Bihar, where he witnessed his family grapple with extreme hardships and financial constraints. In 1996, fueled by the responsibility to support his family, Rai made the courageous move to Delhi, a transition marked by challenges in adapting to urban life. Despite the initial jarring experiences, he persevered through various jobs, from operating an egg and vegetable cart to undertaking janitorial duties in offices.
The turning point in Rai’s life occurred when he encountered students from Jawaharlal Nehru University during his job as a delivery man. Their guidance redirected him toward the UPSC exam, planting the seed of a new aspiration. Determined to pursue education, Rai pursued his BA while simultaneously managing his humble business of selling eggs and vegetables.
In 2001, Rai embarked on his UPSC journey, choosing Geography as his optional subject and seeking guidance from mentor Rash Bihari Prasad Singh in Patna. Despite facing failures in initial attempts, Rai’s indomitable spirit led to a successful attempt in 2010, earning him an All India Rank of 870.
The challenges encountered along the way were substantial, including language barriers that posed a significant hindrance. In one attempt, Rai struggled to clear the English paper, leading to a setback. Undeterred, he modified his study strategy, prioritizing the main syllabus and reinforcing his foundation with NCERT textbooks.
His success in 2010 marked the commencement of Rai’s civil service career, with his first posting as an administrative officer at the Rajgir Ordnance factory in Bihar’s Nalanda. Inspired by his arduous journey, Rai decided to pay it forward by providing free coaching to economically disadvantaged students. Every weekend, he traveled 110 km from Nalanda to Patna, exemplifying his commitment to empowering others through education.
Currently serving as an Assistant Commissioner at IOFS, Kolkata, Manoj Kumar Rai stands as a living testament to the transformative power of determination, hard work, and an unwavering will to overcome adversities. His journey serves as an inspiration for aspiring civil servants, emphasizing the potential for triumph over challenges through resilience and perseverance.