Thirty-year-old Gopala Krishna Ronaki from rural Andhra Pradesh scored an all-India rank of three in the UPSC exam. Growing up under social boycott and with no economic security, it wasn't an easy journey for him.
Gopala is from a remote village near Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh. His parents Apparao and Rukminamma were daily-wage agriculture labourers. So, he grew up with no electricity and no chance at attending a private school. The government school he studied at was four km away and he had to walk to and fro. After completing his schooling, he went on to do a teacher training course. According to Hindustan Times, he said,
“I did a two-year teachers’ training course at Dubacharla in west Godavari district and was selected as a government teacher in 2006. Getting a job was my priority as I had to earn my own livelihood.”
As if the economic vulnerability was not enough, his family also had to face social boycott for close to three decades. His parents were not allowed to enter certain areas of the village as they had attended a wedding in a Dalit household 25 years ago. Gopala grew up wanting to become an IAS officer and all these troubles just added to his determination.
After being appointed a government school teacher, he completed his BSc through correspondence. Working as a teacher to support his family, he was simultaneously preparing for his UPSC exams. He failed the first few times as he could not afford to take time off from his daily routine to study. In fact, that is why he took 10 long years to prepare.
Eventually, in 2016, he achieved his dream of becoming an IAS officer by scoring an all-India rank of three. Talking about the reason behind his passion to The Hindu, he said,
“My poor background and social boycott of my family had made me think big. My determination has finally helped me achieve the goal. My main aim is to help the downtrodden sections of society.”