S Asker Ali, who belongs to the Meitei-Pangal community of Manipur, recently became the first IAS officer from his region. The Meitei-Pangal is a marginalised community with a history that dates back to 400 years.
Asker's family is into agriculture and he is the second of five siblings. A graduate in Physics from the Delhi University, he enrolled at a coaching institute after he completed his graduation. He says, with limited opportunities, not many people from his community were present in the higher rung of the administration.
Despite his financial difficulties, he cleared the UPSC examination in 2015 by securing 167 rank, says The Better India.
In a conversation with Humans of Lbsnaa, he said:
“During school, I used to work with my parents in the fields. That ingrained in me the value of hard work.”
He further added,
Today, I am the first direct IAS – that’s a feat that is mine forever, something I will always be proud of. I also believe its special because it may be a small success, but it will be an example for others to follow in our community. How education can be a game-changer will be seen by the community, and that’s a step towards a better future.
He said, "I belong to the Meitei-Pangal community, which constitutes around eight percent of the state’s population. Its presence in the higher rungs of administration is almost nil. Progression through education has never been a priority. It doesn't matter where you come from and who you have been - as an IAS, you are an Indian and you must work for the country."