In the bustling city of Nagpur, Maharashtra, young students often dream of success, painting their aspirations against the vast canvas of India’s academic challenges. One such student, Syed Riaz Ahmed, found himself at a crossroads early on in his academic journey, facing ridicule and doubt. The journey from then to now, however, is nothing short of inspiring.

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Initial Hurdles and Stinging Criticism

It’s hard to believe that a regular student like Syed couldn’t even pass his 12th class examinations initially. Such an event can be a crushing blow to many, but what made it worse was the biting comment from a school teacher. The educator, while reprimanding Syed’s father, confidently stated that Syed was a “zero” and wouldn’t amount to anything. Little did the teacher know that this supposed “zero” would defy the odds multiple times in the future.

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The Steep Climb to UPSC

Syed Riaz Ahmed’s path to the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) exams wasn’t an easy one. He commenced his UPSC preparation in 2013, facing the formidable exams for the first time in 2014. The result? Failure. However, rather than succumbing to despair, Syed took his determination to the nation’s capital, Delhi, seeking quality coaching and a fresh perspective to reattempt the exams.

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The second attempt brought no respite as Syed didn’t clear even the preliminary rounds. Refusing to give up, the third attempt saw him soar past the preliminaries and mains, only to stumble at the interview. The fourth attempt was another setback, with Syed failing to pass the mains.

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The Turnaround

Facing four consecutive failures, the idea of abandoning the UPSC dream seemed enticing. Syed contemplated switching paths, pursuing a different career. It was his father’s unwavering faith and encouragement that altered this decision. Urged to give the UPSC one last shot, Syed poured his heart and soul into his preparation.

The result of this resolute determination and unyielding hard work was evident when Syed achieved the 261st rank in the UPSC Civil Services exam of 2017. The same boy, who was once dismissed as a “zero”, had proven his mettle in one of the country’s toughest examinations.

IAS Syed Riaz Ahmed
IAS Syed Riaz Ahmed

Syed Riaz Ahmed’s journey from a criticized student to a respected IAS officer is a testament to the power of perseverance, familial support, and self-belief. It reminds us that setbacks, however bitter, are merely stepping stones to a brighter, triumphant future.