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Meet woman who cleared UPSC exam with AIR 6 without coaching, then chose to not become IAS officer due to..

She cracked UPSC CSE-2022 with AIR 6, without any coaching or giving test series or mock interviews.

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Gahana Navya James (Pic: Social media/Instagram)
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UPSC CSE is undoubtedly one of the toughest exams in India. It serves as the gateway to esteemed jobs in the Indian Police Service (IPS), Indian Foreign Service (IFS), and Indian Administrative Service (IAS). It is conducted in three stages – Prelims, Mains, and the Interview round.

The UPSC 2022 results revealed declared the results of the Civil Service Examination 2022 on May 23, 2023. Ishita Kishore, Garima Lohia, Uma Harathi N and Smirti Mishra have bagged the top positions in UPSC 2022. Mayur Hazarika secured the 5th position, he topped amongst men in the UPSC exam 2022. The next position or 6th position was bagged by Malayali girl Gahana Navya James. 

Gahana Navya James hails from Pala in the Kottayam district. She pursued her MA in Political Science and secured 1st rank and is a graduate of St Thomas College in Pala. She completed her BA in History at Alphonsa College in Pala. 

Gahana has always performed exceptionally well in the classroom; she obtained the position without coaching. To learn and to gather information, she relied on newspapers and internet. Since she was young, she used to read newspapers, which has helped her establish her opinions on a variety of topics and developments and has also benefited her in UPSC exams. 

She also pursued her PhD in International Relations after securing the Junior Research Fellowship in UGC NET exam. She studied in Chavara Public School till class 10th and completed class 11th and 12th studies at St. Mary’s School. 

Her father is a retired professor. She is also the niece of IFS officer Sibi George, India’s Ambassador to Japan. She said that her uncle was a huge inspiration for her and her younger brother motivated her, who is a degree student at St. Thomas College. 

Gahana, an international relations research scholar with a UGC junior research fellowship, said she would opt for IFS. “My uncle Sibi George, 1993-batch IFS officer and present Ambassador of India to Japan, has been a motivating factor for civil services. Besides, his presence in foreign service kindled an interest in keeping a tab on international affairs,’’ Gahana shared in an interview with Indian Express. 

“I had a lot of opportunities for coaching in Pala, but I wanted to chart out my own course. I had self-confidence and understood my strengths and weaknesses well. I had shaped an ethical framework for me,’’ she added.

Gahana’s childhood dream was to become a public servant or a civil servant. 

Talking about her preparations, she said “My parents were willing to send me anywhere for coaching, but I opted for self-study. My younger brother conducted mock interviews for me. We used to discuss current affairs after reading newspapers. Being a regular newspaper reader helped me to keep abreast of all developments in politics and economics. I discussed current affairs with my brother’’.

She also added, “I am a full-time research scholar and did not go for any dedicated preparation for the civil services. It is not a forced dream… In 2021, I had written the exam, but did not clear the preliminary. It was only an attempt to understand the nature of the exam.’’

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