Purana Sunthari from Tamil Nadu has secured 286th rank in UPSC.

Purana Sunthari is over the moon. The visually impaired 25-year-old from Tamil Nadu has cracked the notoriously difficult UPSC examination and secured 286th All India Rank in a feat that has drawn praise from many. Former cricketer Mohammad Kaif was among those who shared her inspirational story on social media, writing: “25 year old visually impaired Purana Sunthari from TN beat the odds and cracked the UPSC exam.”

Mr Kaif went on to praise her achievement, revealing that with audio study material hard to come by, Ms Sunthari’s friends and family helped her study and convert books to audio format. “Never stop chasing your dreams,” he added while concluding his post.

A resident of Madurai, Ms Sunthari managed to secure the 286th rank in her fourth attempt. “My parents have supported me a lot. I would like to dedicate my success to them,” she told news agency ANI, adding that it took five years of hard work to crack UPSC. 

“This was my fourth attempt, I devoted five years to this exam,” she said. 

Speaking to The New Indian Express, Ms Sunthari said: “”I started dreaming of becoming an IAS officer when I was in Class 11. I want to serve in areas such as Education, Health and Women Empowerment.”

She attributed her success in the Civil Services 2019 exam to her parents, who read books for her “day and night”, and to friends who went out of their way to help her find study material and converted it to audio format. 

Civil Services exam is billed as one of the toughest exams held in the country. Over 10 lakh candidates apply for less than 1,000 vacancies.