In a special interview with Akhlaque Sk, Taskeen said UPSC is a test of hard work and patience; one has to struggle every day to achieve it. I have cracked the exam on my fourth attempt.”
Taskeen Khan, a 25-year-old from Uttarakhand, has always wanted to be Miss India. But then, in view of the circumstances, she changed her mind, and on her parents’ advice, she turned towards the civil service and finally secured the 736th rank in the UPSC 2022 exam.
Before entering UPSC preparation, she was selected as Miss Dehradun and Miss Uttarakhand in 2016 and 2017, respectively. At that time, Taskeen’s next goal was to become Miss India. Taskeen had studied 1st to 12th science at Kendriya Vidyalaya Ordinance Factory, Dehradun. In 2013, she passed 10th grade with 92% and 12th-grade science in 2015 with 93%. Taskeen had qualified for NIT, but her father was a Group D employee in the Ordinance Factory, so due to his meagre salary, it was very difficult to manage the hostel fees. Later, she completed her BSc in 2018 from Dayanand Brijendra Swarup College, Dehradun, with 75% marks.
Taskeen reveals that she was so weak in math till the 8th grade that her teacher, Ansari Sir, counselled and said, “You should come to me to learn arithmetic every day. When the father came to know about the math weakness and tuition, he met the sir and asked about the fees in a subdued language. On understanding the inner state of the father, the sir promised to give tuition without fees. The attachment to math gradually increased. Despite excellence in studies, Taskeen said about extracurriculars and active participation in sports that I was a basketball champion in college, played up to the state level, and was also part of NSS. Head of scouting in college and represented India in two international events. Due to my command of the language, I was a national debater and won many prizes in various elocution competitions. I also used to act and joined the theatre during my studies. Later on, I started acting and modelling along with theatre at a professional level, which helped me to bear my educational needs and expenses.
Regarding the preparation for UPSC, Taskeen said that “My journey through UPSC is quite different from others.” After my father retired from service, he asked me to focus on my studies, and I decided to change career paths. In those days, many people used to get in touch through social media because of modelling. I learned about UPSC preparation from a follower during a chat on Instagram. After reading his profile, I came to know that he is UPSC-qualified and is now taking IAS training at LBSNA. Somehow, I tried, got UPSC-related information from him, and googled. I felt that if I worked hard, this could be a very good career option for me. When I discussed the same at home, both my father and Mother encouraged me a lot. I came to know about Hajj House in Mumbai and Jamia RCA in Delhi. I thoroughly reviewed the NCERT syllabus and previous years’ question papers, cracked the Mumbai entrance exam, and came to Mumbai. The facilities and study environment in Hajj House were quite conducive for me. Then I came back to Meerut due to the lockdown. Appeared in the Jamia entrance exam, came to Delhi in 2020, and joined Jamia coaching. Apart from UPSC Prelims, I wrote Haryana, UP, and Uttrakhand state service exams. My performance was good in all three. But in the prelims of 2021, I failed again, and hence I had to leave Jamia.
Thank God, I got admission to Atiya Foundation Civil Services Coaching in April 2022 due to my good performance in the UP-PCS interview. However, during the prelims and mains of 2022, my father suddenly had to be hospitalised for nearly four months because he suffered from neurological problems. Every two days, I had to travel from Delhi to Meerut. Household expenses, including his modest pension, his sister’s educational expenses, and Abbu’s illness, had created a financial crunch. I was finding everything very difficult, so Sahil sir and his mother, Atiya Aunty, helped me in every way, which I cannot forget for a lifetime. 50 children are selected based on the entrance exam at the Atiya Foundation. No fees are charged for children. I put in a lot of effort and was able to pass the prelims and mains from here, so I went to the SERVOKON Foundation in Rajinder Nagar, Delhi, to prepare for the interview. I tried my best here and cracked the UPSC exam. In response to a question, Taskeen said, My name means “satisfaction,” and I am satisfied with my result. My main goal is to join the service that will be allotted and help my family. We must also consider how we can serve our people and the country with what we have. Taskeen said in the message to the students, I have reached this place because of my parents. Difficulties and struggles are part of human life. While I was giving the prelims and mains, my father was in the ICU. UPSC was a herculean task that required hard work. I cleared this test on my fourth attempt.
Interviewer Akhlaque Sk can be reached at [email protected].