In the face of adversity, Akhila BS, who lost her right arm in a bus accident at the tender age of five, has exemplified the wisdom of French playwright Molière, who once said, “The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it.” Akhila’s indomitable spirit and determination were evident when she successfully cleared the prestigious UPSC civil services examination (CSE) in 2022, securing the 760th rank.
Hailing from Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, Akhila is the second daughter of K Buhari, a former Headmaster at the Cotton Hill Government Girls High School, and Sajina Beevi. Her life took a drastic turn on September 11, 2000, when she lost her right arm in a bus accident. Despite being advised to seek treatment in Germany, her right arm, specifically the tip of her shoulder, could not be fully restored.
Unfazed by her physical limitations, Akhila adapted to her new reality, learning to perform daily tasks and even write using her left arm. Her tenacity shone through as she achieved exceptional marks in her board exams.
Akhila’s educational journey led her to pursue an Integrated MA at IIT Madras, followed by a dedicated pursuit of civil services. After clearing the preliminary exams in her first two attempts, she ultimately succeeded in her third attempt, cracking the UPSC CSE.
In her own words, “I am happy and grateful. I felt reassured about my preparation. I started my preparation right after my graduation in 2019, I gave the examination in 2020, 2021, and 2022. All three times I cleared the prelims, but two times I did not make it into the list.” She attributed her aspiration to become an IAS officer to a teacher who introduced her to the idea of a collector’s profession and the allure of public service.
Akhila’s journey included coaching in Bengaluru for a year, followed by assistance from a Thiruvananthapuram-based institute. She highlighted the enduring challenges of preparing for the civil services examination, emphasizing the need for unwavering dedication and substantial hard work. Sitting for long hours during exams and writing continuously for extended periods were formidable tasks for her, given her physical condition.
Nevertheless, Akhila remained committed to her dream of becoming an IAS officer, vowing to persist until she achieved her goal. Her story is a testament to the power of resilience, determination, and unwavering dedication in the face of adversity.