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“Chaiwala” to IAS, journey of Himanshu Gupta


An IAS officer who spent his childhood in extreme poverty, traveled 70 km daily to go to school. Not only this, he even worked at the tea shop to help his father. But he never gave up. Yes, we are talking about IS Himanshu Gupta.

Himanshu Gupta from Uttarakhand passed the UPSC exam with his hard work and became an IAS officer. The parents of Himanshu Gupta, never completed their schooling. His father is a daily wage laborer and also runs a tea stall to meet his family needs. He always made sure that he would send sons and daughters to school.

Narrating his story on the ‘Humans of Bombay’ Facebook page, Himanshu Gupta says- ‘I used to work with my father before and after going to school. The school was 35 km away, the commute was 70 km. I used to go in a van with my classmates. Whenever my classmates passed by our tea stall, I would hide. But once someone saw me and started making fun of me. I came to be called ‘chaiwala’. But instead of paying attention to that, he focused on studies and whenever he got time, he helped Papa.

Himanshu Gupta further said- ‘But my dreams were big. I used to dream of living in a city and making a better life for myself and my family. Papa often used to say, ‘If you want to make dreams come true, then study!’ So that’s what I did. I knew that if I studied hard, I would get admission in a reputed university. But I didn’t know English, so I used to buy English movie DVDs and watch them to learn. I would also use my father’s old phone with 2G connection and search for colleges in which I could apply. Thankfully I scored well on my board and got admission in Hindu College. My parents had no idea about the concept of college, yet they said, ‘We believe in your abilities!’

Himanshu Gupta further says- ‘But I was scared; I was in an unfamiliar environment amidst students who spoke confidently and moved on. But I had one thing that set me apart, that was the hunger to learn! I even paid my college fees myself, I didn’t want to be a burden on my parents – I gave private tuitions and wrote blogs. After 3 years, I became the first person in my family to graduate. After that I topped my university. Because of that, I got a scholarship to pursue a PhD abroad. But I turned it down because I could not leave my family. It was the toughest decision, but I stayed and decided to join the civil service.

According to Himanshu, Gupta failed in his first UPSC attempt without any coaching, but his resolve to become an IAS officer got stronger. Then I worked twice as hard and made 3 more attempts. I also passed the exam but didn’t get the rank. But after the fourth attempt I finally became an IAS officer. Then mother said to me- ‘Son, today you have named us.’ Himanshu Gupta says that giving one’s salary to the parents was a memorable moment.

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