IAS Exam: 3 Loyolites in Top 10

first off the block graphicI dreamed of this newspaper headline a few years ago in the exam hall in Trivandrum, as I sat for the civil services examination, with Vyasan R. (1996) and Anup Kuruvilla (1997). Tomorrow, that headline will be a reality.

Vyasan called me four hours ago to break the news of this year’s all-India civil services exam result.

4th rank – Prasanth N. (1995 SSLC)
6th rank – Vyasan R. (1996 ISC)
7th rank – Anish Rajan (1997 ISC)

Wow! About 150,000 candidates appear for an exam, and three Loyolites make it to the top 10. They join a handful of Loyolites who are in the elite civil services.

  • Paul Antony (1974) – IAS 1984 – Kerala
  • Jitendra Srivastava (1990) – IAS 2000 – Bihar
  • Sreejesh K.V. (1990) – IPS 2000 – Tripura
  • Babu A. (1993) – IAS 2003 – Andhra Pradesh
  • Anup Kuruvilla John (1997) – IPS 2004 – Kerala

Getting into the civil services takes hours of hard work, months of effort and years of patience. And perhaps, moments of luck. It’s a marathon exam that spans a year, from the day of the preliminary examination (May) through the Main written examination (October) and interview (April) to the declaration of result (next May). And worse, you might have to go through this exam cycle more than once to get a coveted service. Ask Prasanth. Ask Vyasan. Ask Anish.

The room where Vyasan and I prepared for the civil services exam

Great companionship, long-winded sessions at Indian Coffee House and the joy of learning — these keep the candidates going as they chase the dream. For their parents, though, it is a nightmare all the way. Anxiety levels and frustration rise by the year as bright sons offer their best days at the altar of the mother of all UPSC exams. The CAT may be tougher, and the GRE may offer a better future, but neither stretches middle-class Indian parents to breaking point. The Indian civil services exam is a test for parents, as much as it is of a young Indian’s ability to recollect, and write concisely and accurately.

As we celebrate the success of Prasanth, Vyasan and Anish, let us say three cheers to their families who supported them, year after year.


  • Hearty Congratulations to Anish, Vyasan and Prasanth. I wrote the exam once but found the pressures, the frustrations and the long hours sapping me completely. Anish on his part gave me a lot of advice which helped in my preps. Ashok, I have heard you came very close to cracking it. What you wrote about the uncertainities and the encouragement they must have got from their families is so true…every other academic exam on earth pales in comparison to the upsc…this achievement is a testimony to their willpower, perseverance and determination. Wish all of them a very fruitful career ahead.

  • Many congratulations to the trio!
    Hope your relentless efforts continue to make a difference as you move ahead.

    Good work at the posting Ashok:))

  • Once again Loyolites have proved their mettle.Congrats to Prashanth,Vyasan and Anish for their success at the Civil Service Examination.May God bless all Loyolites and let us all work for a better India.

  • Kudos to the trio…Their achievement should be a motivating factor for all those who are aspiring for the civil sevices.. I am sure that Loyola School , the teachers, students and alumni stand proud at this hour..


    although you loyolites are very senior to me,you make us proud in every respect.CONGRATULATIONS once again.

  • There is this swell rising up in the heart, which I can hardly begin to describe….!!
    Congratulations Prashanth, Anish and Vyasan!!!! Having stood up to the challenge, you have made so many others stand up in pride!!! A standing ovation and a big thank you!!!

  • Awesome news… I had a different dream though.. ARC himself making headlines.. but if not in ICS, I am sure he will elsewhere, soon.

  • Enjoyed reading this, Ashok. I was so happy to hear this when Deepak conveyed this news to me… This is truly remarkable! Hearty congratulations to all three. Hats off to your hard work, commitment and perseverance. I’m sure that you’ll play critical roles in shaping an exciting future for India.

    I’m very happy for my old friend from the basket ball court, Vyasan. Congrats 🙂

  • Heya heard the news from Vivek krishnan and DP 5 minutes apart. Truely that is anothe r big red flower in Loyolas cap. Cheers to you brothers.
    -The Quibbler

  • Hi Ashok,
    This is a truly remarkable achievement. As you said the IIT and CAT may be tougher but no exam stretches a students patience and stress levels as much as the ICS exam does. Congrats to all the three.


  • Congrats to the trio. You make us all proud. With great power comes great responsibility. The destiny of India is now truly in your capable hands. Go right ahead and make us even prouder. All the very best for the future.

    Wanted to add one more name to the list of Loyolities in the elite civil services – S Krishnan of the 1982 ICSE batch. He joined the IAS in 1989 and was drafted into the Tamil Nadu cadre. He is currently serving as the Private Secretary to the Finance Minister, Chidambaram.

  • Congratulations all three. I understand you have more hurdles to cross. You have my support and blessing and prayers. Never give up, keep working hard and be the beacons of modern India.
    I am a veteran, passing out in 1975 (11 the class ISC)after ‘living’ in the boarding for …oh my memory fades when I try to remember when I started. (Early signs of senile dementia!)
    I live in England and my eldest son is taking the A level exam. I can confidently say my children are not getting the all round education here in UK, that we all received in Loyola.

  • Hi Ashok,

    I’m a 12th std Loyolite. I have met you years back during that “Young Journalists’ Program”. Great blog you’ve got here… keep it going!

    By the way, I saw my blog listed here among loyolite’s blogs… how did you come across mine? All surprised 🙂

    Keep in touch,


  • Hi all, I’ll show all these comments to Vyasan when he visits me tomorrow. Thanks for taking time off to comment here.

    Jiby, I wrote the exam thrice, and thrice I cleared the Prelim (In those days, luck was spelt A-s-h-o-k). I wouldn’t term it “very close to cracking”, but rumours are always welcome 🙂

    Bimal, your continued faith in me gives me strength. Unlike my highly publicised civil service attempts, these days, I work in silent mode. Oops! That’s a cat peeking out of the bag.

    Anish, good work on S. Krishnan. I love it when readers pitch in and add to the research that goes into this blog.

    Sriram, I reached your blog via Orkut. Thank you for the kind words.

  • I am so proud. So so proud. I lived for a month in Gandhi Vihar, a small place off Kingsway Camp in New Delhi. Gandhi Vihar, and the adjacent areas host teeming thousands of IAS aspirants from across the country. Even though I never gave or prepared for the exam myself, I could really feel the frustrations that you speak of Ashok, in those dank rooms piled with books.

  • Congrats to all three of them especially Vyasan whom i had met at IEG couple of years back, Thanks Ashok for this great posting.

  • Congrats to all of you..Thanks for making me proud again about being a Loyolite …Let the Loyola flag fly high for ever and for ever.. and all the best for all your endeavors….

    Vishnu (ISC 1999)

  • Hi Ashok. Just happened to check ur blog and saw the article. My congrats to all three loyolites and welcome them to the civil service fraternity. May be we should start a community “loyolites in civil services” or something like that!!! By the way great work ashok, keep it up…keep in touch

  • Sreejesh brought me to this news right here. In spite of being 3 yrs his senior (in Loyola & CET), I’ve seen him at his slogging best in Delhi in ’97 (he was in Rao’s and I was doing my B-school there), so I know what it takes, more importantly ignoring the lure of the lucre and the paranoia of parents however silent it may be (everyone else is getting fat corporate salaries, you still don’t have a job!). Its a massive investment and its got to be fueled by the candidate’s conviction levels. May their tribe increase!

  • Earlier this week, I bumped into Anish and Prasanth in Delhi. They said that they had seen the post and the comments.

    Aju and Gopi, yes, the road winds uphill all the way.

    Subodh and Sreejesh, glad to hear that you find the blog interesting.

  • Truly a great acievement, and a moment of pride for Loyola….
    It is an honour to say that Vyasan, Anish and Prasanth are my seniors in school, and congrats to them….For a person who has contempleted on going for the Civil Services, and then dropped it off more than once, this is good news! But I dont know if I will ever try for it, let alone make it through.
    Anyways, Three Cheers for Vyasan,Anish and Prasanth
    V-I-C-T-O-R-Y has been the battle cry for Loyola always…..Vyasan must be having that echoing at the back fo his mind, right!

  • Dear Prasanth, Vyasan and Aneesh Rajan,

    Today, when ambitions are trimmed down by parental aspirations that end up with
    conventional Entrance Examinations and a Professional Degree, you have achieved it.
    You have done it…. something different from Engineers doing other work….plying for fast bucks, engaged in executive keyboard entry, cut and paste jobs……
    You have done it…. you have opportunities to serve your country…
    Go ahead and do it with guts !

    You have done Loyola proud, like Paul Antony and others !
    I earnestly hope that this will be a motivtion to the older old boys, whose wards
    are about to shape their career.

    M. Pradeep Kumar,
    1974 ISC Batch

  • Congrats to the chettanmar who’ve made us all proud… At least a reminder to all the young guns about to attack life… you have you options, don’t be bogged down by the rat race all around you….It’s a far bigger world out there than any Engg/Med entrance exams can take you to.
    The other day I met Lt Cdr Deepak Sebastian at the Western Naval Command Officers’ mess…(I call him ‘Chettan’, not the perfunctory military ‘Sir’, and this leads to many raised eyebrows in our circles)…We were wondering what happened to all the ‘josh’ that was there in Loyola for the Defence Services…There were so many of us in those days, Ninan Thomas(ISC 98), Rakhal Prasad(SSLC 96), Bebin Abraham and myself from ISC 99, Ahilash from ISC 2000….aaj kal ke bachche don’t even give the Services Selection Board!!!???

  • Its really really great to see this happen. And Renjith, I wouldnt say its died down. As late as 2003, my ISC batch, the Armed Forces were still very very high in the list of our career options. In fact both Arun John and Krishnachandran P made it to the NDA that year. Dont know what the scene is now though, but I remember being very proud of my two classsmates.

  • Hi guys
    I am a 23 year old, now a student of fourth year LLB, Govt. Law College Trivandrum. Though I studied in Loyola briefly from 1999-2002 I definitely miss the school and old friends. Though I studied in state syllabus, I had most friends in ICSE syllabus. I am a cousin of Vijay Sankar alias Potty. I take this opportunity to congratulate the three big achievers specially Prasanth chettan who was also a senior and guide to me in Law College.

  • Great and congratulations (though more than just a bit belated) to all the Loyalites who got into IAS .Paul Anthony IAS mentioned was my collegemate.VJ Kurien IAS ,not mentioned by you,presently back at helm of CIAL too was with me.We all did our BA(Econ.)at Loyola 1975-78.

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