Megha Nidhi Dahal has cracked the UPSC exams and is now headed to IAS-dom. His success has been inspiring, and his journey thus far, despite his barely 28 years of age, has been uplifting as well. In a feature originally published in Sikkim NOW! edition dated 11-17 July 2015, TSHERING EDEN touches on some aspects of what makes Megha Nidhi special…
28-year-old Megha Nidhi Dahal has become the first Sikkimese to clear the UPSC exams in general category, a success which has taken nearly four decades to arrive since the first Sikkimese cracked the exam in the seventies. The software engineer from Lingmoo Kolthang in South Sikkim secured the 63rd position in the All India Ranking. He had also topped the recently held Sikkim Public Service Commission [SPSC] exams.
While other Sikkimese have cracked the UPSC exam in the past, Megha Nidhi is the first from the general category to have cleared the exams. A total of 1,236 candidates have cleared the UPSC exams this year out of which 590 are from general category. According to the UPSC, there are 90 vacancies in the Indian Administrative Services and 75 vacancies in the Indian Police Services which means that Megha Nidhi can choose either given his ranking.
From the social media to print media, congratulatory notes for Megha Nidhi have been pouring in.
On 06 July, Governor Shriniwas Patil sent a note to Megha Nidhi congratulating him. “I am extremely delighted to learn about your exemplary success in the recently declared Union Public Service Commission examination results where you have secured 63rd Rank at All India Level. This is a historic achievement in the sense that you have been the first ever candidate from the State of Sikkim to have passed the prestigious examination in the general category. It will certainly inspire and motivate the immensely talented youth of the State to aspire and emulate your success in the elite All India Services in the days to come,” said the Governor in his message.
Later, on 09 July, Megha Nidhi called on the Governor at Raj Bhawan along with his family.
Megha Nidhi along with his family also met the Chief Minister on 07 July at Mintokgang. Shortly after, the CM posted this message on his official Facebook page: “Was pleased to meet and interact with Megha Nidhi Dahal and his family at Mintokgang this evening. He is the 1st Sikkimese to clear UPSC exams in the general category, securing 63rd position in All India Ranking. I congratulated him and his family members for achieving this coveted feat. I advised him to be humble and give his best to become a good human and not to let success go to his head. Asked him to interact with young minds of the State and share his ideas on becoming competitive and successful. He can be a role model and an inspiration to many. I hope that his success story is emulated by the young people of Sikkim in future”.
From the leaders to the lay Sikkimese, everyone here is proud of Megha Nidhi and rightly so.
Megha Nidhi’s achievements have also bust the myth that only private schools can prepare the young for competitive success. He completed his matriculation from Tarpin Secondary School, Rhenock, and his plus-2 from Namchi Senior Secondary School. Even before he cracked SPSC and UPSC, he had broken into the exclusive clique of software engineers having done his post-graduation from BITS Pilani and having secured a posh job in Bangalore before the public service bug bit him.
HN Poudyal, a teacher from Tarpin Secondary School, who was Megha Nidhi’s class teacher in the 10th standard shares, “Megha Nidhi was a curious student and very good in studies. He used to participate in many competitions like essay writing etc. In many competitions he would even get ahead of his seniors sometimes. When he was in class IX and X he played an important role in creating an environment of competition in his class. As a result, that batch did very well in their boards with most of them scoring first division marks”.
One hopes that this trait of inspiring merit continues to nuance Megha Nidhi’s future interventions as well.
After completing his schooling in Sikkim, Megha Nidhi went on to pursue higher studies at Nagarjuna College of Engineering and Technology in Bengaluru. His teachers there are also all praise for him.
Roopashree Tantri, HoD Information Science, Nagarjuna College of Engineering and Technology says, “I am extremely happy for him. He is a very good student and he was not only good in academics but also in other extracurricular fields. I have known him since 2005 and am very proud of him. On behalf of the entire faculty I wish him all the best and am sure that he will definitely do well”.
Another teacher from the same college, Ashok Patil says of Megha, “He was a very good student and has the ability to clear any exam. In fact I would say he was more intelligent that some of the teachers. He has shown entire India what he is capable of. I am happy for him.”
Megha Nidhi’s father, GN Dahal who works at SBS as Branch Manager Rangpo, speaks self-effacingly about his son’s achievement. “Of course I am happy but it is not like my son is flying to the moon. It is not an impossible task you know. One just has to try and that is what Megha Nidhi did. If he did not do it then somebody else would have done it”.
But he is also clearly a very proud father and shares that Megha Nidhi gave up a “very well paying” job and career to pursue his dream to become a civil servant. “I don’t say this just because I am his father, but Megha Nidhi is a very good person and anyone who knows him will attest to this. He will make a good public servant”.
He informs that it was his dream to make his son an IAS officer but he did not want to force it on him. So when Megha expressed his interest in engineering he supported his son. Megha’s involvement with Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation and experiences while working in the Village Integrated Programme inspired him towards joining the civil services, informs Mr Dahal.
“He worked for four years in the Village Integrated Programme serving the underprivileged and that is when I think he realized that he wanted to take it further. He realised that one of the best ways to work for the underprivileged was by joining civil services,” he shares.
After failing to clear the prelims in his first attempt Megha Nidhi realized that it was not going to be an easy task and then started seriously preparing for the UPSC exams, informs his father.
“We were always hopeful. He gave up his job to chase his dream which was a big risk. He has proved to be a good son. We now hope that his success inspires other Sikkimese to try and take civil services seriously. Till now it was like door ki khichdi but now we hope that people don’t think like that anymore”.
On his son’s schooling in government institutions, Mr Dahal says, “Yes that is an important message that needs to be sent out. Most people here think that only kids of well-off people schooled in expensive private schools can aspire for something like the civil services but it is not so. Government institutions provide high class education and a lot depends on how the child takes it also”.