This story sets a perfect example of how nothing can stop you to achieve your dreams. It serves as an inspiration for how dedication and hard work pay off. 

Meet Mohammad Ali Shihab, who is a 2011 batch IAS officer. He spent his childhood in an orphanage due to financial difficulties.

He was born on 15 March 1980 in a remote village of Edavannappara near Kondotty in Kerala’s Malappuram district. However, due to the poor economic conditions of his family, he had to sell betel (paan) and bamboo baskets with his father Koroth Ali.

In 1991, the struggles did not end for him, as 11-year-old Shihab lost his father due to a long illness. Fathima, his mother, was neither educated nor was she able to gain any employment to take care of her 5 children.

Due to poverty, his mother was left with no option but to send her children to the orphanage in Kozhikode, hoping that they would get access to food and shelter. 

Soon after shifting to the orphanage Shihab dedicated himself to studies and gathered a lot of attention because of his intelligence. 

After clearing his UPSC, he also managed State-level Public Service Commission exams. He also gave exams for the posts of Forest Department, Jail Warden, and Railway Ticket Examiner, etc. 

25-year-old Shihab has also passed many state-level examinations. However, before taking the UPSC exam, he achieved success in other fields. He cleared the SSLC examination with good marks and did a teacher training course. He later got the job of a teacher at a government school.

In a report by Indiatimes, Shihab talks about his struggles, “When I was in the orphanage, I used to study till late at night. I used to study in the dim light of a torch under the bed sheet so that the sleep of other companions is not disturbed”.

After attempting UPSC examinations, he succeeded in the third attempt and cleared the UPSC exam in 2011. He got the All India 226th rank. He was later posted in Kohima, Nagaland.

I was an orphan, and the district which I am tending to is like an orphanage too. My life was cut off at 11 after my father’s death and my district is cut off from the rest of the world. But despite the limited opportunities and resources, the locals here have taught me how everything is an opportunity to celebrate. No wonder, Nagaland is called the land of festivals. But we are determined to move forward and do everything we can for all-round development.

The IAS officer has also come out with his autobiography in Malayalam titled Viralattam.

His story is an inspiration for all of us to never fail to chase our dreams.