Sreedhanya Suresh – The first tribal woman from Kerala to crack UPSC

Sreedhanya Suresh is a young lady from Wyanad, Kerala who cracked UPSC civil services exam in 2019. She came to limelight very soon because she is the first tribal woman from Kerala to clear UPSC. She received 410th rank from 759 candidates in Civil Service Exams in 2019 from her third attempt at the age of 25. She took charge as Assistant Collector of Kozhikode in May 2020.

Sreedhanya Suresh was born to Suresh and Kamala, poor tribal couple of Wyanad. They are daily workers and have 4 children. They live in an unfurnished home and depend on MNREGA scheme for their living. They also sell bows and arrows in a local market. Her parents have faced a lot of humiliations throughout their life because of their low standard of living as well as poor education. Knowing the importance of education, they have done their level best to provide best education for kids.

After the first unsuccessful attempt at Civil service exams without the knowledge of her parents, when she decided to try it again she received full support from parents. The family also got financial support from others to educate Sreedhanya as well as family needs. For her parents, her win at UPSC is somewhat like revenge to those who have always humiliated them in the society where they live, only because they are tribal people.

Sreedhanya Suresh – Some interesting and less-known facts

1. She scored only 69 per cent marks for her plus-two exams. It’s only because of the poor financial condition in which she lived and also lack of facilities and guidance in the tribal village.

2. Her UPSC exam results were announced soon after Rahul Gandhi stood as UDF candidate for 2019 elections. Later the political leader congratulated her.

3. Her father is interested in Ayurveda and local herbs, and wanted her to learn botany. But when she expressed her interest to study administration, he supported her. Yet she completed her academic studies in Zoology from Calicut University.

4. Her father stood as the main pillar of support throughout her studies. He is a strict and well-disciplined too. He dislikes misplacing of study books.

5. The parents saved most of their money for her educational purposes, and reduced other expenses.

6. She completed her master’s degree in 2014.

7. Her meeting with Wyanad district collector Sriram Sambhasiva Rao proved to be the turning point of her life and she decided to try UPSC.

8. She started coaching for civil services in 2016, and her father stopped all works and assignments to completely support her in studies. He also avoid public functions and phone calls.

9. She has worked as project officer of DTPC for 10 months.

10. She borrowed 40,000 rupees from her friends to reach Delhi. Many well-wishers have also the family this time.

11. Belonging to the most backward district of Kerala, she wants to work for the uplift of backward classes.

Author’s note: In my opinion, it’s not right to call someone Dalit/tribal or categorize his/her achievements based on it. Personally I feel no discrimination between people belonging to different castes or groups, and usually never mention so in my posts. Here I mentioned it so, only because she is identified as the first tribal woman from Kerala to crack UPSC. Excuses. 


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A freelance writer and blogger by profession since October 2011, interested in writing over a wide range of topics. Hope you enjoy my writings. I belong to one of the beautiful places of the world, Kerala, nicknamed as 'God's own country'.

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2 Responses

  1. Nithya says:

    Dear Sandy, Thank you for taking up such an inspiring and interesting achiever like Sreedhanya Suresh to write about and I should say it’s a job well done. It was a very graceful idea of highlighting much more about Sreedhanya, her past, her family, her desire to achieve, etc. I should say it’s a very inspiring story.

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