EXCLUSIVE: Meet Taskeen Khan, Kangana mimic who cracked UPSC

Taskeen Khan missed being a model by 2mm but went on to crack one of the toughest exams

| Updated: 26 May, 2023 12:19 am IST

NEW DELHI: From her childhood, she had dreamed of becoming a model and an actor, but destiny had some other plan.

Taskeen Khan, just 25 years old, cracked one of the toughest examinations. Ranked 736th in the UPSC, Khan shares her journey of grit and determination with The New Indian.

Alok Singh: How did you see your result? What was your first reaction?
Taskeen Khan: I had no idea that I would be able to crack the exam. I was so nervous that I did not want to see my result. I had stopped eating. It is a friend of mine who told me about my result.

Alok Singh: UPSC is considered one of the toughest exams. Not many were able to crack it on the first try. How many attempts did you make before clearing it?
Taskeen Khan: This was my fourth attempt. Because of the Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT), I was not able to qualify for my prelims. I believe the CSAT is a bit tough for me. Thankfully, I was able to crack it this time.

Alok Singh: How many hours have you studied?
Taskeen Khan: I never counted, but I studied a lot. I was never an extraordinary student. I used to make notes and paste them on walls so that I could learn properly. I always studied seriously and religiously.

Alok Singh: Modelling to civil service is quite a journey.
Taskeen Khan: My journey was a bit different from other civil service aspirants as I come from a modelling background. I also tried my hand at acting and used to do plays and theatre.
I was preparing for the Miss India competition, but due to my height, I got rejected. I was just 2 mm shorter than the required height. I was very disheartened then. My father asked me to continue with my studies, as I am good at them.
In 2019, I managed to crack my Haj Committee examination. To study, I went to Mumbai and then I started doing my preparation for UPSC.

Alok Singh: Tell us about your educational journey.
Taskeen Khan: I am a native of Meerut, Uttar Pradesh. Since my father was working in an ordinance factory in Dehradun, we shifted over there. I studied at Kendriya Vidyalaya in Dehradun. We came back to Meerut in 2018 after the retirement of my father.
I could not pursue any professional courses due to financial constraints. I even qualified for NIT after my class 12th, but we could not afford the fee.

Alok Singh: We came to know you were inspired to give UPSC a shot by one of your Instagram followers.
Taskeen Khan: I graduated from a government college. For my master’s, I never thought of anything. One of my followers on Instagram was doing his training for IAS at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration in Mussoorie. It was from him that I got to know more about the civil service exam.
After I cleared the Haj Committee examination, I got a lot of inspiration from the Haj Committee teachers. After that, I came to Delhi’s Jamia Milia Islamia for further studies.

Alok Singh: Any disappointment for not being able to secure IAS?
Taskeen Khan: The meaning of my name is satisfaction. I am satisfied with my result. My family has faced financial constraints. My main goal is to first achieve something and help my family. I am thankful that I cleared the exam.
We all should be very thankful for whatever we have. We should also think about how we can serve our nation with whatever we have.

Alok Singh: Any message for UPSC aspirants?
Taskeen Khan: Life is very harsh. We all struggle a lot. When I was giving prelims and mains, my father was in the ICU. But thankfully, I was able to go through it. It’s only because of my parents and a few of my friends who supported me.

Alok Singh: We came to know that you do very good mimicry.
Taskeen Khan: I do mimicry as I did theatre. Sometimes, with the help of my acting, I would make my family happy.

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