Shahtaj Khan/ Pune
"I have no idea of retirement; can't even think of retiring. Nowadays, I am preparing more than 6,000 students for online competitive examinations. I can't go on vacation."
This is what Muhammad Yaqoob Khan, an educational counselor, says about his routine. Hailing from Jammu and Kashmir, Khan has been running coaching for aspirants wanting to become civil servants in India for 22 years.
He is the Director of the Srinagar-based Center for Career Guidance and Counseling. He delivers lectures at colleges and schools on how to work for getting jobs and clearing the competitive examinations for the same.
Prof M Y Khan has so far authored six books in English language on competitive examinations, reasoning, English language skills, M.B.A entrance, Social Science and Pedagogy. He has also written books in Urdu on Islam and Quran and one on science for children
Prof M Y Khan during a counselling session in a Srinagar college
Among the notable achievers his coaching center in Srinagar has produced is the 2009 UPSC Civil Services topper Shah Faesal, who is posted as Under Secretary, Ministry of Culture in the government of India.
Prof Yaqoob Khan had a regular job as a Professor of Management till he chose to start a fresh inning of his career.
In the college, while interacting with his student he realized that the youth were facing a lot of difficulties in getting employment.
He felt that besides getting an education and obtaining degrees, the youth desperately needed counseling and guidance for education and career. This thought made him leave his job and set out on a new journey. “I had no idea of the future back then,” he told Awaz-the Voice over the phone from Srinagar.
Today at 66, he is a busy man and had no time to pause or take a break.
Prof M Y Khan with his wife at Taj Mahal
"Every person has the same amount of wealth called time. Time has equal value for everyone. However, how one uses time will determine the outcome. If one keeps himself occupied in creative works, the mind will remain stable and not wander around and make one feel good.
“We all know the adage that an idle man’s brain is the devil’s workshop. An idle mind leads to mental diseases, especially depression.”
Yakub Khan says that keeping ourselves busy every moment and doing some productive work can save us from many problems.
Retired people often say that they have worked long and it’s time for them to rest. “This is an excuse for being lazy or for lack of ideas,” he says.
“By sitting idle, we not only harm ourselves but also affect the environment of our house,” he says.
He says some time ago, retired people were entrusted with the responsibility of looking after younger children – often grandchildren – but since these days such responsibilities no longer exist, people must look for other avenues to remain relevant and productive.
It is wise to keep yourself busy and active and do some productive work. He further says that retirement is not the end of any road but the beginning of an open and long highway.
"This life is very beautiful, attractive, and very precious. Don't let it go in vain. A person has many good and bad experiences during a career. With the advantage of these experiences and learning, one can give a new direction to the new generation and society.”
He says when he realized that his experiences were needed to help a new generation, he didn’t feel like waiting for a formal retirement as a professor.
“I told myself that if I stop teaching the youth, it will not make much difference because there are many teachers around who can do this job. But the youth need guidance in getting employment and good jobs, so I took a quick decision."
Prof M Y Khan being felicitated at S P College, Srinagar
Yaqoob Khan however thinks that one should take a bold step only after careful consideration.
“When we leave one phase and enter another phase, we start thinking that we have lost our utility.” He says and adds that “in whichever field you have 30-40 years of experience, the importance of that department does not end as soon as one retires. Use and share your experiences with others. Your experiences can greatly benefit the coming generationIt is true that when we do not understand ourselves how will we be able to explain to others?
"When we counsel the youth, there is a chapter related to retirement in it. So that they can understand life well and keep moving forward by taking the right decisions. That's why the youth's mind must be formed from the beginning.
“We can provide our services at every stage of our life to suit the importance and need of that time or the people for whom it is meant. “Getting only a job should not be the ultimate goal of a young person. I try to make him useful to the home, family, society, and the nation throughout his life,” M Y Khan says about his coaching.
Prof Khan during a counselling session in a college in far off Valley of Gurez, Kashmir
It often happens that one ends up spending the whole phase of one's career as if it's only meant for earning an income. Yaqoob Khan says that "If you haven't been able to do what you wanted to do in life, then the time after retirement is the most appropriate. Who has stopped you? Don't stop, just keep going."
When Awaz-the voice asked Muhammad Yaqoob Khan how does he divide the 24 hours of his day between work and rest? He smiled and said, "I can hardly take out only eight hours for rest.
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“I don't even need more rest than this. I will live an active lifeas long as my hands, feet, and brain are working. When the body and mind stop supporting, then there will be only rest. But till then just have to keep going."